Writing and maintaining a blog is not an easy thing to do at all. The benefits though are tremendous. You can establish thought leadership, it's a great search marketing tool, and allows readers to get an insight into your organisation that they might not otherwise get. All of which makes new research showing that corporate blogging is on the decline a bit sad.
The research, conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, investigated the social media habits of the fastest growing 500 companies in America, the so called Inc 500. It found that only 37% of these companies were blogging in 2011, down from 50% in 2010. What's more, if you extend things out to the wider Fortune 500 index, this drops to a pathetic 23%.
It would appear that an increasing number of companies are taking the easy option of a Facebook page instead. After all, it's much easier to update a status of one sentence than writing a blog of 300+ words. Of course that's probably half of the problem. Just because making a status update or sending a tweet is easy to do and takes little time often persuades marketers that social media therefore is something that's easy to do and requires no time.
Here are some reasons why your company should be blogging.
Reason 1 – Blogs are detailed
Because blogs allow you to go into much more depth you can provide your readers with much more detail. Whilst a pithy status update or a photo might suffice for some sectors, for many others readers want more detail. This is particularly true in the B2B sector where people don't tend to buy on impulse. A blog therefore is a great way to show that you know your stuff.
Reason 2 – Blogs last
The shelf life of a tweet or status update is generally very short. Sure you might get the odd update that goes viral and lasts a bit longer, but generally speaking you have but a moment to make an impact. A blog in contrast can last an age. Any search marketer will tell you how great blogs are for ranking in search engines, so a well written blog post can be bringing you traffic for a very long time. Even with Google et al taking into account social popularity in their rankings now, a good blog is still gold dust for your SEO.
Reason 3 – You'll stand out
If everyone else is choosing not to blog then you have the chance to stand out, to offer something different to the rest. Being seen as a company that cares enough to put time into their communications is no bad thing. Customers will appreciate it, the press will certainly appreciate it. Trust is one of those things that's really hard to create, but a blog goes a long way to achieving that.
Reason 4 – It keeps you on your toes
Whilst a status update can give you a sense of how many people like what you do, a quick glance through the comments on Facebook or, god forbid, YouTube often makes you worry for society. The quality simply isn't that good. A blog by contrast can provide you with an excellent way to solicit good quality feedback from your customers and other stakeholders. There's none of the slacktavism that's involved in social networking, this is good quality stuff. And of course if you're going to keep your blog active then you need to keep up to date with what's going on in your customers world, which is a great thing.
Reason 5 – Show off your team
Ok, you can have multiple accounts on Twitter, but on Facebook you're typically just 'the brand'. With a blog though you can easily show off the merits of your team. Think how Google have benefitted from Matt Cutts and Avinash Kausik for instance. A good blog with lots of representatives from your company is a great way to show off the team you have working for you.
Now a good blog is far from easy to maintain, but then just because something is difficult to do does not mean you shouldn't do it.