I think corporate blogging will only continue to expand as more PR departments look to social media to increase their presence in the Information Age. “With ever-increasing connectivity among people on the ubiquitous World Wide Web, virtual communities are becoming as important, and maybe even more relevant, than the real world in which the corporations operate.” (Raghavan, 2006). As cited in an Aug. 28, 2009 USA Today article by Jon Swartz, Forrester Research found that 95 percent of business decisions makers use social networks and 53 percent of more than 300 marketers plan to increase spending on social-media marketing. In a 2008 study, Wright and Hinson found that 60 percent of PR practitioners think blogs have enhanced PR. According to Technorati, the overall number of blogs doubled from 30 million in 2003 to 60 million in 2006 (Wright & Hinson, 2008).
The success of corporate blogs depends, in my opinion, on how much reign the writers are given to create “real” content that isn’t filtered. Otherwise, blogs aren’t that different from the PR tools already available and they won’t be inviting conversation. The Internet trend has been towards social networking sites and consumer-generated media, and I think corporate blogs will be successful because they allow readers to contribute to the discussion through comments. They are low-cost, fast and have audiovisual capabilities, and that can only be a good thing.
In their 2006 book Blogging for Business, Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos dedicate an entire chapter to the future of corporate blogs. In Internet years, 2006 is ancient history, but some of their statements hold even truer in 2010 as corporate blogs have become even more popular. They write that blogs are to the point that they cannot be ignored. They will not replace old media but will complement them (Holtz & Demopoulos, 2006). “…[Blogs] may be used to accomplish many of the tasks that would have been applied to a press release in the past. However, a press release remains the ultimate, official statement of record by an organization…” (Holtz & Demopoulos, 2006). Also, as technology becomes more accessible and easier to use, so, too, will blogs (Holtz & Demopoulos, 2006).
“As the importance and influence of blogging grows, those that do not will be at a disadvantage. Just as an organization that chooses to ignore an important communication channel such as print newspapers is to some extent impaired, organizations that ignore the blogosphere will be missing an important source of information and feedback about the organization, its industry, its people, and more.” – Blogging for Business, by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos (2006)