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Don’t get bogged down in blog town!

With reports recently surfacing that more companies are turning their backs on blogs, in favour of Facebook and Twitter for their ability to quickly relay messages to core markets and worldwide audiences – HROC PR looks at the likely reasons companies are dropping blogs, why it’s a bad idea and how not to get bogged down in blog town!

Why are companies giving blogs the cold shoulder?

Reports have indicated that one of the main causes for companies not wanting to maintain a regular blog is the perception (misguided as it is) that blogging is a lengthy process, involving finding an appropriate subject, researching it extensively and then writing a blog about it. Most companies don’t want to give up that much of an employee’s time for something they have little ability to quantify.

With the emergence of Twitter so too came micro blogging – the ability to blog without the fuss of writing a full post. This is great in theory and can be used as a quick hit way to target key demographics without taking too much time. So it’s understandable that companies are favouring Twitter and other social media channels over blogs, right? Er, wrong!

Twitter and Facebook may be the premier forms of engaging through social media, but the problem with these platforms is distinguishing a single voice or opinion against a sea of noise – and sometimes with the extra challenge of doing so with a limited number of characters.

By having a blog to fall back on, you have three ways of having your opinion heard (throw YouTube into the mix and you have four), which not only results in establishing yourself within the framework of a conversation but also drives traffic to your site.

But blogging does not have to be long winded – in fact, the average blog reader only stays on page for an average 96 seconds, so it’s better that your blog is concise and shows a succinct argument that in some way asserts a positive opinion of your company to the reader.

Why Blog?

Where blogs differ from other social media channels is that they have the unique advantage of positioning a company at the forefront of an issue within their field.

The blogs you will find on our website are about creative, digital, PR and advertising issues because it’s what we know and do day in day out. By having an engaging opinion on something you stand out from the crowd and blogs allow you to convey this better, and in more detail, than some other channels.

Twitter and Facebook are great for quick messages but should always link back to a blog, website or some other anchor, and be used as a secondary method of spreading news as opposed to the primary.

Don’t get me wrong, blogs are not easy to maintain. We do it for a number of our clients and it can be hard work, but one of the primary reasons that companies cease blogging is because they underestimate the time blogs do take and set unrealistic blogging calendars, whilst overthinking their posts.

A blog post once or twice a month is more than enough to get you noticed by search engines along with your key audience and the sooner you realise you are not writing ‘War and Peace’ the better your ability to blog will be.

Blogging helps SEO

It’s true!

The more a company can update their blogs, the more search engines will take note of the constantly updated content and rank you higher in searches.

By effectively using Twitter and Facebook to promote blogs you can help build the mentions of your company on search engines but this alone is not enough.

Once the post is written and uploaded you need to spend some time developing relations with the blogging community by commenting on other articles that relate to your subject matter. This is in the hope that those you comment on will then link to your blog (if they like the content) and help promote it. This link building is one of the most important aspects of increasing SEO and fundamental to good blogging – more links equals more mentions which in turn equals better rankings.

Better search engine rankings can mean the difference between page one of Google and page two – incidentally, studies have shown that 94% of internet searches click a first page result with less than 6% making it to the second page. Something to consider before you pull the plug on your blog!

Final thoughts (in the guise of Jerry Springer)

Blogging is a vital (and mostly free) tool for companies to assert their position on key industry issues, share news stories about their company (in particular growth etc) and generally raise awareness.

Blogs should be over 250 words and less than 1000 words (250 to register as new content with search engines and less than 1000 so readers don’t doze off mid way through).  While the temptation is to use Facebook and Twitter only, by eliminating blogs you lose the use of one of the most influential platforms for generating awareness of your company…effectively cutting off your corporate nose off to spite your face.

Take care of yourself and each other!