Blogging: The Whipping Boy of Social Media

bloggingWhat is it about blogging that people don’t like?

It’s a question that came to mind after reading a USA Today article about how corporate blogging is on the decline, mostly because Facebook and Twitter are so much easier.

The article’s angle was based on a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth study, published earlier this year, suggesting the percentage of companies that had blogs fell to 37% in 2011 from 50% in 2010.

The study attracted a lot of attention but if you scratch beneath the surface, there are flaws that call into question whether it’s accurate or reflective of the overall corporate landscape.

It goes on to quote several corporate spokespeople about why they don’t blog or dropped their blog. But the coup de grace is a quote from Lou Hoffman, the CEO of the Hoffman Agency, who said many “corporate blogs fail to attract readers because they exist solely to pitch products and are badly written.” It there was an obvious statement, this is it.

Here’s the thing about blogs: They are challenging to do, they’re time-consuming and require people who have a good combination of good writing skills and creativity.

The upside is they can deliver a variety of content that can engage, entertain and/or educate existing or potential customers. This content doesn’t necessarily have to be all about the company and its product to do the job.

As well, a blog is a corporate assets, not an account “leased” from another company such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube or LinkedIn. A company controls and manages its blog, and no one can change the rules or the look and feel at any time.

In a recent blog post, Mitch Joel made an excellent point that while blogs may not be easy, Twitter and Facebook aren’t easy either. Mitch said, for example, that tweeting, listening, engaging, following people and getting followers take a lot of time and effort.

At the end of the day, any social media activity requires a commitment of time and resources.

There are two important considerations when it comes to social media:”

1. It not which service is easier but which one will do the best job of letting you tell stories that resonate to target audiences.

2. The key being successful (however you want to define success) is using the tools as effectively, efficiently and creativity as possible.

In other words, it’s the tactical execution that determines whether a blog, Twitter or Facebook will hit the mark, irregardless of the time or effort involved.

  • Mark,

    I like the way you crystalized the value proposition–

    “… a blog is a corporate asset.”

    If you cultivate a blog property the right way, the company eventually gains a another credible channel (owned media) to communicate to the outside world.

    I always think of Google announcing the decision to withdraw from China on its corporate blog (no news release) as a milestone in this regard.

  • Mark Evans

    Lou: Your point about why blogs fail is bang on. It is still interesting to find corporate blogs that embrace the “all about me, all the time” mantra. Thanks for the comment. Mark

  • Mark-
    Your point about the company blog not being ‘leased’ is right on. The recent Facebook business page changes provide a great example. So many of us had invested in a strategy where we could design and designate a ‘landing tab’ to greet new Facebook visitors. Practically overnight it was gone. Apparently it didn’t suit Facebook’s purposes.

    There’s also the matter of ads, which Facebook (and to some extent Twitter) place alongside your content so that THEY can make money. At the end of a day, that’s what Facebook and Twitter accounts must do: make money for Facebook and Twitter. Not you.

    And since when did it become okay to make decisions based strictly on what was easiest?