While some predict a decline in the popularity of blogging, their conclusion may well be all too hasty. Blogs are not dying – they are morphing and merging with other communication tools.
Blogs are evolving. First created at the turn of the 20th and 21st century, they saw their popularity peak in 2005-2008. Even in the early days, blogs portended a communication revolution that culminated with the rise of social media. While early blogs were all about personal emotional content, in time, this new medium attracted marketers who saw it as an effective way to achieve business and image goals.
A multifunctional and flexible communication tool
Today’s blogs play many roles, often becoming an important part of integrated, comprehensive marketing communication. They can build the reputations of brands and people and help resolve crises. They make excellent, low-budget tools to support sales and product promotions. A blog entry can be fully independent of an institution or company, thus promoting its author, be it specialist, entrepreneur or politician. Blog content can also be made to dovetail snugly with a patchwork of other corporate messages. Hence its presence on many company websites, usually right next to tabs featuring official press releases.
The art of dialogue
Blogs have proven their usefulness in connecting businesses and the consumers who search for more accurate information about companies and their services. For many years, customers and stakeholders alike have been limited to traditional media that processed the materials supplied by PR teams. Blogs changed this by cutting out the middle men. They enabled the customers to contact the brand or company more directly, replacing one-way communication with dialogue. The famous contemporary marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk once said: “A blog entry is not just a piece of writing. It is a human element in communication and an opportunity to start a real conversation.”
In the age of blogs and social media, companies no longer “broadcast” to people. One-way communication reminiscent of old-style media such as the printed press and television has been replaced with an exchange between partners and a conversation that involves all the concerned parties. The resulting benefits are significant for marketing. The feedback contained in blog reader comments offers marketers a treasure trove of information. The expectations of blog readers expressed in their comments are a start for valuable insights and analyses.
The blog grows stronger
The blog now faces new competition on the effective communication scene, coming in the form of Twitter and Facebook, both of which offer valuable new features to marketers. Advances in content publishing and distribution are ever faster. New tools help create lasting relationships with customers and steadily increase readerships. Concise social media posts are even more effective for analyzing customer preferences. All these advantages of social media have led some people to consider blogging an archaic form of marketing communication. However, there is much evidence to suggest that they are mistaken.
Blogs work well with other tools
Professional bloggers are clearly aware of this new situation. Their response
is to integrate their blog content with other tools – applications, mailboxes
and Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. This helps strengthen the
influence of blog content. These additional content distribution tools ensure greater
readership. The saying that “content is king but distribution is queen” perfectly
applies to blogging. As a professional form of publication, blogs only reveal their
advantages when they are properly distributed.
Blog as an idea for success
The modern blog can no longer be viewed as a mere supplement to mainstream media or, in the world of corporate communications, a complement to press releases. It has grown independent and is often the primary source of information for its readers. Through their patience and dedication, opinion-making bloggers have earned themselves the status of opinion leaders. It is not just that they think it is appropriate to make a difference with their writing. Many of their blogs have become the main knowledge source on events in politics, culture, technology and marketing. A number of blog entries turn out to be the start of bloggers’ first book publications that ultimately turn their lives around. A case in point is the rise of the blog “How to Save Money”. After a few years online, it gathered a faithful audience, helping the author make his name and becoming a valued source of advice on saving and investing. This shows how you can keep and develop a personal blog and promote its content using other tools, such as pithy newsletters. The blog in question has promoted its author helping him to effectively publish two books that built on the blog itself.
There are a number of basic situations in which a blog works great as a medium. Every communications expert should appreciate its basic functions.
Blog your way out of a crisis
The blog allows 24/7 contact with the reader, which is crucial for efficient crisis communication. In emergency situations, posts can be published faster and more accurately, describing current developments in the company. For instance, a company fending off a hack attack can post regular updates on its blog to manage its customers’ morale, maintain their sense of security and, of course, protect its own image.
Personalize your company message
Use your blog to personalize your message. A series of regular blog entries can do wonders for how an anonymous organization is perceived. By using a relaxed tone and showing that the company is made up of “people like yourself”, you can secure a huge image boost.
Keep your blog posts coming regularly. Many blogs are done in by the lack of time discipline on the part of their authors. Remember that no blog will ever grow popular all by itself. Integrate its content with social media posts. Set up a newsletter to remind people that the blog is still alive. Do not be afraid to experiment with photos and videos. They are proven to be a powerful way to appeal to readers.
By keeping a blog, you can develop your personal brand, express yourself individually and establish a closer connection with your customers. I am confident that all these functions will keep blogs fresh as a communications tool well into the foreseeable future. So, don’t hesitate and keep on bloggin’!
- Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a ruse?
- The future of PR. Technology teaches people to speak anew
- Eight fundamental mistakes to avoid in PR
- A 7-point summary of the year 2018 in the world of communication