For the last couple of weeks, my RSS reader has been serving up an unusually high number of posts reporting the death of blogging. Many of the posts were published in response to PR guru Steve Rubel’s announcement that he was shutting down his well-known blog in favor of lifestreaming on Posterous. Rubel’s decision ignited a blog-to-blog debate that includes commentary from prominent players like Problogger Darren Rowse, Louis Gray, Jeremiah Owyang, Robert Scoble, and Brian Clark of Copyblogger.
Having read all these opinions, I tend to agree with the majority who state that blogging is far from dead. This group believes that a blog should be considered a home base of sorts while all the other social channels (Posterous, twitter, facebook, Digg, etc) should be considered peripheral or, as Chris Brogan calls them, “outposts.”
But what does it mean to me …
In the context of B2B marketing, I found Mack Collier’s post on the topic to be the most insightful and “on the money.” He counsels companies to “ignore social media early adopters”and goes on to explain that all the people pontificating on this subject are “bleeding edge” players who have an entirely different perspective than most companies and – more importantly – their potential customers.
In my very humble opinion, I think that blogs have a long way to go before they are truly mainstream in terms of both social and business application. In other words, there is still a lot of potential opportunity to take advantage of these tools to improve your marketing efforts. Although most B2B companies consider the corporate Web site “home base,” I would argue that it is the “identity” home base while a company blog is the “conversation” home base. A Web site allows you to display your wares and possibly collect some user information or enewsletter subscriptions. A blog allows you to engage with your customers and potential customers in an entirely different way – sharing stories, ideas, issues, and solutions.
… and what’s in it for my company?
- Credibility and a shot at thought leadership: A blog provides a very flexible, visible, and immediate way to establish expertise, contribute to industry-wide conversations, and promote news and other updates. The on-demand nature of blog “publishing” allows you to stay on top of current trends and discussions – helping cultivate the perception that your company is both “in the know” and “on the move.”
- Customer conversations: Through blog comments, you can engage in direct dialog with customers and prospects.
- Customer insights: Blog conversations often lead to genuine customer insightst that can be leveraged in other areas of your marketing efforts.
- Customer loyalty: Blogs often serve as a launching pad for deeper customer relationships.
(For more great ideas on how to use a corporate blog, check out Chris Brogan’s post on strategic blogging tactics.)
Those are some of the reasons I think the blog is still alive and kicking – it’s a multi-purpose marketing tool with a relatively low cost-of-entry and an ever-evolving list of benefits. When it works for your particular business situation, it’s a win-win-win.
What do you think?