Less and less of the Inc. 500 are Blogging. Blogging is dying.
ReadWriteWeb's post, Blogging Declines Across the Inc. 500, was bound for linkbait heaven. Who doesn't love dumping on a once popular platform - especially when it looks like it is being abandoned by corporate America and the bigger brands? According to the Blog post, "A new longitudinal study at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth focusing on the online activities of the Inc. 500 has found a huge drop in the number of companies maintaining corporate blogs over the past year. The UMass researchers, under the direction of Nora Barnes, has been following this group for several years. Only 37% of those interviewed had a corporate blog last year, down from half of those interviewed in 2010."
Blogging is hard work. Blogging isn't for everyone.
I'm surprised that it took this long to see the decline in Blogging. The truth is that Blogging is a form of publishing and brands are traditionally not all that great when it comes to creating unique, compelling and frequently updated content. The nature of Blogging speeds this up as both frequency (how often you Blog) and micro-interactions (which happens via the back and forth of Blog comments) can be both time consuming and complex. In a world where Facebook, Twitter and YouTube blossomed, it seems obvious that brands would bail on Blogging for something that required less work... in a world where people were spending less and less time consuming this type of content and became more interested in shorter spurts (140 characters of less) and more snappy/quick content in the form of Facebook wall posts or online videos (which doesn't require so much back and forth).
Blogging works for the brands that want to make it work.
You won't see the people at Mashable or The Huffington Post worry too much about this news item because they know the dirty, little secret of Blogging: it's just a publishing platform. It's the content you put into it, how it resonates with an audience and the community that you can build from it that counts. There are many brands (the Twist Image one included) that are seeing nothing but growth and more engagement from their Blogs. This pruning of corporate American Blogs is probably the best thing to happen to Blogging in a long time. Perhaps all of those vapid and narcissistic attempts to convince unsuspecting consumers that their corporate Blog was authentic - when in reality it was either overtly or thinly-veiled marketing pap - will, hopefully, make way for more authentic voices and opinions to rise.
Blogging is not dead.
Blogging is only dead if you're a brand trying to use a Blog as an extension of your advertising or as a way to attempt to control your corporate messaging by using it to humanize the tone. For the rest of us, a Blog is freedom of expression. It's a place where people (and yes, this includes the people who make up the brand) share, engage and connect with one another. I'm not jaded (or stupid). I know that people would much prefer to tweet or update a Facebook page or record a quick video on YouTube (it's easier to create and easier to consume), but not all content is created equal and there are many different audiences for all of this content inequity. Blogging is not dead. Blogging is just a lot of hard work and you have to know what the vision and strategy is at the outset. The reason that most of these Inc. 500 brands have killed their Blog is more likely connected to a lack of vision and conversion model than the popularity of a Social Media platform.
Is Blogging dead or are useless Blogs dying?