So, it's become trendy lately to write about how blogging may be dead, or at least on its way out the door. Leaving aside the slight irony of blog writing about why blogging is dead, this is a matter that, honestly, comes up year after year.
To the detractors, we say: hogwash. Blogging may not be the cool new kid on the block anymore, but it's far from dead. In fact, we say "blog or die" is still the name of the game.
A Few Facts
When we say "blog or die," it's because blogging still remains one of the most versatile and cost-effective tools in your online marketing toolbox. Here are a few statistics from a recent set of infographics from Hubspot:
81% of firms polled said that blogging is at least "useful" to their strategies, with fully 25% considering it "Critical."
57% percent report getting at least one customer due to their blogging.
26% percent of customers rated bloggers as having the most influence over their own buying decisions.
So, while it's true that social media is making in-roads as a method of online advertising, it's in no danger of wiping blogging off the map. It just illustrates that, as online marketing matures, there are going to be more tools developed that all have their place in a marketeer's toolbox.
Blogging As a Hub
So, why do we say "blog or die?" Because, fundamentally, your website is the hub for your business online. You might visualize your social media efforts as being satellite offices, or perhaps as embassies to various online groups. Only rarely will they make sales by themselves, unless you're in very specific fields that allow for direct buys through social media, such as the music industry.
For the most part, you put posts on Facebook or Twitter or Linked-In to lure people to your website to look more closely at what you have to offer.
Even though your blog may no longer be the first part of your organization that someone is exposed to online, it's still part of your central hub. People who are interested in what you have to offer will want to explore your website for more information. You still need to have that information there for them to peruse.
Blogging Allows In-Depth Coverage
We get it. People today have short attention spans and like the instant gratification of short social media posts. It's a fine format for sharing blurbs, one-liners, quick tidbits, questions, and George Takai's latest "lolcat" photos.
However, you still cannot truly advance an argument on social media. Many social sites of don't allow long-form content at all, and among those that do, the feature is hardly utilized by anyone. Facebook's "Notes" can emulate a blog, but in general, they're too long for the format and few people read them.
Business blogging allows you to go beyond "bumper sticker" bids for sales and to more fully express your ideas on subjects. You can't get ahead in business solely by appealing to those who only care about thoughts which can be expressed in thirty seconds or less. You need a format that allows you to explore thoughts in-depth, provoke meaningful discussions, and position yourself as a business that knows their stuff.
This is all far easier to achieve with a blog than with any social media outlet.
The Realistic Answer? Do Social AND Blog or Die.
Fundamentally, this should not be an either/or discussion, and I hope I haven't presented it that way. Don't get me wrong, social media has plenty of valid functions and can be a great tool for gaining leads. Ideally, both should be employed together, hand-in-hand, to get the best of both worlds.
So, going forward, how do you see this mix evolving in your business? More social, more blogging, or some of both?