I came across a blog post by Gini Dietrich, one of the co-authors of Marketing in the Round: How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era, titled Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough? Blogging is definitely not dead; it’s more so the second half of her question.
Allow me to rant first – a reaction to the first half of Gini’s aforementioned post title. I've already seen so many posts and news pieces on how blogging is actually passé, that it’s dying. For crying out loud! Seriously? This seems to be a repeatable cycle with every new medium or marketing tool.
When TV became popular they were calling the end of movie theaters.
Then the end of TV, commercial radio station, music, newspapers…
And now they’re saying Facebook is about to die; no, Twitter is…
It is the end of print… radio was supposedly dying.
Oh wait, none of them actually passed away! They all survived! How? By simply adapting to new realities. That’s all.
I don’t know why we are so obsessed with announcing the end of a medium or marketing tool. I really would like to know why, anyone?
Thank you for letting me vent a bit. Now let’s get back to Gini’s post of what’s happening to branded blogs.
Gini was reacting to April’s USA Today report about more companies abandoning their blogs in favor of social media. They mention a study by the Dartmouth branch of the University of Massachusetts, that says the percentage of companies that maintain blogs fell from 50% in 2010 to 37% in 2011 . “So, I see. Based on Wall Street and fast-growth companies, blogging is down, and now it’s time to claim the whole blogosphere is dead,” she writes sarcastically.
She thinks this is happening because companies realize blogging isn’t easy: “It’s hard to generate good content even once a week. It’s hard to cultivate a community. It’s hard to grow traffic. It’s a thankless job most days.”
I browsed through the Z-Blog and discovered that its recurrent theme is that business blogging brings results
- if you know what your goal is
- why your brand opened the blog in the first place
- if you know your target audience well
- if you measure the success of your blog and adapt as you go
What I’d like to add to this is you shouldn’t just decide you’re going to have a blog. My posts The Art of Thinking Like a Real Blog Editor and Simple but Crucial Tips for Editing Blog Posts are clear: a company blog needs a great editor, mostly for reasons listed above.
I have heard so many many times: “This doesn’t work.” “This” could be a blog, a customer magazine, a Facebook page… And then we go through the channel and see how it was done and discover obvious reasons for failure.
Usually, it goes something like this: a C-level gets blinded by the new channel or medium, by the shining buzzword. So they decide they should do it too. And they open a blog, or Facebook page, or start working on a new magazine or open a Pinterest profile etc. They’re so enthusiastic in the beginning. But slowly, after only a few weeks or so, they lose interest in the channel. It may still be updated from time to time, but it’s mostly just there, a reminder of enthusiasm they once had and of promise it once showed.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am definitely not the first one to tell you: it’s just doesn’t work that way.
There have been quite a few reports and studies that show how blogging affects leads. Gini mentions Hubspot’s findings: for companies that do blog, their monthly leads increases by 67% (for B2B) and 88% (for B2C). The survey also shows that updating your blog just once a week increases your leads by 77%.
Not all business blogs fail. Most of those who consider their company blog a failure and believe they were misled by thinking that blogging is an effective marketing tool are usually looking at wrong measurements and are impatient – they expect quick ROI.
But how can they even assess the effectiveness of their branded blog
- if the blog has no strategy
- if they don’t really know why they need/want a blog
- if the blog has no plans what and how to measure and how to adapt to results
- if their blog isn’t an integral part of their overall business and marketing strategies with clear objectives
- if they don’t know what their main story is
- if they don’t have a long-term plan (at least the one that spans more than just a month or two in the future)
- if they don’t make a plan who and what is going to post and how often
- if they don’t strategically name the best possible editor they can for the JOB
Basically it’s because they never really ask WHY and answer each and every WHY in details.
It may seem like I am repeating something that has been beaten to death over and over and over again. But it’s amazing how companies keep making the same mistakes that lead them to believe that blogging is like whatever.
It isn’t, you just have to do it right! Or as Bostjan says vividly: “Blogosphere is pervasive and indispensable.”
True, it isn’t easy. It can be tedious. It is time-consuming. It may not bring results, at first. But do it right and you will enjoy it. And reap desired rewards.
Just please, approach it as you’d approach any other business investment. It’s worth your time and attention.
What’s your take on the whole is-blogging-business-effective-or-not discussion?