Any corporate blogger who visited ReadWriteWeb last week might have had their heart skip a beat. As it turns out, the Inc. 500 saw a large drop in corporate blogging in 2011, while the Fortune 500 seemed to have leveled off. The study suggests that companies are “pivoting” their social strategies away from blogging to focus primarily on core channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
This really got me thinking. What the study doesn’t mention is why we are seeing this decrease. Yet, after bouncing it around in my head for a while, it seems pretty clear to me.
The fact of the matter is that good blogging is hard to do. Let me rephrase that – it’s damn hard to do. In order to be successful, a blog needs to be “high quality quantity”. It needs to consistently provide relevant, valuable, and engaging content over and over again to the point where people take it for granted like it’s a free product or service. Corporate bloggers need to constantly create or procure good content from a variety of different voices from within the organization when, often times, blogging is far outside the job description of these contributors. It’s a delicate balancing act between time, resources, audience needs, and corporate goals. You constantly need to be on point to stay competitive.
On the other hand, there exist tools like Twitter and Facebook. Two giant link and multimedia economies where being timely, frequent, and resourceful are comparatively easy to do. Why waste my time and energy on the complex, multi-part behemoth that is corporate blogging when I can streamline and be more efficient with Twitter?
Because it’s worth it, and firms that blog successfully know it all too well. In fact, the most successful companies that I’ve seen are the ones who build a strong bridge between their blogs and the rest of their social channels, allowing them to feed off each other. Blogs have incredible SEO potential and are a convenient gateway to corporate websites as they can house numerous customer or follower resources, testimonials, news, etc. But despite the clear value of blogs, this shift makes sense. 2009 – 2010 marked the surge of the content marketing and inbound marketing philosophies into their Golden Age. Companies rightfully jumped on board to claim a piece of inbound pie and suddenly the blogging space got really noisy. When things get noisy, you have to be that much better in order to stay ahead of the pack.What this study shows is that the less competitive companies are being weeded out of the blogging game. It was inevitable that some would fail at delivering the goods, building a good bridge between their channels, and captivating their audience. They’re moving on to a different section of the social spectrum either because they simply don’t get blogging or, more likely, need to find something that is a better fit for the resources they have to work with. After all, blogging can take a lot of time and energy before dividends become patently visible. But make no mistake, when it comes to companies that are continuing to blog, they’re only ramping up their efforts as those that flee make more room. If you’re jumping off the blogging bandwagon, I wish you luck and success. But if you’re staying on, I hope you’re as encouraged as I am.