Dylan Tweney

Blogs are alive and well, survey data shows

Over 80% of professional content creators are busy writing blog posts for our companies and clients, according to my survey.
Dylan Tweney 6 min read
Photo showing a person at a laptop, typing - overhead view
Photo by Daniel Thomas / Unsplash

If blogging is dead, there’s no sign of its demise among content creators. Over 80% of professional content creators are busy writing blog posts for our companies and clients. The form is far from defunct; it’s just evolving. 

That’s according to a survey of professional writers and editors that I conducted among colleagues and in various content forums in Spring 2024. I was looking for perspectives on collaborative content creation — what we write about when we write with others.

The survey, though small in size, with 38 respondents, tapped into a deep well of experience. The participants were a diverse group of content and communications professionals with decades of work history creating various types of copy, including blog posts, bylines, press releases, social media copy, research reports, and more.

It’s not surprising that 80% of content creators write blog posts. Blogging remains one of the most accessible and cost-effective ways for companies to publish timely content, allowing brands to communicate directly with their customers and markets. Despite the widespread social media chatter about blogging's demise, it’s clear that the form is far from extinct. The era of deeply personal blogs may be over (except for a few oddballs like me), but the medium continues to thrive. 

For example, when I was at Highwire, I led a blog program for a deeply technical database company. We identified areas where we could improve their search engine rankings by creating new blog posts or refreshing old ones. Over the course of nine months, we were able to generate a substantial increase in traffic to their website (a lift of around 20%); a good chunk of that traffic came directly from search terms where they were directly challenging competitors. Blogging works.

The power of bylines

In addition to blogs, 63% of content creators contribute to bylines or op-eds (articles published in a news outlet with the byline of an outside contributor, such as a company executive). It’s no secret that many of these articles are not written solely by the executives whose names they carry. Writing bylines on behalf of others is a major responsibility of PR and content professionals. But it’s also clear that this is an extremely collaborative form of writing. The executive is usually deeply involved in creating the piece, from topic selection to providing structure and context to editing, revising, and final approval. Sometimes the executive writes everything, and the content pro’s job is to edit and provide feedback. Usually, there are others involved as well, from the exec’s marketing and communications teams, and all of their perspectives need to be incorporated. 

It can take a lot of work and demand a lot of social-emotional sensitivity, but when the end product gets published in a notable mainstream publication (like Fortune, Fast Company, or Quartz) or in a trade journal targeting a key audience, the results are incredible. It can raise awareness of the executive and the brand, and more importantly, it can also help establish the executive as a leader worth listening to. In the best of cases, bylines can even set the terms of a public discussion. 

And, as I found when I was leading comms at a tech startup, the sales team absolutely loves to use freshly published bylines in relationship-nurturing emails to their prospects.

What else do content creators produce? Short-form social media posts (58%), marketing collateral (53%), and press releases (53%). Nearly half of us (47%) produce research reports and marketing emails, and 44% produce longer social media content, such as LinkedIn articles or long posts.

One surprise from the bottom half of this chart: Almost 30% of us are still producing text for infographics. You might have thought the age of infographics ended a decade ago, but you’d be wrong: A lot of us are still out here, helping create these eminently shareable visual assets.

Bar chart showing the types of content that content professionals produce, from blog posts and bylines to academic papers, white papers, and articles
Bar chart showing the types of content that content professionals produce

Who we’re working with and how it’s going

This survey focused on collaborative content creation, so I wanted to know who content pros are working with. The vast majority of content pros (68%) work with a mix of professional content creators and non-professionals. Another 18% collaborate primarily with other professional content people, while 13% work primarily with people who are not content pros.

Pie chart. Question title: When working collaboratively on content, do you work primarily with people who are not professional content creators, or do you also work with a team of professionals? . Number of responses: 38 responses.
Who we're working with

Multiple revisions are the name of the game. Only 5% of respondents reported that most of their content gets published with only minor edits. Far more common is one or two rounds of revision, accounting for 50% of responses. However, 15.8% report that it takes 3-4 rounds of revision and 2.6% say that 5-9 rounds of revision are typical.  

An interesting finding is that 18% of people report that it’s impossible to count the number of edits because revision is continuous until the piece of content is approved. This kind of continuous editing is a feature of our cloud-based era, thanks to Google Docs, and personally, I’m grateful: Keeping track of multiple revisions is a pain.

Forms response chart. Question title: How many times does a typical piece of content return to the content team for revision? . Number of responses: 38 responses.
Pie chart: Number of revisions that it takes to produce a typical piece of content

More than half of respondents (54%) said it takes one or two weeks to produce a typical piece of content, counting from the initial “green light” to delivery of a publication-ready piece. Another 30% say it takes anywhere from a month to six months. 

The remaining quarter gave various ad-hoc answers, reporting that it varies a lot and there is no “typical” timeframe. 

Forms response chart. Question title: Roughly how long does it take you and your collaborators to produce a typical assignment, counting from the initial "green light" to delivery of a publication-ready piece of content?  . Number of responses: 35 responses.
Pie chart: How long it takes to produce a typical assignment, from green light to publication-ready copy

Overall, the survey findings demonstrate the enduring relevance of blogging and bylines, underscoring their continued importance in content creation. What’s more, the collaborative aspect of content creation is clearly evident. For most of us, multiple rounds of revisions over weeks or even months are to be expected, underscoring a commitment to quality as well as a need to work with many different stakeholders. For those of us in the content business, collaboration is the name of the game.

What about you? I'd love to hear about your experiences with collaborative writing. Does this survey ring true? Please write and let me know!

MORE: The collaborative writing series

  1. Writing as a team
    How creating content collaboratively is different from solo writing
  2. The POWERS process for effective team writing
    A six-step method for making collaborative content creation simpler and more effective
  3. How to start a writing project with a team
    How to prepare effectively for a group writing project (this post includes links to two templates you can use: an assignment brief template and a meeting agenda for kicking off a content project)
  4. Three ways to write an outline - plus one that is better than all the others
    Why an outline is so important, and 4 different types of outlines
  5. How to write - and how to avoid writer's block
    5 tips for getting started when you’re stuck
  6. Avoiding that "Untitled document" feeling in Google Docs
    How to ensure that no one is confused about what to do next.
  7. What does an editor actually do?
    Good editing aims at improving the writer as well as what they’ve written
  8. Release management for content products
    How to create and use a pre-publication checklist (includes a sample checklist template you can use)
  9. How to measure content effectiveness
    Quantitative and qualitative metrics you can use to study and improve content production.
  10. Blogs are alive and well, survey data shows
    Over 80% of professional content creators are busy writing blog posts for our companies and clients, according to my survey.
  11. The top tools for collaborative writing, part 1: Writing and editing
    Google Docs is the runaway favorite tool for writing and editing, used by 79% of all content pros.
  12. The top tools for collaborative writing, part 2: Project management and publishing
    What's the best choice for managing an editorial calendar? Once again, Google tools lead – but that's not the whole story.

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