UMass Social Media Update – Blogging Dead?

6
Feb

The Deep Ripples team has been in the trenches as the marketing world has transcended online. For our clients, it is critical for us to stay up to speed on new tools, new platforms and new mediums. There were times when certain mediums (not naming names – cough – cough – Digg) were a high priority, but as time goes on, competition increases and algorithms change – consumer behaviors evolve and marketing strategies have no choice but to adapt. Our advice – do not abandon mediums, instead – find the perfect mix.

We are in a marketing age where you must combine traditional marketing with the ever-changing digital and social media environments to help your clients gain attention, stimulate engagement and maintain relationships. There are always new studies to interpret and experts declaring the “one” way that will attract the most customers.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has recently released its 2011 Social Media Update that reports consumers are using corporate blogs less and social media networking sites more to interact with their favorite brands. UMass has been tracking the use of social media among Inc. 500 privately-held companies for the past five years.

While this is a pretty graphic showing interesting statistics – I wouldn’t suggest marketing directors propose the cancellation of the corporate blog any time soon. It is a bit of a stretch to assume that these numbers reflect best practices for what “profitable” and “successful” companies do. I think there are many contributing factors that affect why corporate blogging has plateaued.

Corporate Blogging Requires Planning

I won’t go as far to say that corporations have tried to take the easy way out. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. Many corporations launch a blog without a plan.

Contributing Factors to the Corporate Blogging Decline

**Disclaimer – True for somecorporations – not all**

Research

The corporations that participated may not have researched their audience with blogging in mind – Who are they? Where do they spend their time online? How often are they on social sites? Do they subscribe to blogs?

Project Manager

They may not have had a dedicated person to manage the blog. They may have put a junior level account executive or an intern in the role as blog project manager.

Human-Powered

They did not utilize their greatest asset – their employees. They did not get to know who they are – who enjoys writing? Who keeps a journal? Who is so passionate about their career they are one of your greatest brand ambassadors when they are not at work?

Editorial Calendar

These corporations may not have implemented an editorial calendar/schedule. So, the junior account executive doesn’t have an approved plan to hold contributors accountable for missing deadlines. Nor can a corporation train readers when to expect to receive communication.

SEO & PR Opportunities

They did not understand the SEO opportunities that a blog can provide; the concept of Inbound Marketing and how it is essential to their online marketing success. The blog is an extension of your online (and offline) brand reputation. These corporations may have thought that all they had to do is buy articles and “have” a blog. Instead – they should be sincere and use every post as a way to position each author as a thought leader in his or her area of expertise.

Blogging Requires Commitment

Social media is not replacing corporate blogging. Blogging is not dead. You can post a catch phrase on Facebook and Twitter and conjure up a lot of attention. But, then what happens? It should be seen as a hook – get someone’s attention and then provide them with the meat and potatoes of ‘who you are’, ‘what you do’, ‘how you do it’ and most importantly – ‘why you do what you do.’

In honor of Valentine’s Day – let me explain the online courtships between a company and its customers in a way we can all undertand.

To put blogging in traditional marketing terms – it’s NOT similar to a billboard campaign creation. A blog does not just get created and launched only to sit in the same place, with the same message, for six months without being updated. Blogging is more like a guerrilla marketing campaign where your team hits the streets to speak with everyone they can find. You approach each person with your catchy phrase, get their attention and then have a real conversation.

Moving forward – remember that there just isn’t one medium or tactic where you can spend all your time and receive instant or even long-term results. Diversify your marketing efforts among the new and old ways of marketing and communications. Blogging takes time and resources to pull off successfully. Before you launch – have a plan. Before you launch – make a commitment.

What do you think? What other contributing factors may have added to why more corporations haven’t continued blogging?

*Photo credit (photo used in graphic): bizior photography*


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