Is your blog content performing up to par? This is likely a difficult question for you to answer. After all, standards can be subjective. Compared to a competitor site, your content may be performing well, but compared to a larger company, your content may only get a fraction of the shares they do. The question is, what standards do you want to hold your blog to?
I’m going to start off with the bad news so that we can quickly move on to the good news. The bad news is that, according to a recent study by Moz and Buzzsumo analyzing one million posts, only top 10% of most-shared posts will receive backlinks. That means that the remaining 90% of blog posts that are published receive zero backlinks and fewer than 39 shares.
Yeah, those are scary numbers. But that’s the bad news. Now on to the good! You can benchmark your content to get some concrete numbers to strive for. For example, if you are able to get even one backlink for your blog post, that post is already in the top 10%. Once you’ve breached the top 10%, you have a greater shot at achieving higher share counts and even more backlinks.
How does your content stack up?
A couple of months ago, the other members of the Marketing team and I at Venngage decided to set the bar higher for our content. We knew that if we wanted our content to compete with the top sites, we needed to gain a decent understanding of what a well-performing blog post looks like. Should we aim for 50 total shares per post? 200 shares? 1000 shares? We decided to benchmark our content based on the number of shares our blog posts get, to see whether our blog content was performing as well as the big sites.
To do this, we analyzed every article from the last six months published on the top 115 marketing tech companies on Inbound.org to see how many total shares each post received. Then we dug deeper to see how many shares each post received per social media site (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus).
We used a simple grading scale to measure the performance of each site based on the number of shares per individual blog posts:
So to be in the A grade range, your blog needs to gain a total of almost 15k shares per month, with the majority of your shares coming from Facebook. Now the fun part (hint of sarcasm)–see how your own contact stacks up.
We followed the same framework of analyzing all of your blog posts over the same six month period and assigned a grade to our posts.
Normalizing Your Shares
As expected, there was a big difference between our absolute number of shares for each blog post and the absolute number of shares for articles on sites with bigger followings like HubSpot and StumbleUpon. Unless you happen to be at one of those top 115 companies, odds are your blog posts generally don’t come close to the same number of shares. But don’t panic! It’s important not to panic.
Look, it’s really hard to reach the same number of shares as companies with a much bigger follower base. It’s worth it to identify what your ultimate goal will be, but that’s why, in order to create a benchmark that is realistic and actionable, you should normalize your shares to level the playing field.
Normalize your shares by dividing the number of shares on a particular article by the number of followers on each social media site. For example, to get the normalized number of Facebook shares for a blog post, you would divide the number of Facebook shares you got for a post by the number of followers your site has on Facebook. This will give you a better idea of how engaged your audience is.
We were able to identify areas where we needed to increase our follower engagement–Twitter and LinkedIn were the main area for us.
Here’s a summary of our findings:
There were some findings that surprised us and changed our perspective of what top performing content looks like.
Top content has significantly more shares than the rest.
As you can see in the infographic, in pretty much every area, the blogs that received an A grade had an exponentially higher share count than the rest. In fact, the top 20 MarTech companies account for 80% of shares. This can be discouraging but keep in mind that in order to get into the top 10% range, all you have to do is get at least 39 shares and one backlink. This is very achievable with some basic blog traffic outreach.
Infographic posts perform very well.
We were surprised (but delighted) to find that posts with infographics had a significantly higher share count than other general posts, video posts, and interviews. It’s nothing new that MarTech companies like infographics, but the numbers still surprised us!
LinkedIn is the top site for normalized shares.
That’s right–at least, where B2B sites are concerned. LinkedIn shares are substantially higher than other platforms. Basically, if you’re not putting energy into LinkedIn activity, you should start. We’ve certainly upped our LinkedIn game.
Keep track of your month over month blog traffic.
Even if certain blog posts perform to an A grade standard, your overall share count month over month can still be low. That’s why it’s a good idea to track your monthly metrics to see how your blog is performing overall, so you can recalibrate your content strategy accordingly.
You can read the full content marketing benchmark study on our blog.