Occasionally, one stumbles upon a stop-you-in-your-tracks statistic. For me, it was an IBM study that found 80% of corporate blogs contain fewer than five posts.
If the study centered on personal blogs, I’d understand. But corporate blogs? Wow. Further, given that HubSpot’s own research has determined marketers who blog are 13X more likely to drive a positive ROI than those who don’t, the abandon rate is even more startling.
For years, I’ve struggled with IBM’s stat. I’ve never been quite able reconcile the disconnect between the positive impact of blogging and the number of ship-jumpers.
Then, during an internal project in which we analyzed the effect of publishing volume to traffic, it hit me: We concentrated our analysis on the immediate traffic a blog post enjoys. That’s traffic through email subscribers, RSS feeds, and social shares because the half-life for those sources is incredibly brief. After 48 hours, a cascade has become a trickle.
This phenomenon must be frustrating, if not demoralizing, for corporate bloggers who need to prove they are driving results, and prove it quickly. After all, if traffic crashes after a day or two, how can one argue for the enduring value of the medium?
The key to the argument is to turn the challenge upside down. Literally. Rather than dwell on the sudden decay of short-term traffic, corporate bloggers should instead zoom in on the cumulativepotential of organic traffic, triggering what venture capitalist Thomasz Tunguz describes as the “compounding returns” of blogging.
Let’s have a look.
As you can see in the video, it’s easy to see why bloggers who rely on daily traffic as their sole performance indicator would abandon their blogs quickly. The meteoric rise and fall of traffic could suggest the value of their article, along with all the work that went into it, is unjustifiably short-lived. Sensing they’re doing something wrong, they give up.
But a slight shift in perspective from daily traffic to cumulative traffic can reframe the decision entirely.
Bloggers who consistently publish “evergreen” content -- that is, articles that have a durable relevance -- are likely to find that, over time, traffic sourced by search will eclipse the first-day spike. Moreover, this downstream organic traffic tends to be comprised of visitors with a higher propensity to buy, given that they’ve discovered the blog (and, by extension, the brand) while in problem-solving mode.
So if you’ve pressed “pause” on your blogging effort, it’s time to push “play” instead. Because ROI-driving results are just a perspective-shift away.
Originally published May 18, 2015 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017