Is the corporate blog dead, thanks to social media channels?
With all the current hubbub and mindshare about social media, such as the current darling Google Plus, you could be forgiven for thinking that the importance of a company having an interesting, regularly-updated blog has diminished.
Well, according to inbound marketing software developers HubSpot, a corporate blog still plays an important (and growing) part in an organization’s online lead-generation strategy.
What’s perhaps the least surprising thing about their State Of Inbound Marketing report is the growth in using social media channels as part of a company’s online marketing efforts. But what’s interesting to note is that companies still see blogs as being a key component.
You can download the report here (it’s free, so you have no excuse not to read it). Here are a few interesting findings:
- If your company doesn’t have a blog, you are now in the minority: 65% of the surveyed companies had a blog (up from 48% two years ago).
- Most of the companies surveyed (71%) blog at least once every week – and there’s a clear reason for that: The report shows a direct relationship between frequency of blog posts and acquiring new customers.
- 57% of the companies have acquired customers as a direct result of sales leads generated from their blog.
- Companies are becoming more and more aware of the value of their blog. 85% rated their blogs as either “useful”, “important” or “critical”. A full 27% of the companies interviewed rated their blogs are being “critical”.
- Paid Search (e.g. Google AdWords) has overtaken tradeshows, telemarketing and direct mail in terms of importance in the minds of most of the companies that were polled.
To summarize, it seems clear that inbound marketing efforts (i.e. where you ‘pull’ prospects towards your business by giving them information and content that they find interesting) continue to capture a greater proportion of a company’s overall marketing budget.
This may be because more and more companies have seen the light with regards to social media, blogs and so on. Or perhaps it’s the lower customer acquisition costs (62% lower, according to the report) when compared to outbound marketing initiatives (where companies ‘push’ their message to their audiences using tradeshows, advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, and so on).
Social Media In Preference To A Corporate BlogFrom my own experience, I would estimate that more than 80% of the companies who contact us to help them with their marketing don’t have a blog, even though they may already be dabbling in other inbound marketing tactics such as social media. Often, companies have already set-up a Twitter and/or Facebook account because “everyone else is doing it” rather than as a result of any particular marketing strategy. While it’s great to see that they’re embracing social media, the problem is that most are using it ineffectively.
From a marketing perspective, a corporate blog can be considered as your online hub. It’s your digital basecamp where everything else that you do ultimately points to, allowing you to develop and self-host all of your customer engagement content. Unlike social media channels your blog is 100% yours, to design however you like and populate with whatever content you see fit. You’re in total control, even if (as you should be) you’re using social media channels to get people to go there.
Social media, in contrast, relegates your carefully-crafted content to being little more than a subset of someone else’s brand. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something that sits very well with me.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the corporate blog have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, social media channels are about being where your customers are. But there’s nothing stopping you bringing them back to your place afterwards…