If you heard a worldwide intake of breath at the start of November, it may well have been the Radix client base, opening our latest B2B copywriting price list.
Alongside the expected incremental increase (it’s our first price realignment for a couple of years, after all), there’s one big change that might seem surprising. We now list no fewer than six different kinds of blog post. And their average price has increased significantly.
- We’ve added new, longer blog post options
- We’ve built in extra time into our other posts too.
Assuming our clients want to see a return on their investment, that’s a very positive thing. Because the evidence is clear – longer and better thought-out blog posts get far better results.
[Public service announcement: there now follows an explanation of the changing role of B2B blogging, and the correlation between blog length and results. It’s valuable stuff, but if you want to skip straight to the price list, that’s fine too.]
To get more out, we gotta put more in
We haven’t shuffled our pricing on a whim. We’ve done it because B2B blogging has changed dramatically. (In fact, it’s been changing for a while: we talked about it in our podcast in early 2016, and again this April.)
Marketers are no longer viewing blog posts mostly as pile-em-high-sell-em-cheap web filler to be consumed by search engine spiders – and, to be frank, nobody else. Which is great news for us, because we’ve never written that way and it was a bit soul-destroying to compete with those who did.
But partly thanks to search algorithm changes rewarding quality (nice work, Google), blog posts have now taken their rightful place as a versatile content marketing asset in their own right. And that means they need to inform. To engage. To entertain. Because if a blog post is going to succeed, it needs to deliver genuine value to the reader.
But creating that value takes work. It takes research, and talking to subject matter experts. It takes planning, and thought. It takes editing and redrafting. It takes time.
If charging a little more for a blog post means we can put in that bit more time and effort, then the end result will be more engagement for our clients – and content that actually delivers against their business objectives. Which is why we’re all here, right?
Blog posts: the Very Hungry Caterpillar of content
Often (though not always), all that extra time, thought and research translates into more words. Undoubtedly, blog posts across the board are getting longer – and working better for it.
For the last four years, Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media has shared the results of an annual survey into bloggers’ work practices – and, crucially, their results. Every year, the trend moves further towards fewer, longer posts and more time – with better results.
This year’s findings continue the trend:
- The average blog is now 1,142 words long (88 up on 2016 – and 334 more than 2014)
- 2,000 word blogs are now almost as common as those with fewer than 500
- Typical blog length has a marked correlation with strong results
Just 19.9% of bloggers with a typical post length of 800-1000 words report “strong results”. Where the average is over 2,000 words, it’s 56.3%.
Orbit Media, 4th Annual Blogger Survey
Andy’s not alone. In his article How to decipher the DNA of winning content, LinkedIn’s Jason Miller describes how his team partnered with Buzzsumo to analyse 400,000 content marketing posts on major social media networks. Among other things, they learned:
- The average number of links and shares both increase as a post gets longer
- The “sweet spot” for a technology post is now between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
To reflect that, one of the new kinds of blog post we’ve added to our price list this year is a 1,800-2,000-word colossus. It allows a genuinely informative deep dive into a topic – but in terms of the writing and research effort we put in (and, arguably, the value it gives the marketer) it’s broadly equivalent to an ebook.
We price the post accordingly – which obviously increases the notional “average blog price” overall.
It’s not about length; it’s about depth
Let’s be clear: nobody’s suggesting that longer blog posts are automatically more effective, per se. There’s no magic in the word count (except for a slight improvement in the ability to catch long-tail Google searches, perhaps).
But where a blog post has to work hard amid the grey goo of identikit content marketing, that little bit more research, thought and explanation can be a big help. The blog post that’s not afraid to go deep is one way to stand out, and deliver actual value to the reader – and if you want to demonstrate your expertise, instead of just talking about it, it works for that too.
(There’s also an undeniable, “I’m so serious” cachet around sharing a long read on social media, isn’t there?)
“If you have something original and valuable to say, take the space to say it with meaning. Longer content often serves as a sign of relevance, authority, and value.”
Jason Miller, Group Manager of Global Content and Social Media Marketing, LinkedIn
Yes, our price list really does include six types of blog post. Wanna see?
We’re a wee bit unusual as copywriters go, in that we give all our clients a price list for the kinds of content we’re asked to write most often. It helps our direct clients to keep control of their budgets, and agency ones to give accurate quotes to their own clients in turn.
(That’s not to say you can’t have a bespoke quote if the thing you want is not on the list. But for most of the work we do, it’s a very handy guide.)
As well as adding new, longer and more in-depth options, our price list now includes an option for writing up an event or webinar – since that’s an increasingly popular way for our clients to extend the reach and long-term return from their event management investment.
Broadly, then, here are the six kinds of blog post our clients usually want:
Blog post type 1: blog to promote existing asset (600-800 words).
A straightforward blog post, promoting an existing content asset (typically an ebook, white paper or video). It acts as a teaser, sharing some of the information from the asset but with the call to action to download the asset to get the full story.
The blog is written with the aim of amplifying the reach of the asset and driving registrations / downloads. For that reason, clients often ask us to add a blog of this type to an ebook or white paper commission.
Blog post type 2: topical comment/opinion post (800-1,000 words)
A post that sets out the client’s opinion on a current topic or trend, or which uses a topical story as a hook to talk about the client’s product or service area. It’s usually ghostwritten for the client’s subject matter expert – in an appropriate voice – based on an interview.
This type of post works well on LinkedIn, to spark conversation and engagement with people in the spokesperson’s extended network.
Blog post type 3: re-purposing asset with additional content (800-1,000 words)
This type of post takes an existing content asset as its basis, but seeks to flesh it out with additional research and/or a briefing call with the client. The aim of this type of post is to create interest in a particular topic, which in turn is designed to encourage the reader to download the asset once their interest has been piqued.
The additional information is there to signal to Google that this is rich, quality content – or can enable us to zoom in on one aspect. In this way, it’s possible to atomize one tentpole content asset into a whole series of engaging standalone posts.
Blog post type 4: write-up of an event or webinar (800-1,000 words)
This type of post is designed to amplify and extend the reach of a client’s event or webinar. Typically, the writer will attend the event or watch the webinar, and write a summary post highlighting the main points of the session, with a call to action to find out more.
For large conferences or multi-session events, we often write several blog posts, based on sessions the client chooses.
Blog post type 5: editorial style “feature” or “news story” (c. 1,200-1,500 words)
This is where things start to get deeper, with an editorial-style feature on a current topic or trend. It may shed new and original light on a popular topic, or highlight a trend or correlation that other commentators have missed.
It’s usually based on an interview with the client (who has spotted the trend or who is an expert in the area) as well as a good chunk of desk research for supporting information and stories to include in the piece.
Blog post type 6: detailed how-to guide or in-depth exploration of a topic (1,800-2,000 words)
We’re talking proper thought leadership. This is a thoroughly-researched, detailed post – full of original, useful and expert information that the audience is unable to easily find elsewhere. It’s based on one or more interviews with subject matter experts, and/or attendance at one or more conference sessions, as well as additional desk research.
The amount of research we conduct and information we include is at a similar level to a shorter ebook or white paper, and this is reflected in the pricing.
Ultimately, quality pays
Judging by both statistical evidence and our clients’ own anecdotes, blog posts are most effective when you think a little longer, and go above and beyond to surprise and delight the reader.
It makes good sense. Google rewards the best posts on a subject, so they get more traffic. Those readers are more engaged, so they stay on your site for longer. They notice the quality, which reflects better on your brand and its expertise. And they’re more likely to share, so your reputation grows – and the post gets still more traffic in turn.
But to get those benefits, you have to have the best content. And we’re determined to give our clients nothing less.
If you’d like a copy of the Radix B2B copywriting price list, just ask.
This blog post is 1,762 words long.