State of Blogging
When I started blogging a little over 10 years ago, there were about 1.5 million blogs (Technorati). That’s about 1 million other people with no idea what they were doing – just like me.
Today, it’s hard to say how many blogs there are globally, but WordPress.com alone hosts 75.3 million blogs in over 120 different languages world-wide with 100,000 new blogs being created every day. In fact, WordPress.com blogs publish 40.5 million posts and 400 million people view 14.4 billion pages per month. (stats) That’s a lot of blogging!
Tumblr as a blog platform, has over 170 million blogs and nearly 76 billion posts published. You can continue this exercise with other blog hosting platforms like Google’s Blogger and Typepad too. And I’m not even mentioning the millions of blogs hosted on their own domains or blogs on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
Surely, many of these blogs are about cats, fashion, recipes and long forgotten ramblings from years gone by. With business blogs, content can range from keyword optimized product launch articles only a search engine could love, to re-posted content from 6 months ago to remarkable stories that connect in meaningful ways. Even so, blogging is not simply a domain for topical enthusiasts and lazy marketers.
While I’ve had my ups and downs with blogging, (who hasn’t?) I believe business blogging is alive and well. In fact, the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth‘s annual study of corporate blogs in 2013 reports the largest year over year increase of Fortune 500 corporate blogs that are publishing (34%) since they started tracking them in 2008.
Everybody’s blogging: From telecommunications to specialty food retailers, businesses large and small have found blogging to be an essential hub for their social media, content marketing, SEO and online public relations efforts. For some companies blogging has become more conversational and a platform to surface internal subject matter experts, aka “smart humans who do the work”. Last I checked, quite a few customers are human too, so they probably get along a little better with companies that blog in human. Just a thought.
Rather than thinking of blogging as a single, isolated activity, which most companies do, think of blogging as a hub with spokes. The hub is your deep repository of knowledge and useful information. The spokes are your networks, email lists and other channels of engagement and distribution. The blog is connected to those channels and vice versa. That’s the kind of business blog that is still thriving today.
Blogging is a content management system. Content can achieve any communications objective with any audience you want it to, from marketing for new customers, informing existing customers, attracting media coverage and recruiting new employees. Our blog in combination with offline and other online activities achieves all those business outcomes.
An investment of a different kind. I think it’s kind of interesting that in all the years I’ve been blogging, we’ve spent very little on advertising to market our company and have never had a dedicated sales person or employed a public relations firm. But there has been an investment. A formidable one in the form of over 1 million words about topics our target audience and community cares about. The payoff is virtually no cost of sale to attract major companies as clients and being cited by some of the most respected business publications for our expertise.
The current and future benefits of blogging are literally too numerous to list in a short post like this, but suffice it to say, it is by far the highest yield marketing and PR investment I’ve ever made.
What’s the Future of Blogging?
With the importance of content in search, social media and PR, blogging will continue to be an important way for businesses to produce conversational content outside of transaction-oriented online stores and corporate websites.
Rather than blogs being replaced by social networks or mobile content and apps, I think successful companies will be incorporating and integrating their blogs into social network and mobile activities. Blog content can be consumed with any device and for companies that want a destination on the web to curate their own Vines, Instagram images, and other types of mobile-created content, blogs are a great fit.
What do you think about the future of business blogging? Have social networks stolen blogging’s thunder? Or do you see them working together for years to come?