For a lot of businesses, getting, maintaining, and especially growing engagement on social media is an ongoing struggle. Throughout this struggle, however, many seem to have forgotten about how big of a part their blogs can play.
Is your blog still a significant part of your marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.
TrackMaven released some interesting findings in its Content Marketing Paradox Revisited report, which analyzed 12 months worth of marketing activity from nearly 23,000 brands and 50 million pieces of content across all major industries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and blogs.
This amounted to a combined total of 75.7 billion interactions. In other words, it covers a pretty broad scope.
Overall, it found that marketers are producing more content with less return. While output of content rends upward, engagement trends downward.
"From the highest to lowest points, the output of content per brand increased 35 percent per channel across 2015, but content engagement decreased by 17 percent," writes TrackMaven's Kara Burney. "And most interestingly, when output per brand peaked in October 2015, engagement levels look the sharpest downturn."
"In short: This is content overload, quantified," she adds. "As more content floods social networks, the slice of engagement for the average brand shrinks. With a limit to how much content can be consumed, liked, or shared, brands must create their own competitive advantages with distinguishing content."
The study found that content output per brand increased most on Twitter and Facebook (60% and 31% year-over-year, respectively). Engagement fell across most major social networks, and fell most drastically on Pinterest. Twitter was the exception with a slight increase in engagement over the past year.
For those paying, the average engagement ratio for brand on Facebook is three times higher than on Twitter, the report says.
Overall, Instagram has the highest average engagement ratio for brands, and it's a great deal higher than all of the other networks. Still, engagement levels there are quickly sinking:
Here's a look at how much content brands are creating for each network:
Perhaps the most important takeaway from the study is that brands are perhaps too caught up in social channels with diminishing returns while neglecting an important and effective platform - the trusty old blog.
"In contrast to the results on social, the average number of blogs per brand per month actually decreased by 16 percent across the year to a low of 58. Engagement with brand blogs, however, held steady, even climbing slightly to a peak of 190.7 average social shares per post in July 2015," the report says. "For marketers, this finding serves as a reminder not to neglect the basics in pursuit of that shiny social network. New digital platforms will come and go, but for now, the blog remains a reliable content hub from which to build your brand."
You can find the full report here. It gets into how a couple of brands are utilizing their blogs for maximum effectiveness, and taking a channel-specific approach to their social strategies.
myFitnessPal, for example, posts recipes on Pinterest, fitness challenges on its blog, and motivational updates on Facebook.
Dylan Kissane at Doz recently took a stab at the 5 most important trends in blogging in 2016, and he writes that for blogging, it's the era of engagement. He says:
The most important metric for bloggers in the year ahead will not be their traffic or their page views. It will be their engagement rates. Can the blogger attract readers – no matter the size of the audience – and keep them on the site? Can the blogger create a community, giving readers something to come back for other than just fresh writing and attractive images? Can a blogger press publish and be rewarded with Twitter shares, Facebook posts lauding the content, and the launch of dozens of discussions on social media? And can the blogger remain at the center of all of this?
Whether a small but dedicated niche audience or a community of hundreds of thousands of committed devotees, what will matter for bloggers in 2016 is the engagement rate of that audience – the higher, the better.
Creating blog content alone will not get engagement. You need the traffic to come from somewhere, and the social platforms are certainly a big part of that. As are search and email newsletters.
But the study shows that blog content seems to have taken a backseat to social platforms, when that really shouldn't be the case.
Is your blogging strategy as much of a priority as it once was? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Images via TrackMaven