Guess What? Blogging is Hard Work

In its State of the Blogosphere report for 2008, Technorati provided the numbers that tell the tale.

  • Technorati tracks 133 million blogs
  • 74 million posted within the last 120 days
  • 1.5 million posted within the last 7 days
  • 900,000 posted within the last 24 hours

Notice the enormous gap between posting within 120 days and the last week – a cliff like fall of 72.5 million.  And that’s because one of the biggest untold secrets about blogging is this:

Blogging is hard work.

The New York Times wrote a story this week about the millions of abandoned blogs lying in cyberspace like Old West ghost towns (picture loose saloon doors banging in the desert wind).  But the Times took the tact that many bloggers stopped writing because they didn’t land book deals or generate enormous audiences.  That might be the case with a few bloggers, but most bloggers I know stop for the same reason: burn-out.

Blogging is difficult and time consuming.  Coming up with creative ideas and then putting those thoughts down in writing, publishing it, and promoting it takes a lot of time – and commitment.

(On a side note: The Times loves stories about social media failures – or at least its perception of a social media failures.)

There’s another statistic from Technorati’s report worth noting: Corporate blogs are only 12 percent of the blogs created.  Another study recently found that about 15 percent of the Fortune 500 maintain blogs.  The practice of corporate blogging has grown within the last 12 months, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.  The reason is because blogging remains a powerful tool for corporations to communicate directly with their their customers, partners, employees, investors and partners.

Corporations face many obstacles in creating a successful blog.  The biggest pain points are letting go of corporate messaging and coming to the realization that a blog isn’t a marketing channel.  But there’s been a shift.  Take Kaspersky Lab – a company that sells security software.  They created a blog called ThreatPost.  Kaspersky invested in hiring two former journalists to run the site independently covering security news on viruses, hacks, patches, etc.  The blog is lightly branded by Kaspersky and an effort to give its customers and potential customers useful information on all things security.

It’s an excellent strategy – expect to see more operations like ThreatPost (especially as more traditional publications scale back news gathering or simply go out of business).

The Kaspersky model is also an excellent way for a company to enjoy the benefits of blogging without draining valuable inside resources.  Because one of the biggest challenges facing any company that wants to blog is time and resources.  Here are three other considerations for companies before jumping into blogging:

1. Our marketing/PR team can blog in our spare time.

No you can’t.  There is no spare time in a busy marketing and public relations departments – whether you market cars, candy or candles.  There’s no doubt that creating a blog written by a team is a good way to spread the work around.  However, the best way to ensure steady content for your corporate blog is to create an editorial calendar with firm deadlines and to make sure that the blocks of time necessary to write blog posts have been inserted into the work schedules of that team.  You’ll only have the time if you make the time.

2. We can outsource blogging to our PR or marketing vendors

You can, but you probably won’t like the results.  Working with a PR agency to create a blogging strategy, create and design the blog and to become a social media consulting partner is a no brainer in this day and age.  Good PR agencies can also help spark ideas, manage your editorial process, train bloggers and help in some of the content creation.  They can also help you aggregate the content.

But the idea that you can successfully “outsource” all blog functions – especially the writing – to a third party is a recipe for failure (and, in fact, runs contrary to one of the greatest benefits of blogging – engagement with your audience).  The commitment to blogging should come from within.  Make sure your team – or your designated blogger – has the time and resources necessary to succeed.  Consider, in fact, adding a fulltime blogger (i.e. Social Media Director) to your staff like Kaspersky Lab did.

3. To save time most of our blog posts can be short commentary on news articles and posts from other blogs.

You can do this.  But what is the value to readers?  If your blog is simply an aggregation engine for content from other sites – then why are you blogging?  Why not create a Twitter news feed or a page instead?  Why would readers come to your blog for the opinions of other writers and experts?  The key to good blog content is adding value.  Use your blog to pass on insights, information, news and perspective on your industry that will be important to your customers.  If you aren’t willing to dedicate the time (and creativity) to creating thoughtful blog posts then maybe a corporate blog isn’t the right platform for your company.

But in the end you only need to remember one thing: Blogging is hard work.

If you acknowledge this reality and then proceed from that point, you’ll be that much closer to creating a successful corporate blog.

5 Responses to “Guess What? Blogging is Hard Work”

  1. This is dead-on. On paper (outdated term?), blogs and other Web projects often sound great, but in reality they don’t stand a chance without some degree of manpower and long-term commitment. The number of abandoned blogs is amazing. Like a puppy, cute at first…..

  2. It’s not just blogs but the whole social media world. All of it takes a real commitment. Writing a post, taking/processing/posting photos, making a video – even keeping up with Twitter and Facebook – are time consuming. It’s easier to do these things now than it was it the past – but it’s a mistake to assume they are easy. And that’s part of the problem.

    People make the assumption that because the tools are easier and accessible that the process of content development will be as well. Guess what – it isn’t. . .

  3. The root of the problem may be “Twitterization” of digital/social media. It seems easy to write quick 140 character posts. But engaging, participating and discovery on Twitter takes time, especially to make it valuable. So the idea that Twitter is “easy” is mostly an illusion.

    Perhaps this illusion has now bled over to other aspects of social media – like blogging and other social networking channels.

  4. I think you might be right George. On it’s face, Twitter is easy, but like everything else, doing it well is not.


  1. Mizz Information - June 10, 2009

    Is Summer the Season for Social Media Malaise?…

    The NY Times recently ran an article about blogs fizzling over time as people either get tired of pouring effort into something that either nobody reads or something that sucks up so much time even if it does get read. Then today I read this post, Wh…..

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