Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Can you define “plan” as “a loose sequence of manifestly inadequate observations and conjectures, held together by panic, indecision, and ignorance”? If so, it was a very good plan.” ― Jonathan Stroud, The Ring of Solomon

Elisa’s Thought for the Week:

We’re well into the 4th quarter of 2021 (thank goodness, am I right?!) and that means we’re all starting to put the metaphoric barstools on the tables as we get closer to closing time.

But here’s something you might not know about a bartender’s closing tasks: it is the responsibility of the closing bartender to prepare and stock everything for the next day bartender to start their shift.

Did you just read that with a chill, thinking “OMG Elisa! I don’t even know where all the barstools are — let alone how to cut the lemons for my 2022 writing and content!!”

Fear not, for our friend Andy Crestodina at Orbit Marketing has already put out the 2021 Blogging Statistics and Report for you to review.

In its 8th year of data and statistics, the Orbit team asks 1000+ bloggers and content creators 20 questions to determine the trends that emerged (or sustained…or diminished…) this year — and some insights for what you can expect in 2022.

Some of my top takeaways from the report this year:

  • “Blogging still works, but driving big results is a challenge” - This is something that I am constantly at odds with, and why I’m not a fan of the world of content marketing. Brands looking for direct ROI and results from a piece of content, rather than producing fantastic content that builds a loyal following and leads those people to subscribe/purchase/engage.

  • “Bloggers spent 67% more time per post in 2021 than in 2014.” - Further, bloggers who spend 6+ hours on their posts (I’m guessing ideation, research, writing, editing, and publishing) reported “strong results” from their content.

  • “For the most part, the least popular formats are the most effective formats.” - Though How-To articles still win out for Most Popular AND Most Effective, I love to see Opinion articles vaulting up the list from 5th Most Popular to 2nd Most Effective. (See Also: Elisa hates vanity metrics.)

  • “Bloggers who work with editors are twice as likely to report “strong results.”” - Also, even content professionals seem to confuse “editors” with “proofreaders” (Both extremely important, but not the same thing!)

  • “The best content doesn’t win. The best promoted content wins.” - This is no surprise. Social media, SEO, and email marketing continue to be the Most Popular but influencer/collaborator outreach streaks out as the Most Effective.

  • “Bloggers who embrace [updating their old posts] are nearly 3x more likely to report “strong results.” - It’s like you’ve already done 80% of the work!

As a bonus, they offer 3 solutions to each of the Biggest Challenges for Bloggers in 2021!

Check out the whole report here:

What You Missed on Craft Your Content …

Our articles have the same mission we do — to help you to make your own words even better!

  • Often, especially if you’re in a slump, it can be difficult to find inspiration for your writing or new content ideas. Writer Kriss Judd shares seven unconventional way to find content ideas, so you can get those creative juices flowing again.

  • From the Archives (July 2021): Finding ideas isn’t the only challenge. Frame switching is a writing roadblock that can lead to a stunted writing process, low energy, and reduced motivation. Author Shimon Brathwaite explains how pre-planning can help writers avoid frame switching, and help you get “in the zone” when you write.

In Other Reading This Week …

Need more insights and inspiration for your writing and mindset?

  • Not sure where to start with defining your content marketing plans for 2022? Check out this post by Content Marketing Institute for inspiration as you review your results and plan strategies for the new year.

  • A year after it’s last update, Google has updated its guidelines for quality raters, expanding on what qualifies for a “low quality” rating, and more. In this breakdown, TheSEMPost writer Jennifer Slegg shares those changes and what they mean for content publishers’ SEO practices.

  • Even if your content marketing efforts don’t include Reddit, you might benefit from Reddit’s new trend report, “Reddit Radar.” In its first edition, the report features insight on trends that will become more embedded in cultural shifts come 2022, based on data from the app’s over 100,000 communities.

  • For a lot of writers, a large part of the content planning process is (haphazardly) saving interesting bits of information, eventually forming an idea complete enough to become a story, article outline, or more. If your process is anything like that, you may have heard of using The Slip-Box (also called the Note Card or Zettelkasten) system of organising your ideas. Writer (and editorial advisor at CYC) Yi Shun Lai shares two conditions that can help you understand Zettelkasten, and how you can customise it to suit your needs.

  • No matter what your niche is, it’s easy to fall into a rut where you have nothing new to tell your readers. Originally shared by Josh Spector in his newsletter “For The Interested”, this article by Create & Sell explains what to do when you feel like you’ve already told your readers everything they should know and you’re not sure why to do next.

Weekly Writing Tip …

A quick chance to learn from the masters.

“Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

For the Upcoming Week …

Because we all need a good chuckle to start things off right!

Give me a second, I’m adding “Potential World-Renowned Physician” to my bio.

(Credit: Twisteddoodles on Instagram)

Till next time!


PS - Reply and let me know if you get the reference in the title of this email. It’s one of my favorites from this character!