Including blogging as a part of your marketing strategy could bring you more customers. According to our State of Marketing report, blogs are among the top three marketing channels that deliver the highest ROI.
But knowing that blogging can boost your credibility, SEO, leads, and revenue is not enough. Uncovering why people read blogs is how you make your blog effective and reap the benefits.
To determine why people read blogs, we surveyed 298 people from across the US.
Here’s what we know.
Blogging is alive and well.
I’d be extremely wealthy if I had a dollar for every time I read, watch, or hear that “blogging is dead.”
This isn’t true.
In a recent poll, we asked 325 people to share how often they read blogs, and 29% said they read 1 to 4 times per month.
Before you get wrapped up in this positive data, remember that what worked a few years ago won’t work today.
While blogging is still incredibly valuable, how you approach it matters more than ever. You’ll need to work harder to persuade people to read your content than you have in the past.
In our survey, which asked participants to select why they consume blog content, options included:
To learn something unrelated to my career.
To be entertained or pass the time.
To solve problems related to my career or industry.
To learn about news and trends in my job industry.
With the number of leads business blogs generate, you might assume many people read blogs to learn about things related to their industry.
But it might surprise you that only 29% percent of consumers read blogs to learn about something related to their industry.
According to our survey results, more people are driven to read blogs that teach them how to do something new.
While 62.2% selected this reasoning, 51.1% said they read blogs to be entertained, and 42% read blogs to learn about news or trends in their job industry.
Also, 10% said they read blogs to fulfill a reading obligation.
These results imply you need to create informative and entertaining content to win blog readers. Content created solely to sell your offer won’t cut it.
In this blog post, I‘ll walk you through the top three reasons consumers read blogs. I’ll also show you how to create a blog with content that fulfills your reader’s needs while still subtly spreading brand awareness.
3 Reasons People Read Blogs
1. People read blogs to learn something new.
By far, the most common reason people read blog posts is to learn something new. This result doesn’t surprise me at all. Our survey shows people love posts about guides, step-by-step processes, tutorial videos, or fast facts.
Such posts can also gain a large amount of search traffic because people search Google for instructions about how to do things daily.
Even when posts aren‘t informing people of how to do something on a granular level, blogs that discuss complex studies, trends, or topics people are less familiar with can pique a person’s curiosity.
Psychology research shows humans crave valuable information, much like they desire food or wealth. Harness this need by creating content that arouses curiosity about your brand, service, or products.
For example, on our marketing blog, we might show our readers how to use a new social media network, like Instagram’s Threads.
By doing this, marketers or social media users who want to learn how Threads work could find our content in search or on social media and read it.
On a broader scope, our blog might create multiple pieces of content that discuss a trend from multiple angles. For example, when TikTok emerged, we wrote a few blog posts to answer common marketer questions like:
Besides helping our readers, trend-related blogs let us highlight our research and knowledge as marketers. This could also show prospects that HubSpot is a credible company that sells quality products within the marketing industry.
2. People read blogs to be entertained.
While people want knowledge, they also like to be entertained. Each day, people might read blogs that tell interesting stories, make them laugh, or intrigue them in some other way. This is where multimedia content shines.
As our survey notes, 32% of respondents say video, imagery, or other multimedia are some of the most interesting elements that make them read blog content.
As a marketer, you might ask, “How can I entertain my readers while still keeping my blog professional?” There are a number of ways to do this.
One is to create fun infographics about viral trends in your industry. While your readers might not invest in this trend, the imagery and information might entertain them.
For instance, in one of our posts, we highlighted funny memes marketers used in their campaigns.
This example below is entertaining because it shows the messiness of running a new business. It’s also on-brand because it shows an actual picture of the business owner.
Alternatively, you could also create a fun, but informative, video or podcast to go with your blog post.
This content will allow you to deeply discuss a viral marketing trend, or interview an industry expert. While this might not entertain people outside your industry, it can make your blog more interesting.
Fun fact: 27.9% of our survey respondents say advice or insights from experts and/or thought leaders in their field is one element that can make them read blog content.
3. People read blogs to learn about trends related to their job industry.
Succeeding in an industry without knowing how it works is difficult. That’s why social media marketers need the latest social media marketing trends. Same goes for content marketers, salespeople, customer service experts, and more.
These trends could intrigue your blog readers, and you could benefit by including an offer. For instance, our sales trends post has a link to our detailed 2023 sales trend report.
After reading this report, a salesperson who wants to go deeper could decide to download our report. That’s a win because we can now build a relationship with this subscriber by sending more valuable content.
Trends also include new products or platforms. For example, our industry recently started buzzing about the social media platform Threads. As we watched Threads grow, we knew we had to create content that’d help users navigate this new app.
See the first post we created about Threads:
Besides explaining what Thread is and why the app was going viral, we also created more posts about this new platform.
By responding to trends and news-like Threads, we position our blog as the go-to place for the latest industry insights about marketing, sales, customer service, and general tips.
Doing the same will help you win blog readers and generate sales down the line.
Now that you know why people read blogs, it’s fair to learn why a blog post might not interest a reader.
3 Reasons Consumers Stop Reading a Blog Post
Tackling these reasons will help you understand how to attract readers to your blog. During our survey, we asked respondents to share the top three reasons they’d stop reading a blog post.
Here’s what they said.
1. The blog post is poorly written or hard to follow editorially.
33.2% of our respondents selected this option. That’s one in three readers. To avoid this situation, you need to be wary of the elements of a poorly written post.
Vague introductions. If your blog post introduction doesn’t sound like a great pickup line, ditch it. Such intros are likely vague, and they’d cause your reader to move along.
No clarity. These posts often contain jargon that the intended audience can’t understand. They also lack clear language and often include grammatical errors and typos.
Weak content ideas. If the idea for an article is surface-level, the article will not go deep in substance. So before putting pen to paper, weigh the quality of your content idea.
Off-topic rambling. Going off-topic is a no-no. Never deviate. Introducing irrelevant information will only confuse readers and make your content difficult to follow.
2. The blog post takes too long to fulfill the promise given in its title or description.
33.2% of our respondents say blogs fail at this task. The simple solution: get to the point fast.
At HubSpot, we usually require our team to stick with two- to three-paragraph introductions, especially when the topic is apparent to the reader.
This ensures we don’t waste our readers’ time and helps us get to the meat of our blog posts quickly.
3. The blog post is too long or text-heavy.
31.5% of our respondents quit reading blog posts for this reason. To fix this, you can include bullet points, infographics, videos, memes, and images in your long-form posts. This breaks the wall of text and improves content readability.
As a general rule, you can include these content elements for every 300 words of text you write.
Creating Content That Fulfills Reader Needs in 2023
Your audience has several motivations for reading your blog post. Some want entertainment, others want to learn, and others want industry or career-specific information.
To win them all, you need to create a combination of these types of content. Creating this content also makes it easy to plug in your product if it’s related to what you’re discussing.
For example, when we’re discussing a strategy that HubSpot can help with, we might subtly link readers to a tool or resource we offer that can help them.
Here’s an example of a HubSpot mention in a post about form-building tools:
We also like to include free offers related to our content at the end of each blog post. When we do this, a reader can learn more about the topic they’ve read.
And, when they fill out a simple form requesting the free resource, they can choose whether they’d like to be contacted about one of our products.
This allows the reader to feel like they are receiving valuable information without being forced to learn about our products.
Readers also have an appetite for interactive content. This makes your posts fun to read and easier to grasp. For example, you could consider embedding a trivia or personality quiz related to your industry, as we did in this blog post:
After answering each question, readers get the answers in real-time, and this can further aid the learning process.
Building an Effective 2023 Blog Strategy
While it’s great to run with one successful content type, the blogs with the most credibility often have a mix of content that entertains or informs readers, makes them aware of brands or products, or teaches them something new.
And with consumers in our poll saying they read blogs for several reasons, there’s a good chance that a mix will intrigue and fulfill the reading needs of your audience segments.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in May 2020 but was recently updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.