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Sunset for Company Blogs? Perhaps, But Blogs Still In Demand for Content

It is difficult to believe that anything worth saying can be said in 140 characters or less.

A USA Today story observes that a number of U.S. companies, Bank of America included, are abandoning the company blog, in favor of the “nimbler tools requiring less time and resources, such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.”

An interesting turn of events: As of 2008, blogging was seen as the ultimate tool of brand and company awareness. The authors of Tactical Transparency described companies like JetBlue using CEO blogs to connect the companies to consumers, directly from the C-suite. In February 2007, CEO David Neelman took to the company’s blog to tell consumers he was “Sorry and deeply embarrassed,” for stranding a plane full of Valentine’s Day travelers on the tarmac while the airline serviced a plane. The language was strong, the admission of guilt surprising, and the venue and source (the CEO and a blog) unusual.

Still, even in 2008 when the book was released, JetBlue was migrating to the Twittersphere, and to YouTube with company messaging.

USA Today described a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth survey, which found that the percentage of companies (specifically among the 500 Inc. Magazine-named fast-growing companies) that maintain blogs fell to 37% in 2011, down by 50% from 2010. And, just 23% of Fortune 500 companies maintained a blog in 2011, representing no change over the prior year, when that number had grown for several years.

All the companies named by USA Today were consumer-facing ones. There is no study specific to the ad industry, but, advertisers seem to prefer deeper answers than they can get in a 140-character Tweet or cheery Facebook entry. AOL, Microsoft, Google and its YouTube continue to maintain ad-technology blogs. (If there was no interest, why would not YouTube simply record a video on the fly?) So too do ad journals like Ad Age and AdWeek, which maintain blogs alongside their Twitter and Facebook presences which they use entirely for “quick hits” and pushing the day’s content. And therein lies the rub—those entities do not treat the microblog as a method of disseminating content. And even among consumers, consumer-facing digital properties as well, like Wired and Mashable, even Gaming, continue to maintain written blogs, while CPG and fashion titles do not.

The short story is that ads, ad technology and consumer-facing technology are all still ripe for the blog as a content vehicle, and Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as connectors.

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