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Blog Best-Practices and Benchmarks

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Which are the best days and times to post to a blog? Do capital letters, exclamation points, and question marks in titles lead to more engagement? On which social networks do readers share blog posts most often?

TrackMaven recently tackled those questions (and many others) in its Colossal Content Marketing Report, which was based on an analysis of 1.16 million posts from 4,618 blogs and 1.9 million social shares of those posts. The data set included blog posts from a range of publishers, including content marketers, individuals, and media companies.

Below, key findings:

Best Days and Times to Post

  • 87% of the blog posts examined were published during the workweek, with Tuesday and Wednesday the most popular days for posting.
  • However, the 13% of pieces published on weekends actually had more social shares per post on average.
  • Saturdays were particularly ripe for blog post sharing: Only 6.3% of posts were published on Saturdays, but they received 18% of the total social shares.

  • The bulk of blog posts examined were published during US working hours, from roughly 9 AM to 6 PM ET, with the peak at 11 AM-12 PM.
  • Posting frequency steadily declined after 6 PM EST, but there was a secondary spike 12-1 AM ET, most likely due to scheduled posts at the start of the next business day.
  • The peaks of engagement (social shares) with blog posts were actually clustered outside of working hours: The most social shares occurred 9 PM-midnight ET, with the highest point of engagement coming 10-11 PM.
  • There were also additional smaller spikes in social sharing 4-6 AM ET, 7-8 PM, and 1-2 AM.

Blog Post Titles

Length 

  • The blog post titles examined were around 40 characters in length on average.
  • However, those with titles a bit longer than average, around 60 characters in length, received the most social shares.
  • Blog posts with titles beyond 60 characters in length had sharp declines in social shares.

Punctuation 

  • 95% of blog posts analyzed did not include a question mark in the title, but those that did had nearly twice as many social shares.
  • That said, publishers should not go overboard, because post titles with two or more question marks had the lowest number of social shares.
  • Few publishers use exclamation points (97% of posts analyzed did not have one), and for good reason: Average social shares decreased for blog titles that had up to three exclamation points.
  • Interestingly, though less than 0.1% of posts included four exclamation points, those that did had more social shares than average.

Capitalization

  • 12% of blog titles analyzed had no capitalization, and less than 1% were written in all caps.
  • Most publishers appear to be using standard capitalization for their posts, which is a good decision; posts with a mix of capital and lowercase letters had the most shares.

Social Sharing

Most social sharing for the blog posts examined occurred on Twitter and Facebook:

  • Tweets accounted for 38.6% of total social shares.
  • Facebook Likes made up 33.8% of engagement.
  • Facebook Shares accounted for 26.7%.

About the research: The report was based on an analysis of 1.16 million posts from 4,618 blogs and 1.9 million social shares of those posts.


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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategy and content consultant. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His experience includes working as a strategist and producer of digital content for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and AOL.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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Comments

  • by Jim Greenway Mon Apr 28, 2014 via web

    Great Article. Love the stats.

  • by Mary Lou Joseph Mon Apr 28, 2014 via web

    Nice post Ayaz. A couple of questions. Did the report have anything about blog length? Did shares drop off after a certain length? Did they have any data on what tolerance people had for length, and at what point they abandon a blog because it is too long? ML

  • by Ayaz Nanji Mon Apr 28, 2014 via web

    Thanks Jim!

    ML -- I don't recall seeing anything in the report about blog length, but @trackmaven may have some additional data and insights. You may want to reach out directly (or let me know if you would like me to make the connection).

  • by Mary Lou Joseph Mon Apr 28, 2014 via web

    Thank Ayaz, I'll investigate TrackMaven's site. ML

  • by Nick Blandford Mon Apr 28, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the post Ayaz - Any idea on the type of blogs that were researched for this survey? (i.e. # of B2B compared to B2C, etc) and what types of industries the blogs are targeting for readers (general consumers, technology, energy, food and beverage, etc...)? I'd also be curious to learn if they're all in English and what geographies the blogs target (or if the majority are global in nature). I lead Schneider Electric's global blogging program (blog.schneider-electric.com) and we see a ~3 : 1 ratio of readers coming from Linkedin to the blog compared to any other social media platform (once a post is shared on a social platform). This is probably due to the nature of the content (majority being focused on B2B and on topics such as smart city, smart gird, energy management, etc..) however I do see that infographic posts and posts that focus on residential energy efficiency and sustainability gain more traction in Facebook... probably due to the nature of what people share & use different social platforms for (personal vs business).

    Cheers & thanks again,
    Nick

  • by Ayaz Nanji Tue Apr 29, 2014 via web

    Nick -- The report didn't break down the types of blogs that were included, but most of the examples cited in it were B2C, so my guess would be that it leaned heavily that way. That would explain the sharing trends (I agree with you that a predominantly B2B audience would likely use LinkedIn much more to share).

    I also don't have any info on language and geography. Let me see if @TrackMaven can chime in here in the comments and shed some more light on the data.

  • by Sabel Harris Tue Apr 29, 2014 via web

    Hi ML- In this report, we did not include blog length; however, we will be releasing a part 2 to this Colossal Content Marketing Report that will report on the following questions you have. Stay tuned! :D

    Hi Nick- For our Content Marketing report we didn't segment what types of blogs they are as our database is huge and we wanted to see what the common trends were across the entirety of the marketing channel of blogging. All of the blogs in our database are English based with some international touches. But you definitely make some great valid points and we're going to dig some more to see what we can find.

  • by Mary Lou Joseph Tue Apr 29, 2014 via web

    Sabel - that's great. I look forward to reading it. ML

  • by Nick Blandford Wed Apr 30, 2014 via web

    Hi Sabel - Thanks for the note. Over the past year, we seen some interesting trends & analytics emerge from our global blog program (blog.schneider-electric.com) that I lead (which is in english and global in nature) as well as our regional blogs (in local languages). It's more of an industry (energy sector) specific blog that could be categorized as B2B but there are elements of B2C (i.e. personal sustainability, residential energy efficiency etc..) which are relevant to every consumer on the planet - We have over 200 bloggers (plus guest bloggers) from 17 countries that contribute to the blog site which provides compelling and interesting content from diverse backgrounds & perspectives.... As you can imagine this sets the tone for some pretty fun times.

    I'd be more than happy to chat about this as I find it difficult to find reports, studies, etc on B2B & industry specific blogs.

    N

  • by Mike Tue Aug 19, 2014 via web

    This is great information and great stats. I have a question about platform. I have a client who set up a blog by creating a static page on their site and naming it blog.php. Is that sufficient for a blog? Their site is custom and so they are not connecting through Blogger or Wordpress. Any suggestions in this situation? I would think they should be able to connect Wordpress and I would think that would be better but wanted your thoughts. Thanks

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