Last year, I attended a small business exhibition in my home city of Milton Keynes to distribute leaflets on the benefits of blogging for businesses. I’d hoped it would be a new area in which I could differentiate myself and ride the crest of the wave of the revolution in business communication.
Unfortunately, my attempts to extol the virtues of posting articles once a week were met with glazed eyes and furrowed brows, before I’d even mentioned RSS. Suffice to say, I left the exhibition with few new leads and a hundred or so leaflets that are still gathering dust in a drawer.
Well, a year on it would appear that UK businesses have now started taking blogging seriously, and it’s growing on a rapid scale.
50% had undertaken blogging in some form and of those nearly 90% said it had generated new business.
Other findings included:
- 64% of UK corporate blogs have been launched in the last 6 months
- 66% of managers in the survey have visited blogs in the last 12 months
- 80% of blog users visit blogs during working hours
- 33% of blog visitors will access a blog on a daily basis
- Amongst purchase decision makers, blogs were second best source for influencing buying decisions, after industry reports
Inferno MD Grant Currie commented:
“The research shows that blogging in the UK is fast becoming a serious business tool…UK companies are now beginning to adopt blogging as part of their business strategy and those that have done so are pointing to specific business success and opportunity being created. It seems the hype is over and the real business of blogging is on its way.”
Whilst the findings are very positive, many businesses still need to learn that they need to be providing useful content of value, and not using blogs as a direct sales tool. The survey found that any business creation was because of greater engagement and relationship building, not one way marketing messages.
Grant Currie said:
“Businesses shouldn?t view a blog as another billboard from which to shout their corporate messages. Starting a blog is essentially starting a conversation and as in verbal communication, conversations have conventions, rules and boundaries. Those businesses in our survey who have derived new business opportunities from their blogs, will have found that these successes came indirectly from the blog, rather than directly. A blog is not the place to sell and businesses should get suitable advice before embarking on their blogs.”
One person who could give such advice is Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council in California.
In an interview on this week’s B2B Marketing Podcast (which I’d recommend anybody interested in the changing rules of marketing subscribes to) he discussed how there’s a sea change occurring in how marketing promotes products and services.
No longer is it just about peddling the feature, benefit story. But about building authority leadership and trust in how your products solve a customer’s particular need. You achieve this through your content, syndicated to third party sites as well as your own, and developing an ‘advocacy agenda’ for your products:
“Leadership starts off with creating an advocacy position that you know will help drive adoption and use of your solution. So before you get out there with the product sell, you’ve first got to paint a mural. You’ve got to provide a scenario situation.”
Donovan assessed that an effective, cohesive approach to marketing should be about:
“The whole notion of setup. The whole notion of enabling your channel and your sales organization to be provisioned with value selling content.”
Marketing officers now have a greater responsibility to push content publishing as a major part of their marketing mix, and not just pouring more funds into advertising and direct sales.
Marketing is about building trust and confidence through thought leadership and the provision of content of value. Exactly what an intelligent business blogging strategy should be all about.