Consistency And Quality Content Are The Keys to Blogging Success

Jan 19, 2022

It takes a combination of hubris, masochism and bad judgment to write a blog post about the importance of writing quality blog posts. Reporting for duty.

Chicago web design and development company Orbit Media recently released its 8th annual blogging survey, and it is full of detailed data that should allow me to easily knock off this post fast enough to catch the opening kickoff on Thursday Night Football.

Just kidding! I am all about quality. And that’s because quality pays off. While this is confirmed by the survey, we all know intuitively that quality content has intrinsic value, whereas crap content does not. The challenge is in 1) defining what makes a quality blog post and 2) enacting a realistic strategy to produce some on a regular basis (very important!).

But we’ll get to that discussion later, about three paragraphs before I log off to go watch a little NFL action. First I want to go over blog trends highlighted by the Orbit Media survey of more than 1,000 bloggers, some of which are relatively predictable and some genuinely surprising.

It’s a big survey, so I can’t cover everything. But if you are responsible for making your healthcare organization’s content strategy a success, you’ll find some interesting trend data about SEO, traffic sources, analytics and headlines in the survey write-up by Orbit Media cofounder Andy Crestodina.

Bloggers spent 67% more time per post in 2021 than in 2014.

A typical blog post takes 4 hours and 1 minute to write in 2021, up from 2 hours and 24 minutes in 2014. Even I couldn’t ascribe this increase to improved procrastination techniques (though I’m a pro), so there’s got to be some other reason why blogs are taking longer to write. And there is…

Blog posts keep getting longer. The average is now 1,416 words.

Ebooks, anyone? I mean, seriously? Nearly one-third (32%) of blogs in 2021 are more than 1,500 words. Only 6% of blogs today are less than 500 words, versus 21% in 2014.

Which reminds me of when I attended a digital content conference in New York in 2007 or so. I vividly remember looking around the hotel ballroom and determining that there were maybe two people there who were older than me. (Full disclosure: I used an abacus in my first job.) Anyway, there was a guy in his early twenties on stage during a panel discussion who authoritatively proclaimed, “Anything over 300 words is an essay.” Combined with the demographics of the room, this purported truism made me feel rather ancient. Well, who’s the dinosaur now, Essay Boy?

This is not to conflate length with quality. Just look at this post: I’m 448 words in, have yet to say anything of substance, and there’s no end in sight! (Actually, there is an end in sight because it’s now 7:02.)

OK, enough fooling around. Time for some real value:

Bloggers who publish more frequently get better results.

Cadence matters. Nearly six in 10 (59%) of the bloggers surveyed who reported “strong results” from their work published at least weekly. This is something I’ve said before: You’ve got to publish regularly. That’s how you build an audience and raise your profile as a thought leader. To have a presence, you must be present.

What kinds of content are bloggers publishing?

“How to” articles are far and away the most popular form of blog content at 76%, followed by lists at 54%. Yet only 23% of bloggers reported “strong results” from “how to” blogs.

The biggest challenges for bloggers

Just what you’d expect: Finding time to create and promote content (53%), getting traffic and attracting visitors (49%), creating quality content consistently (39%), and creating enough content consistently (35%). All formidable challenges for which there are solutions!

Stirring, informative conclusion

Let’s focus on those challenges because the keys to quality content lie within them. To find time to create and promote content, Orbit Media suggests 1) delegate, hire and outsource, and 2) make content development a top-three priority for one team member.

Both excellent suggestions. Whether it’s someone in-house, an agency such as Amendola, or a freelancer with experience in healthcare, you need someone who can focus on the job and do it well.

As for driving traffic and attracting visitors, the first step is to ensure you’re producing quality content. One way to do that is to post blogs that include original information and research or a unique take on a high-profile problem for your target audience. Thought leaders lead, they don’t offer “me too” content.

Another way to improve your blog content is to incorporate outside voices of authority. Get a quote from a healthcare professional who’s not one of your clients. It will add credibility. Also, it always helps to have better ideas – and lots of them. Orbit Media suggests you “improve your process for capturing ideas, collecting examples and quickly starting articles.” Amendola, for example, works very closely with clients to regularly generate ideas and get the ball rolling on content production. An editorial calendar never hurts, either.

Finally, creating enough content consistently requires ownership and commitment. You’re in on a winning content strategy or you’re merely paying lip service. Being a lip-service payer is the road to mediocre results! While you shouldn’t do more than you can do without sacrificing quality, you can’t disappear for long stretches. Orbit suggests publishing a minimum of one or two blog posts a month, which sounds about right. That’s minimum!

Blogging can be an effective component of a healthcare organization’s communications strategy that makes you stand apart from your competitors. But you must be dedicated, consistent and committed to quality. That means devoting the time, money and talent necessary to do it well and support your organization’s messages and goals.

It’s 8:17. I’m just sayin’.

Chris Nerney

Chris is a veteran healthcare and technology writer with more than 10 years of experience in content marketing following two decades in news and technology journalism. He has written healthcare and technology content for HIMSS, IBM, IDG, Unisys, DXC, Abbott, and many other clients as a freelancer, specializing in thought-leadership articles, white papers, blog posts, website copy, and pre- and post-conference material. He also is a podcast producer, writer, and cohost. Chris served as executive editor at, overseeing websites such as Datamation, eSecurityPlanet, Intranet Journal, and several others. He covered Internet startups and venture capital for in the late ‘90s, producing a weekly and a monthly newsletter. He began his technology writing career at Network World, launching the popular ‘Net Buzz column. He migrated to technology from news journalism, working as a news editor and entertainment section editor at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. Chris began his newspaper career in Massachusetts and was named the 1995 Editorial Writer of the Year by the New England Press Association. He has a B.S. in marketing and communications from Babson College. Chris also did standup comedy in the Boston area for five years, for reasons that elude him.