I’ve received a great deal of inquiries over the past few weeks here at Linwright Design regarding blogging – the purpose, the process, the strategies, and it’s impact on overall marketing campaigns. It goes without saying how important having a quality content marketer on your team is, but let’s dive into the why and how of quality content.
(PS – As a Phoenix content marketer, I despise the word ‘blog.’ It’s my perception that the simple word ‘blog’ implies just that, simplicity, when, in fact, a blog is anything but simple.)
Word Count Statistics
Why do Phoenix business owners get so tied up in word count? Well, it’s, in reality, for good reason, if you’re looking at it through the right marketing lens. Studies have shown that longer pieces of content, or blogs, receive more attention, more engagement, more Shares, and thus lead to a greater REACH. Now, we all want a greater REACH with our content, which is why we market it with strategic content marketing campaigns. So, when statistics show that longer blogs tend to receive more engagement, Phoenix business owners take notice.
Word count can also impact SEO standings on Google. The obvious aspect maintains that the more words you can apply, the more keywords you can integrate and saturate your content with. However, according to a Moz.com study, a greater word count directly correlates with greater links, or back links, which ultimately can increase your keyword rankings.
The two graphs below are from Moz.com, and give a wonderful visual of the 500 blog posts they researched. Notice that the first 90 or so blogs were above 1,000 words. The first 20 posts or so were over 2,000 words.
Now, jump to this chart below and notice that the first few blogs received the greatest number of back links, and not by a small margin.
From the three charts above, you can easily see how a greater word count can lead to a greater amount of Social Shares, meaning a far greater REACH for your brand, as well as a greater amount of back links to your website, resulting in better keyword rankings.
The Sweet Spot
The trick to finding the word count sweet spot is to do your research. The general consensus seems to be that 400 to 600-word blogs are ideal for conveying your message, optimizing with keywords and images, and remaining relevant to your target audience.
However, true Phoenix content marketers will also state that articles over 1,500 words will generate the most engagement, as shown in the graphics above.
And, in addition, if you already have a strong social presence, like, for example, Mari Smith, you could essentially write a 150-word blog and get thousands of Social Shares.
The key is knowing what word count is not only effective, but comfortable for you and your Phoenix content marketing staff. Should you feel pressure to satisfy a word count beyond your limits, you will fall into a quality control trap.
You need a writer on your team, plain and simple. As a Phoenix business owner interested in content marketing and blogging, you absolutely need a talented, experienced writer on your team with either a background in English, Journalism, Communication or Business. In today’s marketing environment, there is unquestionably no substitute for a capable writer.
Phoenix SEO Insider Tip: Many, many, many SEO firms on the local and national level hire offshore companies and oversea firms to conduct ALL of their services for SEO. So, essentially you are paying a local Phoenix SEO firm a large fee, which they cut into by a third, or less then a third, and send overseas to India or Bangladesh where the actual work is done. If the overseas firm cannot write English blogs, the SEO firm will hire a high school graduate or college student with no previous SEO experience to write half-hearted blogs at $0.03 per word.
As mentioned in the previous post “What Price is a Good Price for Blogging?,” we touched on the practice of selling an enormous amount of blogs at reasonable prices. However, upon farther investigation we discovered how poorly many of these articles were written. So, how do you maintain quality control in content marketing? Follow these steps:
- Research the Agency or Writer – Do not, I repeat, do not just hire someone you happened to find online, or someone who contacts you on LinkedIn or via email. Your business, your brand, is your baby. It’s your livelihood, and leaving your online voice to a writer or Phoenix content marketing agency without researching them first is like finding a babysitter on the street. It’s foolish, and can be very costly in terms of brand reputation.
- Proficiency – After you’ve researched your Phoenix agency of choice, or blogger, for quality content, look into their experience and resume or portfolio. Who are they connected with? What awards do they have? Where have they been published? How many Shares, Likes or Tweets do their posts receive? What kind of traffic and engagement do their posts receive? It’s your responsibility to know everything about the agency, or Phoenix blogger, that you are going to hire.
- Copy Editing – When you initially hire a content marketing firm or agency here in Phoenix or Gilbert, you’ll want to approve each and every post before they go live. You’ll need to either have someone on your staff, or preferably take some time yourself, to copy edit the blogs before they get published. Keep in mind that this is not something you’ll need to do throughout the entire contract with the Phoenix content marketing firm, but it’s a good idea for the first month to build trust.
- Word Count Stuffing – In Black Hat SEO, there is a strategy known as keyword stuffing, where unethical SEO’s will take the targeted keywords and place them absolutely everywhere, essentially stuffing them throughout the site to maintain saturation and fool Google – which is impossible. Do not get caught stuffing words into a blog simply to meet a self-imposed word count. Word stuffing will kill a blog and will effectively do the opposite of what you want. You will lose readers, lose traffic, and your brand will suffer. Some of the best word stuffing I have ever seen were from college students and overseas bloggers, which is why at Linwright Design we never hire either.
Do not fall into the trap of pursuing a word count without intention. The difference between an SEO writing a blog and a writer creating a piece of content for SEO is the heart and soul put into that blog. An SEO will stuff the blog with words to satisfy a word count. A writer will pull together a masterpiece that happens to also integrate keywords and satisfy a word count.
Linwright Design is made up of writers, who happen to also be excellent marketers. Give us a call today to see what a difference a quality blog can mean for your marketing efforts.
“by Kandice Linwright” at Google