According to a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth report, corporate blogging appears to be on the decline. Of the companies they surveyed, only 37 percent were blogging in 2011. That’s down from 50 percent in 2010. If you look only at Fortune 500 companies, the percentage drops to 23 percent (via www.marketingpilgrim.com).
But do these numbers tell a different story? Are corporate blogs falling out of favor, or are weak marketers simply abandoning poorly planned blogging efforts for other poorly executed marketing schemes?
As a ghost blogger for a half dozen corporate blog sites, I suggest another way to look at these numbers is that while the second-tier, ad-hoc marketers jump from one “flavor of the day” marketing tactic to another, savvy, successful corporations have found a way (using professional writers) to maintain their blogs and leverage their SEO power (see Reasons Why B2B Companies Should Blog). These companies have given themselves a significant advantage over their rivals who don’t follow through on marketing efforts, not the least of which are their blogs. Those companies that start and stop a blog project–after quickly running out of post ideas as the survey suggests–have effectively wasted the resources they put toward that effort.
The same type of thing happened in the 90s when corporate billboard Web sites were being built, at great cost, without much forethought. These sites were later abandoned as hopeless and rebuilt using a more sustainable model with the rise of Web 2.0.
In 2012, I’ve seen a dramatic uptick in the number of companies committing significant resources toward what I call “the brand as publisher” communications model. Their blogs stand foursquare at the center of this strategy.