In 2021, there is no question that blogging is beneficial to any marketing strategy.
But while blogging is known to help brands increase leads, SEO, and credibility, many busy marketers still fear that blogging may be losing power.
Research has not allayed fears that “blogging is dead”. When we recently asked over 300 people how often they read blogs, around 40% said “never”. This followed HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report, which showed blogging dropped from first to third most popular content strategy between 2018 and 2020.
However, before you dive into all of the negative data, it’s important to remember that blogging is still incredibly valuable to marketers – but the way you approach blogging is more important than ever. And while our last survey found that 40% of people never read blogs, it conversely found that 60% of consumers read this content regularly.
The truth is blogging is alive and well. You just have to work a little harder to convince people to read your content than you have in the past.
So what’s one way to get inside a consumer’s head and figure out how to get them to read your blog? Conduct another survey.
Instead of asking 300+ people, “Do you read blogs?” I recently started a follow-up survey from Lucid asking, “Why do you read blog posts the most?”.
In the survey, in which respondents were asked to choose the most common reason for consuming blog content, response options included “To learn how to do something new,” “To be entertained,” “To learn more about products.” or to learn about brands “and” To find out more about news and trends in my job industry. “
With the number of leads business blogs are known to generate, you could expect a large chunk of people to read blogs to learn more about brands or products. But in fact, you might be surprised – and a little worried – by the highest and lowest reasons for blog readership:
In fact, only four percent of consumers say they read blogs to learn more about brands or products.
In fact, according to the results of the survey, more people are being driven to read blogs that teach them how to do something new. While 33% took this line of reasoning, 20% said they read blogs to be entertained, while 12% read blogs to find out about news or trends in their professional field.
In addition, 9% said they were driven to read blogs for all of the reasons mentioned.
What exactly do the above results mean?
To attract blog readers, you need to create content that provides informational value or entertainment rather than just using your blog to discuss your brand or product.
In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through the top three reasons the general consumer population is driven to read blogs. I’ll also show you how to create blog content that meets your readers’ needs while subtly spreading brand awareness.
3 reasons people read blogs
1. People read blogs to learn something new.
By far the most common reason people read a blog post is to learn something new. This result does not surprise me at all.
Why? Posts that contain instructions, step-by-step processes, tutorial videos, or tooltips often generate a large amount of search traffic. This is because every day people are looking for instructions on how to do things on Google.
Even if posts don’t provide granular information about how to do something, blogs that cover complex topics such as studies, trends, or less familiar topics can arouse curiosity.
From a psychological point of view, researchers have reported that people crave valuable information in much the same way they crave food and financial wealth. As a blogger, you can use this to create content that both arouses curiosity and discusses topics related to your brand, service, or products.
In the marketing blog, for example, we can show our readers how they can use a new social network like Clubhouse. That way, marketers or social media users who want to know can find our content in search or on social media and read it to learn how that content is created.
On a broader scale, our blog could create multiple pieces of content discussing a trend from multiple angles. For example, when the TikTok app came out, we wrote a few blog posts to answer common questions from marketers like “What is TikTok?” “How do brands market themselves on TikTok?” Or “How do you use influencers -Marketing on TikTok? “
Aside from helping our readers, we can use guiding or trending blogs to highlight the level of research and knowledge that we have gained as marketers. This could also show a prospect that HubSpot is a credible company selling quality products in the marketing industry.
2. People read blogs for entertainment.
People long for knowledge, but also want to be entertained. Every day, people might read blogs that tell interesting stories, make them laugh, or fascinate them in other ways.
This agrees well with the 2020 study, which found that more consumers are watching videos and consuming online content for fun and escapism.
But as a business blogger, you might be wondering, “How can I entertain my readers while keeping my blog professional?”
The truth is, if you are thinking creatively, there are a number of ways to keep your audience entertained while staying on-brand.
For example, you could create a fun infographic or photo post about a viral trend in your industry. While your readers may not be ready to invest in this viral trend, the pictures and information about the trend could keep them entertained. In one of our posts, we highlighted funny memes that marketers used in their actual campaigns.
Alternatively, you can also create a fun but informative video or podcast to go with your blog post. With that extra layer of content, you can dig deeper into the discussion of a viral marketing trend or interview an industry expert that people in your field are following. While this may not be “entertaining” for people outside your industry, it might be more interesting than the average blogs people in your field read.
Here is an example of a blog post that combines text and video for a better reading experience:
3. People read blogs to find out about trends in their job industry.
While people might not be interested in reading blogs specifically discussing your product or brand, they might be intrigued by a blog discussing an industry that your product is associated with.
While the survey results mentioned in the introduction are from general consumers with mixed professional backgrounds, workers are likely to read a blog if it educates them or provides them with valuable information about their industry.
If you look at the HubSpot blog readership and data, it becomes clear that our audience likes to read content related to trends in marketing, sales, service, or the website. And when we get expert tips or data on how to deal with these trends, our readers are even more engaged.
For example, our industry recently started talking about the Clubhouse social media audio app. While HubSpot had been watching this trend when the app was mostly used by celebrities, we started posting content about it when everyday users and brands were invited to the app.
Not only did we explain what Clubhouse was and why the app went viral, but also quotes and opinions from social media marketers about the social platform’s branding potential.
Here is an example of one of the posts we wrote that discussed the viral new trend and app.
In addition to responding to trends, you can also write about the latest news in your field. For example, here’s another post where we discussed how setting third-party cookies could affect marketers.
By responding to trends and news on your website, you position your blog as a focal point for the latest industry trend insights, as well as educational information and general tips.
Creating content that meets reader needs in 2021
So how can you create engaging content that attracts audiences with all different reading motivations while spreading brand awareness for your product or service? Consider posting blog posts that combine industry trends, guidance, and entertainment. No less than nine percent of the respondents surveyed above said they read blogs for all of the reasons on the list I gave.
Here are two examples of how you can create content that caters to the interests of multiple groups of blog readers.
Teach your readers how to do something in your industry.
On the HubSpot blog, each of our posts teaches readers something specific. For example, the post you are reading highlights our research on how people read blogs and shows you how you can take advantage of those findings.
In other posts, we also educate marketers by giving them step-by-step instructions on a marketing tactic or examples of how brands are leveraging advertising trends. Regardless of what we write about, we always try to teach readers something of value.
When you create content that educates people about strategies related to your industry, it will also be easier to discuss your product in a way that isn’t shameless or over the top.
For example, when discussing a strategy that HubSpot can help with, we can subtly link readers to a tool or resource we offer that can help them. Here’s an example of a HubSpot mention in a post on form creation tools:
We are also happy to add free offers to our content at the end of every blog post. When we do this, a reader can learn more about the subject we just taught them. And when you fill out a simple form to request the free resource, you can choose whether or not to be contacted about one of our products. This gives the reader the feeling of receiving valuable information without having to find out about our products.
Even if you don’t specifically recognize a product, an industry blog that focuses on educating readers can showcase your company’s expertise. If your brand is seen as very knowledgeable about your industry, readers might think your products were created by your industry experts too.
Entertain readers in the industry and keep them informed at the same time.
While an industry blog is likely to be aimed at employees or executives at the company, that doesn’t mean your content can’t be informative and entertaining. For example, you can use videos, GIFs, images, or interactive blog assets to expand your content while keeping it interesting for the reader.
For example, you might consider embedding a quiz or personality quiz about your industry, like we did in this blog post:
Occasionally, you can also create entertaining posts suitable for work items that your industry readers can identify with. For example, here is a service blog post where we highlight GIFs related to working in customer service:
Entertaining blog content on an industry blog can also prove your expertise. But most importantly, this content also allows your reader to identify with your brand on a more human level.
Build an effective blog strategy for 2021
While a successful content type can be great to work with, the blogs with the highest credibility and fastest growth often contain a mix of content that entertains or informs readers, draws them attention to brands or products, or teaches them something new. And since 9% of consumers in the above survey said they read blogs for “all” of the reasons listed, there’s a good chance that a mix will fascinate and meet the reading needs of several different groups.
To learn more about how to bring internet users to your blog, read this post. For tips on blogging, check out this post with advice from our own blog team.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in May 2020, but has recently been updated for completeness and timeliness.