In 2010, about 50 percent of all Fortune 500 companies maintained a blog on their company website. But the times, they are a’changin’. According to a study fielded by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, this number has dropped to just 37%. Some of this defection is being attributed to the rising popularity of social media channels like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. The same study indicated that 74 percent of these companies have a Facebook page and 64 percent are active on Twitter.
It seems that even digital agencies are beginning to 86 their blogs. “Nobody reads agency blogs,” argues Sam Weston, director of communications at the digital agency Huge. “We put ours on hiatus while we figure out what we want to do with it.”
So is it time for your business site to drop its blog? Well, there are pros and cons. We’ll start with the cons.
- • Maintaining a Blog is a Giant Pain– Finding relevant content eats up bandwidth. In an economy with narrow margins and reduced head counts, blog posts have to be written by staffers with other, more pressing responsibilities. A company that aims to post a weekly or daily blog, oftentimes looks up to discovered they haven’t posted anything since last Christmas. Make that Christmas before last.
- • Blogs Take Time– A business can send a 140-character tweet in about two minutes. Writing a blog is like homework. It takes too long and there’s all that nasty grammar stuff to worry about. Or is it about which to worry?
- • Nobody Reads Them– No matter how clever, relevant or earth-shattering the content, it seems nobody bothers to read your blog posts. Bummer.
- • Blogs are Old-fashioned– All the cool companies are doing Pinterest and Vine. Blogs are so 2001.
But, not so fast! Blogs still have their good points.
- • Industry Insights Rarely Fit in 140 Characters– Twitter is great. It’s perfect for sharing fortune-cookie sized insights like “Kindness is its own reward” and “A girl’s gotta have her #Starbucks! LOL!!” It’s also a great means for linking followers to awesome online articles. That is why somebody needs to be writing these awesome online articles.
- • Blogs Show Thought Leadership– When your company website maintains a blog, a visitor sees you to be more than a manufacturer of widgets. You are a company grappling with matters like global sustainability. You are a business that is developing a consumer-centric model. You have thoughts about industry reform. Suddenly, your brand begins to separate from the pack. Bottom line, blogging shows leadership. Pinning on Pinterest only shows followership.
- • Blogs Add SEO Buoyancy– Google and Bing reward fresh, relevant content. For most business websites, no matter how well optimized, receive very little fresh content from week to week. Blog posts are the perfect way to deliver regular relevant content to the site. All of which creates natural website SEO buoyancy in a category search. Remember, the search bots are reading your blogs even if no one else is.
- • Blog Posts Can Do Double Duty– If your business sends out a regular newsletter, blog posts are a great source of content. It can help you put together a new issue in minutes rather than days.
- • Blogging Makes You More Articulate– Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are great forums for developing snappy repartee, quick comebacks and withering zingers. However, the process of writing blogs can actually make you a more articulate communicator. By distilling thoughts into clear logical points through the writing process, you actually may find yourself making more sense in the boardroom and on sales calls.
Sure, blogging isn’t the newest toy in the social media toy box, but, then again, blogging was never supposed to be kept in a toy box. Tools––especially those that really work––should be put in the toolbox. Think of your blog as the hammer in your social media tool chest. It may not be the shiniest instrument in the box. But, it has been demonstrated, time and time again, to do the best job of hitting the nail on the head.