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Marketing

Published August 27th 2014

How to Write the Perfect Blog: An Experiment

Looking at the data behind great blogs we find what makes a good blog, what makes a bad blog, and can we use that data to create the perfect blog?

If you’re a regular reader of these Brandwatch blogs, you’ll know we absolutely adore data.

In fact, we basically eat and drink data here at the office.

However that’s not all we love. The Brandwatch gang, from engineering to design, enjoy writing and do so by contributing with their own blog posts.

Our blogs are brilliant ways to show off the data we provide – but what about the data behind those blogs, what makes a good blog, what makes a bad blog, and more importantly can we use that data to create the perfect blog? 

homer-excitedlong

To start this quest for perfection, we extracted all the data we could from the best performing blog posts of 2014.

Using Brandwatch Analytics we were able to slice and dice the data to find if there are any similarities.

The first similarity we found was not a unexpected – the most popular topic for our blogs was social media – hardly a surprise for a social media monitoring company, aye?

Digging a little deeper, we found that 50% of the top 10 blogs contained a list, whereas on average only 32.5% of all Brandwatch blogs contained lists. Interesting, but not eye-opening, the rise of Buzzfeed and Huffington Post have shown the magnetic nature of a list, drawing in millions of readers everyday.

In order to find how to write a perfect blog we found the average of the main components from the top ten blogs.



So, we’ve learnt that the perfect blog post should be sliced into 5 sub headings with 4 pieces of added media (pictures, videos, graphs etc), with a concise title and a total of 819 words.

Sounds easy.

But when to publish? To figure this one out, we compared the dates the best performing blogs were posted with the greatest amount of twitter activity per day and found Tuesday is the best day to post.



There you have it – the exact metrics needed to write the perfect blog – we’ve found the golden combination that will elevate your blog to the upper echelons of the blogging world.

But let’s be honest, will any of this actually work? To find out we followed the golden combination with one of our blogs 3 weeks ago:

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 10.15.11 AM

This blog – a post about Bolt’s impact on social media during the Commonwealth games – contained a list with 5 headings, 4 graphs (added media), 63 characters in the title (slightly over), and exactly 819 words.

The blog was published on a Tuesday at 2pm, when Twitter activity was at it’s highest. It contained all the metrics the top 10 blogs had, however, it wasn’t perfect. In fact, it was pretty darn mediocre.

Angry-homerlong

Out of 21 blogs posted this August, it’s currently ranked 14th in terms of page views, far from what we hoped for. It was viewed only 88 times, the average views for the top 10 blogs of 2014 is a colossal 5437 (that’s over 60 times more – however those blogs have been live for longer).

Nevertheless, those who did view the blog spent, on average, 4:47 minutes on the page. To give context, out of the 207 blogs posted this year the average time spent viewing a blog is 3:55 minutes.

This suggests that the layout used (‘the golden combination’) actually did have some effect on visitors, causing them to spend time reading the whole blog.

But, this can’t hide the fact that the blog failed in it’s attempts to join the elite blogs of 2014. Hopefully this will resonate with any budding bloggers out there showing that although data, measurements, metrics and comparisons are great to check and improve your work – nothing will substitute for interesting and gripping content written by expressive, inspired authors.

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