We've been blogging since 2007. From backend dev tutorials, design theory, business ideas, general thoughts or just posts about daily life, you name it, we've written about it. But after so many years, what is the future of business blogging?
Take a moment and think about the last time you read a blog post. It may have been a while ago, or shortly before reading this one. Blogging is still a common method companies use to build relationships and develop brand awareness, with both current and prospective clients. And blogging platforms, WordPress in particular, is known for the ease in which it allows non-technically skilled users to add content to their site. With a little training, non-tech savvy personnel can update their website with minimal effort for maximum exposure.
But have we come to the stage where we should be looking at other ways to communicate with our audience?
Let’s look at the stats
It’s interesting to note that small companies with active blogs claim 126% more lead growth than those that don’t blog. And of that total, 81% of those companies consider their blogs useful, important or critical.
These businesses have good reason to believe that, as 60% of consumers have said they feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on their site; 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and 78% believe that the companies behind the content are interested in building good relationships with their customers.
But are standard blog posts enough to stand out in an increasingly busy web? Whilst long form content has been found to outperform shorter blog posts in terms of engagement, shorter social media posts (on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook) have become increasingly more attractive to some users. This may point to shorter attention spans of readers, but maybe content consumption is heading in a different direction entirely?
Should we be vlogging rather than blogging?
Things become interesting if we look at adding or using video when we blog. Brand engagement rose by 28% when people were exposed to both professional (and user generated) video.
98% of site visitors say they’ve watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service and 74% of those subsequently bought or signed up. Further, 70% of users say they have shared a brand’s video with a friend or on their own social media accounts.
Sometimes video is better
It makes sense that some content is better suited to be displayed as video rather than as written content. Take a talk from a conference for example – would you prefer to watch a recording or read a written transcript? The recording would probably be more interesting. This doesn’t mean that blogging is completely redundant, it means that this medium works better for this particular subject matter. It can also complement traditional blogging rather than replace it entirely; by embedding a video into a written blog you are adding variety and interest.
Sometimes written is better
There’s also an argument that a written blog allows a user to scan through content quickly, picking out information that may be relevant to them. Headings work really well in aiding users to do this. With videos, you don’t necessarily know which part of the video contains the information you require. Have you ever watched a tutorial video, jumping backwards and forwards to find the information you require? Other times have you given up entirely when it’s taking too long to find what you need and looked elsewhere? I know I have!
To answer the question, has the world of traditional blogging run its course? We’d say probably not. Given the ease in which technology such as WordPress allows businesses and publishers to write posts combining words, images, and videos – blogging platforms are able to offer readers more visual interest than ever before. We like to think vlogging will enhance rather that replace.
Although well-produced video can add to your costs (and you will have to decide whether you’ll get the necessary return) there’s nothing to say embedding content already available won’t have the same positive effect. And WordPress is well placed to allow users to do this easily.
A Twitter account can be useful, a YouTube channel may work well, but the first place a potential customer is still likely to look when investigating your business, is your company website. Which is why business blogging is here to stay.
As always our door is open if you want to discuss ideas about a new website project for your organisation. If like a lot of our clients you’re from the publishing sector, we have a new project coming soon. It’s called Standfirst – want to know more? We’re always happy to talk!