You’ve probably heard the news. According to findings released by UMass Dartmouth [hat tip RWW] the number of Inc. 500 companies maintaining corporate blogs has dropped for the first time since 2007. Did you hear that? IT DROPPED! According to Dartmouth’s research, just 37 percent of companies interviewed said they had a corporate blog, down from 50 percent in 2010.
So where are these fast-moving companies moving to? Shinier pastures, of course.
- 74 percent of companies are maintaining a Facebook page
- 73 percent are using LinkedIn.
- 64 percent are using Twitter
Naturally, much of the blogosphere took the headline of the UMass report and ran with it all the way to the linkbait bank.
Is blogging really plummeting? Probably not.
Is it declining slightly? Maybe. People have more options.
And if it is declining, let it. You hear me? Let your blog be the last blog standing because while sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may be effective and sexy all in their own right, they don’t hold a candle to the sexiness and superpowers possessed by your blog.
Don’t believe me?
Below are just ten things your BLOG can do that your FACEBOOK (or Twitter. Or LinkedIn. Or other social networking sites) cannot.
1. Stand as your social media hub
Regardless of what you do elsewhere in social media, your blog is your home base. It’s the hub of all your other social interaction because it’s the one place on the Web that you own, that you can control the context, and that you can use to get out your complete message. Yes, engage on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, and wherever else your audience is hanging out online. But when you’re done chatting with them on these satellite networks, make sure you’re directing them back to your blog to finish their transaction (even if it’s an information transaction) with you. All of your other activity should point back to the one social media portal your own – your corporate blog. If you’re not directing your social media relationships back here, you’re wasting your time.
2. Acts as a central knowledge repository
Your corporate blog gives you the opportunity to answer your customer’s most common questions, concerns, issues, fears, hopes, and dreams and then call on that information when someone else asks the same question three weeks later. It creates a central knowledge repository that you can direct people to – whether it’s to answer a question, show expertise, or give a client more insight into what you offer. Having this information on your site makes you a resource of knowledge and it gives prospective customers something to read and look at when they’re evaluating vendors, long before they ever call you or get in touch.
3. Gives you room to establish expertise
You know what’s really difficult to do? Have an intelligent, in-depth conversation on Twitter. Either you end up fragmenting your messages between five different tweets or you start typing like a tween, ignoring proper spelling and punctuation like it’s a Justin Bieber song. It’s not always easy to go in-depth on social channels, but your blog opens up that opportunity. You have all the room you need to dig into an issue from all different angles, share stories, give insight, and make your case.
4. Blogging improves how you speak to customers
Blogging is great practice for learning how to talk to your customers in THEIR language and in how to refer to your products/services the same way they do. It improves your communication skills with customers by re-introducing you to their language. That language you stopped using when you became such a skillful expert. It also keeps you forever exposed to their pain points, their issues, who they want to be like, what they’re looking for, etc. Once you know these things you can address them in your marketing to your customers. By being an SMB who blogs you become an SMB who understand how to communicate with the people they’re trying to reach.
5. Helps you reach a larger audience
There isn’t a week that goes by that a new friend I haven’t met yet emails me in response to someone in our community forwarded them a post we’ve written (thanks for that, BTW). It happens all the time and you probably wouldn’t expect it. But blog content is easily shareable. We share it on Twitter, we share it to the company intranet, we share it with friends who we think may find the information helpful. And when your blog content is shared, your audience increases. It helps to cast that net wider than it would naturally be on its own. Do people share Tweets and Facebook photos? Yeah, they do. But they don’t have the staying power that a full blog post does in terms of making an impact and creating trust.
6. Is something you own, control and have a say in
Let’s a play game for a second, yes?
Imagine you’re kind of a big deal. Got that picture ready? I’m sure you do. Okay, now because you’re a big deal, you have not only own a house in Santa Monica, CA but you rent a crash pad apartment in New York City. Now which one are you going to spend time renovating, getting attached to, and giving out the address for? If you’re smart, you’ll focus most of your energy on the house. Because you own the house and you know that someone won’t be coming out of the woodwork in six months to take it away from you. It’s the same thing when we’re talking about your blog and Facebook.
You own your blog. You do not own Facebook. So while it may be beneficial to your company to rent a Facebook presence, you absolutely need to build the infrastructure for your Forever Home. This is the place where you’ll be able to build a family, weather hard storms, and rearrange to your liking so that your guests are cozy. The other sites? Not so much. In a few months Facebook’s going to go public. Then what? You have no idea. But you do know what will happen to your blog in a few months because you’re the one steering the ship.
7. Contributes to additional search engine rankings
Why do so many SEOs and social media companies encourage businesses to create blogs? It’s not because we enjoy watching you pull your hair out trying to come up with at daily content. It’s because having a b log allows business owners to focus on creating keyword-rich content that attracts links, sharing and search engine rankings. You’re probably not going to get your Twitter account to rank for your industry’s money terms. However, through strategic content development, you can get your blog to rank for it. And in the battle of search dominance, that’s what matters when it comes to increasing conversions.
8. Gives you centralized content
You’re producing blog post. You’re creating photos. You’re putting together infographics. You’re make videos. You’re uploading presentations to SlideShare. Your brand is now associated with a virual menagerie of content. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had one central place where you could post about it all to make it findable to your customers?
Oh, wait? There is one central place. It’s called your blog. Use it.
9. Is a link magnet
When you say something smart on your blog, people are going to link to your site and talk about you. When you say something dumb on your blog, people are also going to link to your site and talk about you. These links then help increase your site’s overall authority, earn you higher rankings, and help people to find your site when they’re looking for the types of information that you offer. When you say something smart on Facebook, people are going to Like the status update. And then move on. Not nearly the same effect.
10. Is measureable
Your blog is attached to your analytics. That means if anyone does anything on your site, you’re going to know about it. You’re going to know where people are visitng your blog from, how they got there, who sent them there, how long they stayed, where they left, and a host of other information you can’t get from a social media site that you do not own. With data and metrics comes the opportunity to make improvements and work in the light instead of the pitch dark.
Is it true that corporate blogs are dying? I don’t believe so. But if they were. Awesome. Let everyone else leave. It just makes your voice and footprint louder.
About the Author
Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.