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Fresh Content Matters, Your Archive Even More


Freek Janssen
Published on April 13, 2015
By Freek Janssen

'I don't like to write, but i like having written' quote on a typewriter.
 “How often should we blog?” I cannot think of one question that I have tried to avoid more. For me it’s like asking ‘how many emails should I write each day?’ Well, that kind of depends on how often you have something interesting to share with the world…

The frequency question lost its relevance when people stopped bookmarking. Years ago people would bookmark websites and blogs, visit them regularly and check for new content. If you hadn’t posted anything new in a week you’d disappoint your readers (who might punish you by removing that bookmark). Now blog traffic doesn’t come from bookmarks, but mainly from Google and social media.

So why worry if you haven’t posted for a week or two? Just pick up that blog pencil again and you’ll be fine. Only a handful of readers will notice a time lag between your latest post and the one before that. What about SEO? Google does reward fresh, relevant content, right? Sure. But quality is more important than quantity - you can write as much as you like, but if no one reads or shares your content, it will not affect your SEO.

Logo HubSpot
But, since reading recent HubSpot research (analyzing data from more than 13,500 customers) on this topic I've changed my mind on the ‘how often’ question. Guess what, it does matter how often you publish new content. Here are HubSpot’s most interesting findings and what this means for PRs.

1. More blog posts means more traffic


'Companies that published more than 16 blog posts per month got almost 3.5 more traffic than companies that published between 0 - 4 monthly posts.’ At first sight, the results seem to imply an exponential relationship: as if each additional blog post brings more new traffic than the one before. Unfortunately, here is the reality check: the X axis is not very straightforward, because categories differ in size. If HubSpot would have grouped the axis as follows: 0-5, 6-10, 11-15. 16-20, etc, than the line would have been much flatter. Still, there is no doubt a positive relationship between the number of blog posts and inbound traffic.

2. More blog posts leads to more leads

Does blogging lead to greater conversion? According to HubSpot’s research it does:


When the results are split by company size it gets really interesting:


The smaller the firm size, the bigger the impact of blogging on lead generation. That makes sense: the smaller you are, the bigger the impact of content marketing on SEO and brand awareness.

But what about the purple category? For companies with over 200 employees, blogging negatively affects the number of inbound leads at first – companies that publish at most 1 post per month are better off than those that have 2-5 new posts per month. At 6-10 posts per month the bar gets bigger (1.75 more leads than 0-1 posts), but at 11+ there is a small decline.

Now that is interesting. I can imagine that there is an optimal number of blog posts per month, after which it doesn’t really make sense to publish more. But how could blogging more frequently actually hurt the number of inbound leads, as the figure seems to suggest?

Also, remember that in previous graphs, HubSpot added a category 16+, which was omitted from this one (all companies with 11+ blogs make up for one category). I would like to find out (1) why the optimal number of blog posts for large companies is 6-10 and (2) how blogging more could potentially hurt the number of inbound leads.

Thirdly, I would like to challenge HubSpot to reveal the rates for the category of companies blogging 16+ times per month.

3. Old content still rocks

I Don’t Like to Write, But Like Having Written
We still don’t know who this quote originally belonged to, but there is a deep sense of truth in it. Nothing is more rewarding than having completed a piece of writing.

The most interesting and meaningful result of HubSpot’s research is that it doesn’t really matter how often you publish, but how much you have already published. ‘Companies that had published 401+ blog posts in total got about twice as much traffic as companies that published 301 - 400 blog posts.’ Why is that? The majority of views and visitors are generated by old content, thanks to Google.


 Now, even companies with 200+ employees benefit from blogging often: ‘larger companies that had 300+ total posts got over 2x more traffic as the ones that had published between 0 - 300 posts.’


So, while posting more than 10 times per month might not directly benefit bigger companies in the short-term, they should try to get at the 300+ blog posts archive in order to have a serious impact on SEO.

Conclusion

How often you post new content is not that important in the end. What really matters is that you stick to it in the long-term, build an audience and work on your SEO. It’s the old content that will draw most readers to your website, so make sure that you update these blog posts regularly if needed. Blogging is not a short-term tactic; it’s a long-term strategy. Thank you to HubSpot for pointing that out.


Tags: research

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