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Gini Dietrich

Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough?

By: Gini Dietrich | April 25, 2012 | 
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When I speak to CEO organizations, I typically run through a series of quick slides that show where technology is right at this moment.

For instance: There were 107 trillion emails sent last year, Facebook is at more than 900 million users, Pinterest is closing in on 15 million users, and there are three billion videos streamed on YouTube every day.

I do this to show how many people are using the web, to preempt the “My customer doesn’t use the Internet” conversation (yes, I still hear that).

But the stat I want to talk about today is the number of blogs on the Internet. According to Technorati, there are 158 million blogs floating around, which is partly why I’m so surprised to keep reading that blogging is dead.

I get it. It’s not an easy think to keep up. My guess is many people or companies say, “Let’s start a blog!” and then do nothing with it after a month or two because it’s so labor-intensive.

So, let’s say for argument’s sake, half of those blogs never see the light of day, either because they’re abandoned or no one reads them because they’re too self-promotional. That leaves us with 79 million blogs, which isn’t a small number.

USA Today reported this morning that more companies are abandoning their blogs in favor of Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Add to that, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth released a  study earlier this year that says the percentage of companies that maintain blogs fell to 37% in 2011 from 50% in 2010, based on its survey of 500 fast-growing companies listed by Inc. magazine. Only 23% of Fortune 500 companies maintained a blog in 2011, flat from a year ago after rising for several years.

So, I see. Based on Wall Street and fast-growth companies, blogging is down, and now it’s time to claim the whole blogosphere is dead.

Here’s the thing, though. Those companies aren’t blogging because it’s hard. It’s hard to generate good content even once a week. It’s hard to cultivate a community. It’s hard to grow traffic. It’s a thankless job most days. So people throw something up there that talks about how great the company is, if only to check off “blog today” from their check list.

And the blog fails.

Hubspot recently took a look at how blogging affects leads. They found, for companies that do blog, their monthly leads increased by 67% (for B2B) and 88% (for B2C). The survey goes on to show that updating it just once a week increases your leads by 77%.

So, here I sit in front of my pretty pink MacBook Air, wondering why more companies aren’t blogging. Yes, I know it’s hard. I know it’s time-intensive. I know you don’t have immediate gratification. I know you can’t think of anything of value to write. I know no one comments and you don’t see a spike in traffic.

I promise you all of that changes if you’re consistent, you provide good content, and you don’t sell.

Wouldn’t you rather do blogging the right way and generate leads than sit on the phone and make cold calls all day?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

153 comments
BelindaSummers
BelindaSummers

There's no way to say blogging is dead. Do agree with you Gini. It is not that you have contents on your blog even if everyday you have updated it. It doesn't end there. There are many things to consider before you get results with your blog. As they say content is King. Yes it is, as long as you produce quality contents, useful coupled with right practices -  BLogging will surely bring wonders to you.

ArleenH
ArleenH

I agree with you that blogging is not dead. Yes it is labor intensive, but it does pay all. Not everyone uses Facebook or Twitter in business. I think it is harder to attract users to your site if you are business and you use Facebook. Corporate clients will read a blog before going to Facebook. Facebook is more interactive to one's personal posts.

ThomasOutt
ThomasOutt

 @thomasoutt Beverly Sills said "There is no shortcut to success." That still applies, even to blogging.  Blogging seems so easy, but it is a lot of work.  Therein lies the rub. 

BSEindia
BSEindia

Blogging isn't easy it also require time and planning like you have to do for a business.

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

"It’s hard to generate good content even once a week" yet gurus teach to blog once or more a day everyday, probably because they want to kill the competition. Btw adding to that numbers the blogs opened everywhere in the world just to make money (which they don't) explains first why there are so many and second why so many close. So it's not always bad that many blogs close their doors.

 

Then for the theory that blogging is dead could be just a move to push FB, Twitter or Tumblr or where most of those "make money blogging" guys have moved. Or it's just sensationalism. ;)

CesLSU
CesLSU

Great and timely post.   After re-branding my company, I have started blogging over the last two months.  I am definitely trying to put up great content and not sell.   Mainly using a "case study" approach and providing food for thought.   And, you are correct, it is difficult to continuously post great content.   Insurance is not a sexy topic, but I'm trying!  :-)   Thanks Gini!

Tinu
Tinu

I'm not as consistent about my blogging as I could be. But I would never eliminate it from my strategy. That sounds insane to me. Whenever someone says "I closed my blog and I'm relying on Facebook, and Twitter instead." I hear "I closed my own store and hope that Walmart and Amazon will move my product and services for me."   

ChrisBradley
ChrisBradley

Nice post @ginidietrich ! Keeping content flowing is tough, but new tools and new tactics like curation are making it easier to stay relevant and informative, even on those occasions when ideas or time are running short. I think the bogosphere is definitely evolving with more migration to what you could call social blogging.

 

Faryna
Faryna

ROI is such a lovely word. But sometimes, quite deceptive. Especially when it's used as a platitude. [grin]

 

I have observed that the ROI of traditional paid advertising and marketing campaigns can be equally (or more) difficult to prove than paid and earned online campaigns. Sometimes, it depends on the business or industry. Sometimes, location or region.

 

There are ten thousand platitudes and then there are results.

 

There's no better bon mot than, I have seen with my own eyes. I'm sure you have too.

 

My favorite anecdote is 100s of millions of dollars spent on tv advertising with a global, super agency, glowing polls, surveys and imaginary that gush about the ROI, and then a five year industry member conclusion that sales had not increased one cent for all that spend.

 

Mission, situation, market, budget, goals, short term results, and long term results - these are the plain-spoken terms that dictate strategy. Whether or not a blog fits into your strategy requires individual reflection. But I find it difficult to believe a blog can't deliver strategic, long term value to industry leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Here's another view:

 

Spent a lot of this evening talking with someone on twitter on "mommy bloggers" after a local scandal (really bizarre stuff).  I asked who actually reads these blogs, and the response was that it's mostly other bloggers trying to get themselves notices via comments so that people will visit them, etc.  So the contention is that most blogging is nothing more than a sub-culture.

 

This makes sense to me, in large part because I never (and I do mean never) cross paths with any of the bloggers who talk about their personal lives (mommy or otherwise).  People on the 'net who are "real" and are interested in, say, good conversation come from a very different place - and are much harder to find.  Barataria has been around for 5 years and is now in a place where it has decent traffic - but is still soundly beaten by the online version of any newspaper, including the Bemidji Pioneer.

 

So if most blogging is just a sub-culture, it may well not be worth the time for most businesses.  They'd have to break out of the usual BS and find their real customers and not the wannabee reality show contestants who think "blogging" is about their own narcissistic shortcomings.

 

Something to think about.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Blogging has to be done well to be effective, and that information is severely lacking.  My gig (well, the best paying of the gigs I get) revolves around teaching people how to be as effective as possible with their time.  My biggest problem is the deep and wide culture of mis-information about what blogging is all about and how to use social media.  Most of my time is spent dispelling nonsense.  

 

The problem is that a lot of charlatans have polluted the field and convinced people that the social media / blogging world is narcissistic crap that takes insane amounts of time.  The people who have pushed this view are much louder than those of us who know what the Hell we are talking about - and tend to get the attention of legacy media such as teevee, etc.  

 

If done properly, blogging should not take that much time and can, indeed, be farmed out pretty cheaply if necessary.  It can and should be evaluated for its ROI, and my clients are all very happy on that score.  But far too many people have been ripped off and have a bad attitude for a very good reason.

Julie Barrett
Julie Barrett

It crosses my mind that those companies should outsource their blogging to actual bloggers who know how to do it, and then run with the leads.

rdopping
rdopping

Mmmmm......blogging. An introverted extroverts dream. I would think the biggest issue corps would have is the almighty acronym.....ROI. Gasp! Guess that's the stats you cited. Ahem, 77% is more than a passing grade to me. I have no idea. I'm still just a spec on the wall of the big bad blog world. Scary stats tho.

NancyCawleyJean
NancyCawleyJean

@hollisthomases Couldn't agree more! And now if I can just focus on doing some posts of my own. LOL! Thanks for the RT!

bdorman264
bdorman264

Just my luck; just about the time I get the hang of this thing, that damn horse dies right out from under me.......I have a face for blogging though, so I hope it sticks around.

 

Where I have fallen woefully short is not supporting @LanierUpshaw's blog enough. You would think my tired ass could at least do one post a month, right? I keep telling myself I will do a better job, but it's kind of hard to support them when it's all about me, huh? I don't want them horning in on my popularity........sheeesh.........

 

One thing I have found through blogging is, I really do like to write. It has opened some doors for me to meet some incredibly talented people so that can only make me better I suppose. 

 

I will not abandon Lanier's blog; going forward my commitment is to do at least one post a month. Of course, they might ask me to stop if the only thing I can write about is me so we'll have to see how that goes...........

 

Blogging is king, long live blogging..............

 

 

bdorman264
bdorman264

 @Erin F. I do have an accountability partner; but it's more production related and not writing, maybe I'll get them to keep me on task with the writing for the LUI blog......

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @bdorman264 How are you deciding on topics for the Lanier Upshaw blog? I know with that sort of thing I find it helpful to decide on a monthly topic. That's my two cents...Feel free to throw them into the nearest pond or fountain. :)

Latest blog post: Six Things Readers Need: Facts

bdorman264
bdorman264

 @Erin F. Because insurance can be so convoluted and mysterious at times, I'm always interested to convey a message but keeping it simple so the average joe can understand what the heck we are talking about. 

 

However, being a full lines agency and a with multitude of 'threats' to profitability for businesses; making the right hires for employee benefits; and proper insurance for all your toys, we have plenty of topics 'we' can touch on. My specialty is commercial property, liability, workers comp, cars, trucks but I 'know' stuff and can 'personalize' a message.

 

My next post will be about why insurance is actually a great career choice and we really need bright, young, sharp minds getting into the industry. Regardless of how the industry is perceived, EVERYBODY will buy insurance and there are a lot of 'people' parts that go along with that process, ie, many jobs available. 

 

Most young people don't consider 'insurance' as a career choice. I didn't until after my junior year in college. When I found out how many different type of jobs are available in this industry, it blew me away. 

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @bdorman264  @Erin F. and Insurance blog? Well I am going to create a Re-Insurance blog to insurance your poor judgement in insuring things like BP oil wells and the Rays against not making the playoffs.

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @bdorman264 I worked with an insurance broker for a while - as her blogger and e-letter person - so I have some idea of the range of topics. :) We sometimes tried to tie the topic into something having to do with the month. My favorite post was the one I wrote about life insurance for February. I played off the whole love languages thing.

Latest blog post: Six Things Readers Need: Facts

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @ginidietrich  @bdorman264 imagine having to suppress Bill's wit and self depreciating I mean deprecating humor for a blog. Seriously do you know what accountants find exciting? insurance.

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @bdorman264 Ha! It sounds as though some sort of schedule or accountability partner is in your future. :)

 

Do you know Mike Vardy's blog? He had a recent post about "time chunking." I like his phrasing for the concept.

jpeters1221
jpeters1221

Honestly, I find that when most people don't see immediate results, they tend to scale back and/or stop blogging all together. I also find that a lot of brands/companies/people who decide to utilize a blog...forget that they need content to put on that blog (and that it has to be interesting/relevant). 

 

Dead? Hardly. Just not used effectively all the time.

JoelFortner
JoelFortner

My observation is this just part of a larger trend.  Businesses excitedly jump on social, blogging and so on, get no noticeable results, lose excitement and eject.  A key reason is you're last sentence. They don't do it "right," and I'll add view it right.  We can't pressure individual ideas or tactics to seal the deal with target audiences, and I believe that's what so many people expect.  And it's why they're left disappointed.  It's hard to create effective, sustainable marketing funnels.  It's hard to create repeatable ways to generate leads. It's hard to delegate your marketing to an effective process so you can do other stuff like eat syrup or something.  The thing is it's worth the effort to figure it out because most won't. 

Robb_Wexler
Robb_Wexler

@cision @ginidietrich @SpinSucks Honestly? Most companies have precious few people who actually KNOW how to write.

kmueller62
kmueller62

@SSTunic @ginidietrich some will, some won't

econwriter5
econwriter5

What do blogging and newspaper have in common? The death knell has sounded yet they continue to live on.

JaroG4
JaroG4

@sacevero People really believe that? Im surprised, how is that true? Dont brands still try 2 reach bloggers more than traditional press?

Faryna
Faryna

You're on top of this, Gini.

 

Five years from now, there will be a whole lot of SSOFs about what a blog/online community can do to launch a business or make it great and sustainable. [grin] Digital Darwinism at work here...

 

The web savvy will continue to reap the competitive advantages and flourish as they have since before McKinseyites Hagel and Armstrong wrote Net Gain.

 

As others have pointed out in the comments here, nothing is easy. Building a community is not a quick and dirty job. It's a commitment. It requires investment, strategy, and the talent to execute. Most will see that level of commitment as a liability - especially those that lack vision, hutzpah, and entrepreneurial instinct. 

 

That's a good thing. Others will overtake them in their industry. New opportunities will go to those with fire in the belly.

doogsatx
doogsatx

@skypulsemedia @ginidietrich agreed 100%. Good content takes time, effort and/or $$$. Many co's try to do it on the cheap and fail

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Hi miss Gini,

 

Facebook? Twitter? Other social networks? In order to participate on any social platform, which includes a blog, it takes effort, thoughtfulness, human resource and a voice.

 

The only difference between a blog and other social networks is you OWN and CONTROL your blog, whereas all of the content (articles, opinions, etc.) you distribute on other social networks does not belong to you and all of that work and participation is building value for someone else’s brand/ company.

 

The only excuse for most corporations to not have a blog is their unwillingness to embrace new media, their fear of public opinion and their lack of ability to engage and build relationships directly with their customers and constituents.

 

They are stuck in broadcasting messages in order to initiate and build relationships with the marketplace; just like they've always done.

 

They don't see the value of it, otherwise more would be doing it.

 

There's a new generation growing up on this stuff. They will accept and expect nothing less from companies they spend their money with. The tide will change at some point in the future, and those who prepare and embrace new and effective ways to communicate with the marketplace will benefit big time.

 

That time is closer than they're prepared for.

 

Just my opinion of course : )

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @Mark_Harai I agree with your opinion. I just returned from a meeting where this was the topic of conversation. The older generation doesn't want to blog; the younger generation does. They can't agree on what content is included. So nothing gets done. And it's a crying shame.

rjfrasca
rjfrasca

I love this article Gini, and couldn't agree more. Companies not blogging are simply being lazy and will at some point inevitably start (or return to) blogging when they figure that out.

Latest blog post: Resume

ClayMorgan
ClayMorgan

I have a few thoughts on this topic.

 

First, quality blogging is tough. Developing original, engaging content takes real work and a real, honest-to-goodness investment. Folks don't realize it until they do it.

 

Some of the best blogs out there are hobbyist blogs. I'm a stamp collector and a friend has a stamp collecting blog. It appeals to a specialized audience. The blog is developed with the intense level of interest and passion of a guy who wants to share his stamp collection with the world...or at least the world of stamp collectors. His traffic and the level of engagement on the site would make folks envious.

 

Add to it your statistic of 158 million (or 79 million) blogs out there. That's a substantial number to "compete against."  But then think about the Spin Sucks blog. How many blogs are out there that try to deliver similar content? TONS!

 

Reading the Hubspot statistics, I have to wonder what they consider a "lead?"  This is an important definition.

 

It is critical to remember that the bottom line of business is....the bottom line. Therefore, a well-functioning business will want to know what its return is on its investment into any type of marketing - social media, blogging, PR, traditional advertising, digital advertising, etc.

 

This takes us to the problem.

*Does the social media/content marketing/blogging expert/consultant/employee understand how to reach the desired audience?

*What is a lead? If someone visits the blog, is that a lead?

*How does the blog tie into the overarching marketing strategy? What is its role and does corporate management understand this?

*Does the sm/content marketing/blogging expert/consultant/employee really understand how to use the blog to convert a reader to a hot lead to a customer?

 

The point is that I think there are too many "experts" who cannot accurately or clearly define blogging's role in a particular marketing campaign, set realistic expectations, and explain (much less demonstrate through actions) how blogging can ultimately improve the bottom line.

 

If this goes on long enough, at some point, people stop buying into it, which is a shame.

Latest blog post: Livefyre Conversation

rjfrasca
rjfrasca

@dreamingnyc Thanks for the RT. That was a great article, wasn't it? I totally agree - companies not blogging are simply lazy

DebbyBruck
DebbyBruck

Reading the statistics helps make the point about the Internet's impact on business. Those that can will, those that can't won't. ‏ @edjofrank 

CoolGuyGreg
CoolGuyGreg

@bobWP Not trying hard enough. My wife is still making money on her blog.

MarketingAshlie
MarketingAshlie

I could not agree more.  You hit the nail on the head with "So, I see. Based on Wall Street and fast-growth companies, blogging is down, and now it’s time to claim the whole blogosphere is dead."  And thanks for the chuckles. 

 

My coworker wrote a very similar post about the same article you might appreciate. http://www.919marketing.com/blog/digital-marketing/6-things-that-will-cause-your-blog-to-fail/

 

Blogging is effective. Blogging drives leads. Blogging is often the centerpiece of a masterful, integrated, long-term social media strategy. Evaluating the success of a blog after 1 month or even 12 months is like a dieter stepping on the scale hourly to check results. 

Communic8nHowe
Communic8nHowe

Bang on Gini! If blogs by businesses and nonprofits are failing or declining, it's not because the medium is faulty. It's because they don't understand how or why to blog. Likely they don't really understand how social media is different from traditional forms of communication that emphasized pushing information out rather than having a dialogue. When I see an organization's blog too often it doesn't say anything and what it does say is in the official corporate voice. They play it safe rather than saying something that people want to read and comment on.

 

Blogging is dead! Long live blogging!

maggielmcg
maggielmcg

The thing that I found ironic about that USA Today article is that you still need content to post on Facebook and Twitter. And unless you want to perpetually be sending your customers and potential customers to other sites, you want at least some of that content to be on your website. And to have enough dynamic content on your website that's interesting and engaging enough to power engagement on Facebook and Twitter, you pretty much need a blog! In fact, the main reason my org launched a blog was BECAUSE of the success we were having on Facebook and Twitter--we didn't have enough content to keep it going and that's why we started the blog. That was a year and a half ago and, while it is hard work, the blog is what has fueled the continued growth of our public social presences.

Anthony_Rodriguez
Anthony_Rodriguez

 @maggielmcg I was thinking that same thing. If your not creating the content yourself then you are probably sending people to places other than your business to keep people interested in your Twitter or Facebook stream. And wouldn't you rather people coming back to your business than to someone elses?

Trackbacks

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