The Real Reason the Inc. 500 Is Made Up of a Bunch of Crappy Bloggers

by Marcus Sheridan

This article won’t be long.

And it won’t be very romantic either.

But it needs to be said, so here goes.

I was reading a great post by Mitch Joel a few days ago that led me to the following article found at ReadWriteWeb, who wrote about a recent study the University of Massachusetts did on the blogging trends of the Inc. 500. It stated:

A new longitudinal study at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth focusing on the online activities of the Inc. 500 has found a huge drop in the number of companies maintaining corporate blogs over the past year. The UMass researchers, under the direction of Nora Barnes, has been following this group for several years. Only 37% of those interviewed had a corporate blog last year, down from half of those interviewed in 2010.

“The use of blogging may have peaked as a primary social media tool in the US business world,” she writes. “The new data shows adoption of blogging is declining for the first time since 2007 among the Inc. 500 companies….”

Upon reading this I could only shake my head. Furthermore, as Mitch Joel wisely predicted, many ‘experts’ will now point to this study as further proof that “Blogging is Dead.”

***For the record, if anyone ever tells you “Blogging is dead” you have my expressed, written permission to call that person a moron and never lend credence to a single word they ever speak again.***

I know, sounds harsh, but it’s true.

My reason for saying this is simple:

Stating that ‘Blogging is Dead’ is like saying “Great teaching is out of date, antiquated, and a useless practice.”

Say what??

And this is exactly what brings me back to the point of this post.

Corporations are failing at blogging because their writers and marketers don’t see themselves as teachers. In other words, they’re doing it all wrong and missing the entire point.

If these folks did have a teacher’s mentality, they might actually be able to answer the questions, needs, and concerns of their consumer base. Heck, they might even earn a little trust in the marketplace because instead of seeing the world from a soulless marketing angle, they would understand that great teaching equals trust, and trust equals a solid brand reputation along with a lot more sales.

This Isn’t Rocket Science

We can either be great teachers and set the tone for our industry, or we can write about stuff that doesn’t mean a dang thing in the eyes of the consumer…and then say, “Gee, blogging doesn’t work in this industry, let’s just drop it.”

As I stated earlier, it’s total bull.

  • The Inc. 500 is failing at blogging because they have failed to think like consumers (i.e. real people).
  • The Inc. 500 is failing at blogging because they don’t see the value of great teaching as a trust generator.
  • The Inc. 500 is failing at blogging because their marketing departments wouldn’t understand the phrase ‘education based marketing’ if you hit them over the head with it.

In fact, why are we still using the dumb word ‘blog’ anyway?

Frankly the word has never made any sense to me and maybe that’s part of the problem.

  • We’re teachers.
  • We’re publishers.
  • We’re educators.

That’s what we’re supposed to be doing folks.

Heck, maybe these Inc. 500 companies that have failed with blogging ought to brighten up and take a little walk down the street to the local elementary school and hire every kindergarten and 1st grade teacher on the spot to run their blogging departments.

Maybe then we’d see content that consumers actually understood.

Maybe then these massive corporations would see the power of educational content to generate a stronger brand and more sales.

And maybe then we’d all realize that the value of teaching always has been and always will be the core of great human relations, business, and ultimately profits.

Until then, I guess we’ll just have to listen to the ‘Blogging is dead’ pundits do their thing…

Your Turn

Well, I think you now know my opinion on this subject, but I’d love to hear yours. What’s your take on the failing blogs of the Inc. 500? Are they simply missing the mark or do you think that blogging has lost its value.

Jump on in folks, your opinion matters.

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{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

Adarsh Thampy February 2, 2012 at

Thought provoking post Marcus.

I’m not sure how blogging fares for Fortune 500 companies. But I am pretty sure that they might have done their studies (or maybe not).

It’s easy to say that they should just blog. But what if their audience is not really interested or interacting with their blogs? (Again only my assumption since I haven’t worked for a Fortune 500 company) .

I find that some of the fortune 500 companies are active on Facebook (rightly so) and they are getting huge interaction there. I doubt people will interact the same way with blogs.

Take a look at some of the most popular health blogs. There is very little interaction over there compared to marketing blogs. One look at these blogs and people would probably assume that blogging is dead in the health space (Since the actual number of visitors or page view data is not available to the outside viewer).

Personally, I prefer companies to engage me via Facebook rather than blogs (probably it;s just me). But, as you said, they don’t see themselves as teachers. I assume that point is true and I can even say that in some situations it makes no sense to become a teacher in some niches.

One example I have to share is a computer parts manufacturer. Even if I maintain a blog, I’ll probably see very less interaction because people prefer to engage with third party and well established tech blogs. Say if you manufacture RAM, would you follow their blog even if you are using their RAM on your computer? I wont. I’ll probably follow industry tech blogs or participate in forums rather than go read their blogs.

In my view it depends on what your consumers expect you to do. It’s true that we cant predict what consumers want. At least, Steve Jobs has proved to us that until we give people something, they don’t really know that they need it. So, I guess they could maintain a blog and see the response. If it’s not providing much value, time to focus on other areas that does provide value.

Adarsh Thampy

P.S: This is just my opinion :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

Great comment, as always, Adarsh.

But here is where I disagree– We assume the Inc 500 companies have it all together with the way they blog simply because they’re ‘successful’ in terms of company growth. We also assume they have clear strategies, goals, etc with their blogs.

Let me tell you man, this isn’t at all true. Lately I’ve been working with more and more large companies. Some are national brands. And every one has major issues with the way they’re blogging. Honestly bro, the majority just don’t get it.

And remember, when I say ‘blog’, I’m really referring to content marketing. If we’re reading someone’s blog, we really shouldn’t even know we’re reading it, do you know what I mean? We just happen to land on the page as we do a search, we learn something that helps us, and then we look further.

To me, this is the essence of blogging.

Again, you rock with your thoughts and comments Adarsh. Thanks man.

Marcus

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Adarsh Thampy February 2, 2012 at

True. While I don’t have experience with big companies, I’ll reflect my thoughts as a consumer.

There are several companies that I love but I seriously have no intention of following their blogs. The reason (for me at least), is that I prefer to be updated about the company through Facebook or through tech sites. This gives me a more balanced view of any of their products.

Coming back to the point of why I don’t want to follow corporate blogs. No matter how great a content they produce, ultimately it will be it will be related to something they have to offer and I don’t think I’ll get much more information about a better product (from a competitor) from their site. In order to do this, I’ll have to keep a list of all their competitors and check each individual blogs and then apply logic t see which is right.

My normal brain asks me “Doesn’t it make sense to follow top tech blogs who gather all this information and present it to us in a much more organized and balanced way?”. The point I am making is about tech companies.

What about other companies like Show Media or C2C Outdoor who are in the Advertising & Marketing industry? Sure the scene would be much better if they could give me case studies and stuff.

Again, my mind asks me “You’d have to follow hundreds of blogs this way. Why don’t you subscribe to some of the best blogs in the same industry. If there is anything worth mentioning, they’d probably share it too!!!”.

I am lazy. I want things done for me. :(

Now coming back to another point. What if, we want to follow just a few companies? Then it’s possible. One example is Sony. I am a die hard SONY fan. Even if they come up with a simple box with SONY tagged on it, I’ll probably buy it! If the companies that I need to follow or engage with are limited, then yes, I’d probably visit their blogs.

Again, I think, blogging can be a great way to get people to your site. The first impression. I have shared my content marketing story on my blog : http://conversionchamp.com/my-content-marketing-story/ . It’s amazing, the opportunities you get via content marketing. So I definitely believe companies should use to grab the first customer through search or social media.

My question to you Marcus is, what should companies (big ones) do to get people like me to visit their blogs again and again? I am skeptical about the trustworthiness of the content they produce (I believe that they’d only have the companies best interest in mind), I hate following too many blogs instead of going to one site and I don’t have the time. How do you think companies can overcome this mental block?

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Drew Hawken February 3, 2012 at

Adarsh,

I agree with you when comes to making a buying decision and want non-biased (if they exist) opinions regarding products. (reviews, buyers guides, consumer reports etc)

But what about big brands using their blogs to ensure their customers have the most effective use of their products / services?

I realize they have service portals and kb’s etc. Why not use the blog as medium to connect with real world customer use cases and engage not only about what is great but stuff that sucks about their products too?

My thinking is that these brands have no desire to have this relationship and often are run by people that don’t use their products. They have no connection to their products so why would they want one with their customers.

Now if I where a big brand I hope I would recognize this opportunity:
“Let’s focus on making sure our customers are getting the most from our products and interact directly with them in a public way to help us foster accountability.”

The big brands that live by that will gain the kind of customers that won’t really care about product reviews IMHO.

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Adarsh Thampy February 3, 2012 at

I don’t think any company would want to post what’s bad about their product on their blog. When they have knowledge base, serve centers around the world, it’s not really possible to extend technical help through blogs (not a smart idea either).

They could do well by providing us with case studies, some trips and tricks and so on. But the problem as Marcus said is, most companies don’t get blogging.

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Drew Hawken February 4, 2012 at

Perhaps I was not clear when I indicated that a company that DOES focus making sure customers are getting the most from the products will distinguish themselves (sadly) from other’s in their space and will have the advantage with long term loyalty.

I disagree with you on a couple points.

Why could a blog not bring a common service issue, and not an overly negative one, but a common one to light? It would save the major dollars with continued calls: “We have noticed people attempting to use the hammer whilst cover the nail with their hand, please move your hand BELOW the nail head and then strike it.”

I have been developing software since the eighties I am aware that companies are loathe to bring their issues the fore. But with recent developments in tools like sentiment analysis organizations will be able to detect negativity directed at their products. Could they not then proactively act with blogging perhaps providing a temporary work around and a commitment to fix in future versions.

Consumers are getting smarter and smarter and companies that continue to deny their issues will continue to lose credibility.

Perhaps I am naive but I believe that a company could be very open about issues and gain.

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Adarsh Thampy February 4, 2012 at

It’s more clear now. :)

I assume most companies are doing that (When some major issue comes up) (I have observed this lately with some company blogs who’s tools I use).

There is nothing wrong with discussing issues. However, very big companies issue press release on this regard instead of posting on their blogs. I am not sure which has more impact, but apparently these companies believe that press release works better.

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Hajra February 4, 2012 at

Ok, Adarsh, there is one thing that particularly got me thinking about your comment. About having to go to one place to see what the big guns are talking about. I mean, it does make sense that I don’t subscribe to a hundred blogs to top shot firms and just subscribe to a few that gathers that information in one place. Makes life a lot more easier.

But, maybe there might be a little hitch with that. Let’s take Marcus here (Yes Marcus, your blog, you shall be the example! ;) ). There might be a gazillion blogs out there talking about how Marcuss’ posts churns out valuable content but there must be many that might disagree. So, people who get interested come back to his blog and see what the fuss is all about. So, the point remains that there are two sides of the same coin. Only Marcus can talk about what Marcus thinks. Others might agree or disagree. There are two views to it. So what others are saying, might be just a reflection of what THEY think about a blog or about a certain issue; not what the original blogger thought about in the first place. Marcus can do the job of being Marcus and no one else.. you know what I mean.

So it makes sense to have things gathered at one place; but that one place might just show a different story at times. Subjective factors and judgments might come into play.

Just a thought! Feel free to bash the pulp out of my comment! :)

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Adarsh Thampy February 4, 2012 at

No comments should be based. I love it when someone disagrees with me (What do I reply to people who agree with me :) )

Your point make sense in certain situations. Thesaleslion is not a corporate entity. It’s a marketing blog in general with a focus on inbound and content marketing. It’s kind of like the blogs I mentioned earlier that makes our life easier.

Corporate blogs are entirely different. You really cant compare a corporate blog and a marketing blog. Do you think a Google blog would bash the Google Search Plus Your World? No! Similarly corporate blogs have a lot of limitations. Do you think that they’d want to promote their competitor? No way!

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Actually, Adarsh, I would differ here somewhat. I don’t think the principles of good education change. Topics might, application might, but principles generally do not. If I ran a corporate blog, I would run it in many ways exactly like I run TSL…believe it or not.

Thanks again bud for bringing so much to this conversation.

Marcus

Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Bash the pulp out of your comment Hajra? Girl, this was great, get out of here with that talk! ;-)

Seriously though, great points, and great conversation. TY!

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Drew, there have been a lot of comments here, but this one was easily one of the best. Love your vision, as it distills everything I’m trying to get these businesses to understand.

Thank you!!

Marcus

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Drew Hawken February 6, 2012 at

Marcus,
Thanks Bro!
Always learning and trying to build something special in my little corner of universe!

Drew

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Jason Diller February 2, 2012 at

So they had blogging in their budget two years ago and didn’t in 2011? Where is their time going? Isn’t blogging the best ROI you can get?

This post blew my mind. I can’t wrap my head around it.

What a bunch of idiots.

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Adarsh Thampy February 2, 2012 at

One possibility is that the top management might have decided to cut the blogging budget since they did not get the returns expected. Such companies often look at profit numbers and don’t necessarily give importance to the indirect benefit a blog gives (branding, customer loyalty and so on).

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

That’s true Adarsh, but I’m wondering if most are taking the time to truly measure the blogging benefits. What types of analytic platforms are they using to track visitors, leads, and sales? What are they monitoring online? I’m very curious to know more about that.

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Adarsh Thampy February 2, 2012 at

Only these companies can tell :)

Anyway I think that this trend would change if the top tier MBA colleges would include content marketing as an important subject in their curriculum. Once these guys reach the fortune 500 companies, then they’d be able to better understand the need of going with content marketing.

I’m not sure if B schools are doing this currently. If they are doing it, I think we can expect a change in the way most of these things work.

But one point I must say is that inside most big companies politics is huge. I worked for a big firm. They use some of the most outdated technologies in certain countries. When I asked some of the people why this continues, the reason they gave is that it’s company policy. We need to use their technology or we lose their account :( [Compare this to having big name advertising names that work for these companies who really don't get content marketing]

Besides most companies have such a messed up policy that any change in their company website (even a small banner or content) would take months to process. So you can imagine how much time it would take them to give a yes to implementing content marketing!

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

You said it brother. It’s mind boggling.

I’d really like it if they had listed the companies that decided to stop blogging, and then I’d like to do an analysis of what/how they were writing.

Can you imagine the field day we’d have with that Jason? ;-)

Thanks bro.

Marcus

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Sarah February 3, 2012 at

I couldn’t agree more.

My colleagues and I have come to the conclusion that “blogging” is a dirty word that people immediately are turned off by. What people need to know is that a blog is really just a container for useful content that educates and teaches prospective clients.

Marcus, you totally hit the nail on the head here.

Nicely done.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Hi Sarah! Well I’m glad to see there are others that are officially ready to chuck the word “blog” from the English vernacular! ;-)

Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by!

Marcus

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Mike Holman February 2, 2012 at

What is the “Inc. 500″? Biggest 500 companies in the US?

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Adarsh Thampy February 2, 2012 at

This should give you an idea: http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2011/

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

What’s funny is one of the companies on the list is Hubspot…and I think they’ve found a way to make blogging work. ;-)

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Hajra February 4, 2012 at

Ironic much? ;)

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Ryan Hanley February 2, 2012 at

The Inc. 500 are failing at blogging because they can’t place a budgetable black number at the bottom of the functions P&L…

And seriously who gives a rip what the Inc. 500 is doing. Why would their actions be an indicator for a Industry… No check that not an industry… For function of human connection that levels the playing field for small business.

Why is the Inc. 500 not blogging anymore?

Because they can’t BEAT US!!!!!

We’re smart, nimble, agile, aggressive and now CONNECTED. We can win the game with Blogging.

Marcus Sheridan… The friggin’ pool guy… Can rise up and be heard and make a difference and drive action and discussion and engagement and leverage relationship and lead thought… The friggin’ pool guy can do this.

That is why… Because the small guy can win. The small guy can become the big guy…

Great article dude.

I’m jacked-up right now.

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

Hahahaha Ryan, I laughed and laughed with this comment because you were saying the same things I tell folks all the time:

I’m just a pool guy!! :-)

So diggin your passion brother. Keep it up my man.

Marcus

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Ryan Hanley February 2, 2012 at

It just kills me that the pulse of the business world is supposedly dictated by Inc. 500 companies…

They are probably the MOST disconnected brands in the entire world from their consumer base yet we act as if they are trend setters…

Disgusting.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

I hear ya brother!

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Mary Okocha February 2, 2012 at

I agree that marketers don’t get the bigger consumer-centric picture. I’m wondering if bloggers have been hired because of how well they understand and use Social Media and not for how they think or how insightful they are. You can teach Social Media, but insight and thought processes – such as the teaching perspective that you mention in the article – are something that people either have a knack for or they just don’t understand.

I think you have hit on some key insights in this article.

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Mary Okocha February 2, 2012 at

Concerning my previous comment on this article, I should have added that “some marketing bloggers” don’t understand the consumer perspective. Of course there are some really brilliant marketers out there that DO get the consumer perspective.

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

I got you Mary. In fact, the same applies to me. One could take the article I wrote today as a big blanket statement knocking all corporate bloggers. In reality, I know there are many great folks out there producing content, many of which are just being held back by management that doesn’t see the big picture of really what blogging is supposed to be.

Thanks again Mary!

Marcus

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Srinivas February 2, 2012 at

IT’s simple. Get rid of the red tape, embrace your creativity and stop asking for permission. IF you can’t do that hire actual bloggers, pay them well, and stay out of their way. I could write a book called “Why Your Corporate Blog Sucks: Here’s how you fix it”

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Rebecca Livermore February 2, 2012 at

This is very true. What often happens in large corporations is that there are too many layers of approval that have to be gone through before anything is done. When so many people are involved in something that should be simple, oftentimes the life and passion ends up being completely drained. Once expectations have been clearly communicated to writers, you need to just let them do their work or else what they do write will not be as powerful.

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

That’s exactly it Rebecca. It’s the David v Goliath phenomena. Goliath is slow, too much heavy equipment, etc…and he loses every time to the quicker, smarter, (and certainly more faithful) David.

So until all the hoops and red tape are eliminated, there will be more and more corporate blogging failures.

Thanks for your comment!

marcus

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

Amen, amen, amen Srini. I know you’ve discussed this topic in detail many times but apparently these guys aren’t reading your stuff! ;-)

Much thanks my man,

Marcus

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Jared Dees February 2, 2012 at

I think you are dead on about shifting the focus towards education marketing. I keep seeing the same mistake over and over again. In fact, look at the big presidential campaign websites right now. They all focus on the person (think product) and the places he goes. It is basically an outlet for press releases. What a waste of time.

I will say this, though, having blogged in a “corporate” setting for a couple of years in tandem with a personal blog/business. Srini is totally right about the red tape. There is always going to be a strong sense of hesitation to publish anything that will cause an uproar.

But we also have to recognize the personal brand element that is essential to blogging. If we can’t connect with a person who writes for a blog, we won’t read it. If a blog really is a corporate blog by a corporation (or even a business) with no personality it is (again) a waste of time.

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

Extremely valid points Jared. The red tape issue is undoubtedly the biggest culprit here. In fact, each of these companies in the Inc 500 likely have amazing folks that could be producing amazing content, yet there are people in management that are stifling all creativity and growth….which is a dang shame.

Appreciate you stopping by Jared, thanks so much for the thoughts man.

Marcus

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Mark February 2, 2012 at

With so many great resources, like yourself Marcus, on how a large corporations can leverage blogging to enhance their overall business and revenue, it seems odd they still don’t get it…

It’s not rocket science. They have bundles of cash. It appears that it’s not even something they even have their mind-space around.

Well, I’m happy about it! It provides a lot of opportunity for the small business owner!

There are some ‘great’ big companies out there – I just prefer to buy from and do business with hardworking small business owners…

They make the economy go round’, invest in their local communities and have the most potential to be the next ‘great’ big company – and they’re going to get there by educating, serving and engaging the marketplace.

We’re still on the ground floor of changing the mindset, business standards, and the overall approach to socializing business. We’re getting better and more proficient at it everyday.

There are going to be some ground-breaking, earth-shattering business and consumer success stories that will be born out of the new media landscape.

My Overall Opinion: I love that they still don’t get it!

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

Haahaha Mark, I actually agree with what you’re saying in that it helps the average Joe Mom and Pop businesses excel. As I mentioned to Rebecca, it’s the David v Goliath phenomena.

You brought up another great point though Mark—CASH.

In the past, marketers of the big corporations could simply throw a bunch of cash out there and with enough of it, get results.

But blogging isn’t a ‘cash’ driven business. In fact, money is almost no factor at all.

It all comes down to the ability to think exactly like a consumer and then teach them in a way that everyone ‘gets it’.

Powerful thoughts Mark, thanks for all your support my friend!

Marcus

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Jk Allen February 2, 2012 at

Hey Marcus,

Blogging is as dead to businesses, as bloggers say traditional marketing/media is no longer effective for businesses.

I’m very objective in this area. Reason being is that I’ve personally been in a number professional positions that had a focus on business development. One company may have spent the majority of their efforts in one area, because they found it to work better for them. And others focused in other areas, because those areas worked better for them. Neither is right or wrong, at large.

I find nothing wrong when companies don’t partake in blogging. To me, this is fine, especially if their on the Inc. 500 list…their’ doing something very right. Let’s face it, blogging is not the only way for businesses to grow or maintain. It is a platform that can influence growth, but by no means is it the only way.

I’ve noticed a trend in the business blogging community. A lot of folks get caught up in THEIR WORLD (internet marketing, blogging, social media). They see the picture bright and clear from their online-angle, but they forget that it’s only “an” avenue that a business can take. There’s a big attachment to ideas that depreciate the value of traditional marketing. They might find traditional means of marketing to be disruptive…but I tell you this, organizations are spending millions and millions of dollars on traditional marketing because it works. Disruptive or not… it works. Disruptive or not, the people of this world have been conditioned by what is now referred to online as disruptive marketing.

I’m all for blogging, personally. But, I’ve learned not to put all my ducks in row. It’s more of my style to have a diversified approach. I know business bloggers out there that have created these VERY large presences and communities and give off the idea that they are running powerful companies, when in reality it’s a big hoax. They spend 6 hours a day on blogging activities and the other 2-4 hours wondering why they are on the verge of a BK (and I don’t mean burger king).

I know how much your life has changed as a result of blogging. So I pay close attention and listen whenever you speak on this subject. I know that you write from a source of passion and care to help others.

Thanks for sharing this, man. Always nice reading what the lion has to share.

PEACE

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Marcus Sheridan February 2, 2012 at

Loved this balanced approach and take on the subject JK. And thanks for putting so much into it man.

I don’t have a major beef with the companies that don’t embrace blogging (content marketing), as like you said, there are other venues that are getting a healthy ROI.

My real beef occurs when I hear that a massive company has dropped blogging because ‘it didn’t work’.

I do feel that’s a load of bull, as it’s my opinion there isn’t a company on that list that couldn’t experience some huge benefits from an education-based content marketing approach.

To your point about successful blogs not generating company profits, to me that is a sales cycle/funnel issue, not a blog issue. In other words, if they are getting them in to the top of the funnel with the blog, but not using that content (and other ‘stuff’) to continue to push them down the funnel, then we have a sales issue, but not really a blog issue.

Either way, they’re both necessary to make all of this stuff work– hence the ‘inbound marketing’ concept.

Again, thanks so much for the thoughtful response JK!

Marcus

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Devan February 2, 2012 at

“The Inc. 500 is failing at blogging because they have failed to think like consumers (i.e. real people).” <= Made me laugh! I agree with a lot that you said here.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Laughs are free around here Devan. ;-)

Thanks for dropping by,

Marcus

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Eric Gervase February 2, 2012 at

Marcus,

Two things… I’m pretty sure (but not 100% sure) that the study is measuring different 500 companies each year. Since the Inc. 500 is a measure of “fastest growing” private businesses, the 500 companies would have some overlap… but quite a bit of change too. Not sure if that is an argument one way or another, maybe just a point of clarification.

Also, working for a company that has been on the list a couple times… the companies are generally growing very quickly because of a good business idea. They are most likely not having to do the “hard” work of actually uncovering new leads as yet (or at this point in their growth as an org). For now, their business idea is good enough that they don’t “have to” blog to develop a discourse/educate their customers.

All that said, it would be interesting to see what these same companies try to do once the growth stagnates. My guess is that they will have to sit around and strategically plan next steps and realize that blogging to educate their customers is a viable option.

So, is blogging dead for the Inc. 500 companies? I don’t think so… I think that they just don’t realize the benefit at this point in their growth as an organization. I think they are so successful that they aren’t challenged to do more/better in their marketing.

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Henneke February 6, 2012 at

I’m pretty sure (but not 100% sure) that the study is measuring different 500 companies each year.

This is a good point. Brian Clarke made the same point in last week’s “Internet Marketing for Smart People” podcast. He suggested that the latest list has more government service companies – and this type of company won’t be blogging.
The other point he made is that some people might be blogging, but calling it something different – e.g. content marketing.

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Eric Hall February 2, 2012 at

Why aren’t the INC 500 fasest growing companies blogging?

— Maybe they are just too busy be among the 500 fastest growing companies in the country.

Maybe they could devote less time to growing, selling products, developing innovative products, etc. And, this would allow them to blog more?

Now, I’m a huge fan of blogging and internet marketing.

But, to yell at the nation’s 500 fastest growing companies and tell them they are doing it wrong seems like an incredibly arrogant position to take.

Maybe they actually do know what they are doing – and maybe, just maybe, that’s why they are among the 500 fasest growing companies…..

Crazy, I know.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Eric, first let me say I really appreciate this comment and your style.

Let me also answer with my thoughts.

Being on the Inc 500 doesn’t mean someone knows how to sell and market their product/service to the public, thus turning a profit. Many companies on the list are young and using another’s money to make the magic (growth) happen. But at some point and time, their brand will have to stand on it’s own and be profitable.

I wrote this article because companies are starting blogging and then leaving the medium, and it’s my opinion they’re doing this because they really do not understand what blogging truly means. They don’t yet share a culture of education.

Does this mean their business isn’t viable or potentially very successful? No, of course not.

Thanks again,

Marcus

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Michael Murray February 2, 2012 at

Marcus,

As usual thanks for the original, thought-provoking article. I was really surprised by this. Here I am just getting started with blogging and I see so many small companies that are starting to get on board.
I think Inc. 500 companies are not willing to put in the time and investment it takes to build a community. These companies have one resource that small companies do not: bags and bags of cash! All the money in the world won’t help your blog and the big guys don’t like competing on this level playing field. They are getting frustrated because they want instant results they can track and tout.
If I’ve learned anything (from you and others) it’s that blogging takes time and dedication. It makes you wonder how many of these Inc. 500 companies abandoned the blog right before they were about to build traction and see results.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

It makes you wonder how many of these Inc. 500 companies abandoned the blog right before they were about to build traction and see results.

That’s a great question Michael. It also makes me wonder what someone could have done with the same blog had they just taken a different approach.

Continued success my friend!!

Marcus

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Eric Gervase February 2, 2012 at

Also wanted to add that Inc. 500 does not necessarily = large company. And, they are often growing so fast that (might be a surprise) they are actually short staffed because of the success that they are enjoying.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

This is very true Eric. In some cases, lack of people can be an issue, as some of these companies are very, very small and just don’t prioritize this part of their business.

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Howie the Alien from down the street February 2, 2012 at

Hmmm Mr. Lion very interesting stuff.

I am thinking laziness is an issue. Also they don’t understand blogs. Maybe whoever is in charge thinks if they blog it has to be every day vs whatever they decide works best.

I am also curious (Gini or Shonali could answer this) do they communicate the type of content that would be in a ‘blog’ elsewhere and thus feel it is redundant?

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Laziness is undoubtedly a factor bud. Plus they don’t get it. As for redundancy, I honestly don’t think that is the case, mainly because every company is unique in their approach to consumer issues, with different methods, philosophies, etc.

Good stuff man, and as always, thanks bud. :)

Marcus

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Henneke February 2, 2012 at

Thanks for another great post, Marcus.

I have no facts, but I would guess that most of these blogs are collections of press releases full of gobbledygook – these neither support lead generation nor lead conversion.

I assume that most of their blogs are full of talk about their own companies. Have they not realised yet that nobody is interested in their companies and their products? That we look for solutions to our problems? That we don’t want a hard sell, just some guidance from an expert? That we look for answers to our questions?

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John Verba February 2, 2012 at

There may be some of that. But, in general, in my experience, the big companies are consumer focused and try to make emotional connections with their target markets, which are usually niches, and the small businessmen do “marketing communications” that uses “we” and describes a pretty much generic company of their type to the universe as though it should care.

For example, the first time I was ever shown a small business’ “capabilities piece” that was a six-color “multi-purpose” piece (that might have 12 pages, a pocket and numerous inserts) and I realized it was all about “Our Company”…my first thought was, “I don’t understand. Who would read this? Your mom?”

And, yeah, people would later tell you that salesmen hand them capabilities pieces and after the meeting they go in a pile in the corner. Like you’d expect. I mean…sheesh, they could at least have done a flip-chart presentation on a tent stand to force their sales people to walk the prospect through “What’s in it for them?”

Disney and Ford don’t talk about their own companies. They put you in their resorts in your mind. They get you imagining the thrill of driving their product. They’re the companies that never forget that everything depends on the customer.

Or…they do forget, and they die…which is happening more often lately. Companies losing their culture of leadership. Forgetting that they only exist in service to their customers, so being the best at serving/competing to solve problems MUST be in their DNA.

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John Verba February 2, 2012 at

Sorry Henneke…I was thinking of the Fortune 500.

The Inc. 500…yes, I agree…when they do marketing, like most small businesses, they talk about themselves, and try to appeal to everyone. As I note below, the Inc. 500 founders I’ve met simply did amazing work, outperformed the competition and grew by word of mouth. I wouldn’t be surprised if most don’t even have marketing directors.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

I’m sure most of your assumptions are quite accurate Henneke. The blogs don’t follow the problem-solution methodology, and thus they never get fans and attract loyal readers. No surprise that many are failing.

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment Henneke!

Marcus

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Jack@TheJackB February 2, 2012 at

Blogging isn’t something that every company needs and it is not because they are doing it wrong either.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

I don’t believe that every company needs or should be blogging.

But I do believe every company could turn blogging into a very profitable marketing and branding tool. I simply don’t see exceptions to this.

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Jack@TheJackB February 6, 2012 at

That is sort of a contradiction, don’t you think.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

No, not at all.

I said not every company “needs” or “should” be blogging, but “could” find success with the medium if they wanted to.

I could find success using Facebook with my swimming pool company but because I don’t like it’s ROI when compared to content marketing, I don’t spend a lot of time with it. Therefore, I don’t “need” it, nor “should” I be doing it…but I “could” if I wanted to.

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Ann Mullen February 2, 2012 at

Marcus, I read that this morning and I thought that we must be talking two different languages and now you have shown me how true that is. Blogging, for want of a better word, is the way we teach each other the things we need to learn to be educated, well-rounded human beings who know how to make informed decisions. Thank you for standing up for us.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Any time Ann, as a people and as professionals we need to call ‘bull’ on stuff like this! ;-)

Continued success,

Marcus

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John Verba February 2, 2012 at

Marcus. There’s actually a huge difference in pretty much every variable you can imagine between how companies that big do things and how the other 90%(?) 95%(?) do it. An art director friend of mine who’d spent his whole career among the five biggest ad agencies in Baltimore said the thing that surprised him when he started freelancing for smaller firms was the “incredible drop off in the quality of the people” between the top 5 agencies and the next 100.

I wouldn’t term it the same way. I’d just say that if you were the marketing director of Apple, Dell, Pepsi, Ford, Exxon, or Citigroup, and the sales of your products had gotten you a, let’s say, $15 ($50?) million a year marketing budget, and they turned to you to say, “So what do we do, Marcus, to make even more next year?”…that you might not want to say, “You know, we can take this massive amount of capital that we’ve always used to give us more leverage than the other firms of our type, and to capture share of mind as every other giant company with this kind of budget is trying to capture it, too, and we can, you know, bank all but $1.25 million, and use that amount to hire 10 first-class, $125k a year bloggers/columnists/folks who already have an online following, and get in there and compete with every other blogger out there for attention, meaning millions of people who spend next to nothing to type up something they’d like people to care about. And that’s what *I* recommend!!”

BNERP! Wrong answer.

It’s not that there’s this massive drop off in the quality of the people. It’s just that there’s a whole lot more demand for folks to arrive at small businesses with prepackaged solutions for a couple thousand dollars than there is for $125k folks to spend six weeks coming up with three complete campaign ideas to present to boardrooms of Ivy League graduates so producers can spend $300k using SAG/AFTRA talent to produce a TV spot that will run on expensive time, coast to coast. There are, maybe, 2 to 5 agencies in a lot of cities that play at that level, and they pass around 20 to 30 clients, maybe? I mean, aside from NYC, I’m pretty sure most cities are lucky to have a handful of Fortune 500 firms, and then the regional banks, sports teams, hospitals, etc. that might have budgets that cover those expenses.

So if you were the marketing director, Marcus, of McDonald’s, and you had (Googling, here) $818.9 million to spend…oh wait…that’s on “traditional” media…but, still, you have that, plus a separate nontraditional budget, how much would you put toward your blog? And then…how much would you put toward PPC or…well…whatever you want to do to build traffic to your blog…and THEN…

What might you want to do with the rest of it, since your shareholders are expecting you to know that your budget basically gives you the forces that Eisenhower had in WWII versus the forces Britain had in the War of 1812? : ) Now, if I were you, I might use some of the basic rifles that millions of Americans are running around shooting off all over the place, because it can’t hurt. But I’d also go ahead and use all those bombers and tanks and battleships…because the McDonald’s generals are in the habit of winning…by a lot.

I mean, Marcus, you have $819MM…but then again, Burger King has $300MM and Subway has $375MM. And they’re out there shooting, too. Are you really going to tell your stockholders that the free inbound media that millions have access to is your secret weapon? Nothing against blogs, but…I’m just a little dubious that would be your recommendation. Though I’d definitely want to be there when someone on your team stands up, waves his arms and calls them all a bunch of idiots. : ) That’d be fun to see.

John

Congrats on getting work from that level of client, though. It can be nice to get a whole lot more money for doing less taxing work for groups that already have an insurmountable advantage. But trying to get small businesses to think like market leaders is also fun, and it’s really cool when it happens. : )

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

John, let me just say I’ve loved watching all your thoughts take form in this conversation. I know we don’t often agree, but your passion and style is one I truly appreciate. :)

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John Verba February 6, 2012 at

Marcus, well…when you have time, click on this link and watch the two-minute trailer for the documentary Art & Copy, and you’ll see the kind of guys who trained the kind of guys who trained me. ; )

http://www.artandcopyfilm.com/

And then you can probably imagine that last fellow, who’s talking about selling a pen, perhaps saying something like: Can a blog work? SURE a blog can work. You just sit down and write like you’re talking to a great prospect of yours across the table, and he’s a friend, and so you’re going to make sure that every word you say, top to bottom in every post, is potentially helpful to him…’cause you don’t want to waste his time…you don’t want to risk his trust…you don’t want to give him what you think if you can give him what you know. You wanna’ “make yourself useful” in words.

(But I think even he’d say that if you had $819MM to spend, you could probably generate ROI a little faster.) ; )

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John Verba February 2, 2012 at

lol. Sorry, that was about the Fortune 500. Feel free to delete it if it’s in the way.

The INC. 500…well, I called all the ones in Northern VA one year and met with the owners of three to five. The impression I got was that they DID THEIR JOBS really well. One lawn service put down six inches of mulch instead of the usual three. (No, he didn’t say how they afforded it.) So they got incredible word-of-mouth…and they grew like crazy.

But ask them about marketing and advertising and they all had similar stories. One said nothing worked for him, and said he’d tried direct mail and the community paper and cable and radio. I asked who did the creative work for each try. He said the printer, the newspaper, the cable folks and the radio DJs. I said who helped him figure out his brand and what to say, and he said the meeting was over.

The others had similar things to say.

NOW…I DO think blogs could help some INC. 500 companies a lot, but I wouldn’t expect them to understand or embrace content marketing since the ones I ran into were definitely not marketing driven at all. They outperformed, and grew by word-of-mouth.

And yeah…feel free to delete the above. But if you ever take on the Fortune 500, I’ll be ready. ; ) I LOVE those guys. They’re so mercenary.

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Jens P. Berget February 3, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

I don’t have much experience with the Inc. 500, but I totally agree with you on the point you’re saying about how important blogging is and will continue to be in the future. What’s interesting to me, is that large companies keep spending a huge amount of money on traditional advertising, when they can spend 1/100 of that on blogging and get really really good results (I was going to say better results, but I didn’t dare to write it).

I am fairly lucky. I have done two presentations for companies in Norway during the past week, and I have only been talking about inbound marketing and I presented blogging and so much more. Both companies became so excited about it, and they hadn’t even thought about changing the way they do marketing. They spend way more than $100.000 a year on advertising in newspapers (paper), and very little on the web. But, I got them thinking about how easy it is to get started, and how much more fun it is for the people working there, to take part in marketing. And like I said, every single person working in the company are already using Facebook, and they have an iPhone or an Android, why not let them take pictures, create videos and update their status while working (I gave them a strategy as well) :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Jens, you’re a serious trailblazer my man. Really. Doing what you’re doing in Norway, getting those folks to see the vision of inbound marketing, it really gets me jacked up every time you talk about it. Seriously bud, you are doing some GREAT things. Thank you!!

Marcus

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bbrian017 February 3, 2012 at

IT IS ALIIIIVEEE!!! Lol. Seriously. These are supposed to be the educated people right? Many times the ‘educated’ have no idea what going on on the ground. Like a war strategist and general that has no idea of the conditions of the current battle, the terrain, his enemy etc.

So, depending on what kind of general you are, the battle is either lost or won for you.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Great points Brian…and thanks for the laugh bud. ;)

Have an awesome week and appreciate your support,

Marcus

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Glen Kohlenberg February 3, 2012 at

Great post Marcus! Yes the little guy can make a difference. When the owner cut our marketing budget to zip for the last 2 years we had to come up with another way to make sure the phone rang. I was able to do this by blogging.

Marcus the pool guy got me excited we are in home improvement business also. You can get lost at times thinking is anyone really listening.

Thanks Marcus.

Glen

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Love the story Glen, way to be a trailblazer and not a sulker, as so many would have done had they been dealt your hand. Keep rockin my friend and thanks so much for your support!

Marcus

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Marina Brito February 3, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

Your post propelled me so far out of my chair that it pulled me out of lurk-dom. :)

I have been ranting to my friends about how their big, world-class software companies don’t GET the idea of content marketing. And I think that I know why this happens in some cases.

First, the people “in the trenches” who are the most apt to know what to educate their customers with are the sales people and the consultants. But they don’t write the company blog, and either if they tried to contribute, they’d be shut down by some marketing bureaucrat.

Second, about the marketing bureaucrats. The top guys are used to traditional media and to reading Inc. 500 articles which tell them that Blogging is passé. So that’s out of the plan.

The middle marketing managers are compartmentalized and only do what they’re supposed to do. The graphics peeps do their thing, the web people maintain the site and make it look pretty, and the other people work on brochure production, etc. None of them think strategically nor are they teachers or writers, and most of them don’t even understand what the software that they sell actually does.

Third, I find that the idea of “professionalism” stops many corporate-types from remembering that customers are people and that they like to read fun stories that can teach them concrete things. These people struggle to read (and learn anything from) boring, dry, and jargon-filled “professional” white papers.

And fourth, the “keeping up with the Joneses” factor. If the competition has white papers and a brochure-like website thumping their chest all over it, then they feel that they must keep up with the competition: “We need to be doing that too, or else the customers won’t see that ours is bigger than theirs” (the chest, of course)…

How can a company be so bold as to try something that not even Inc. 500 recommends, and that NOBODY else is doing [effectively] in their industry? Well, surely because it DOESN’T work for big, professional, successful corporations.

Sure, it might work for that lone pool guy over there – but that’s because he, as the marketer-entrepreneur, actually knows what his customers need to learn and has the power to do something about it.

- Your neighbor in Fairfax :)

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

First, the people “in the trenches” who are the most apt to know what to educate their customers with are the sales people and the consultants. But they don’t write the company blog, and either if they tried to contribute, they’d be shut down by some marketing bureaucrat.

AMEN Marina!!!!

This comment, and quote, made my day. Really. Your perspective on this seems to perfectly align with exactly what I’m feeling as well…way cool! :)

And Fairfax? Really? Love it!

Marcus

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Kadee February 3, 2012 at

Awesome post. To be honest, when I saw that study I was surprised that blogging had fallen so much and couldn’t understand it. I have never believed that blogging was dead (or email for that matter). Thank you for pointing the finger back on them and saying they’re not doing it right. This is a huge misconception that simple followers will take and internalize without seeing the other perspective. It seems people can’t stick with it long enough and learn from what they’re doing right or wrong to make it a success to they give it up and declare it dead.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Amen to that Kadee. Really appreciate your perspective here and yes, sometimes we just need to call a spade a spade. ;)

Thanks for stopping by,

Marcus

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Doug Wagner February 3, 2012 at

I learned back in the orginal dot com runup that many business analysts and/or reporters really know what they are talking about. Back then it was infinite growth in the dot com and telecommunications sector. Infinite meaning exponentially forever and ever.

Now I am more selective of the information and try to apply common sense and my own filters. I am still seeing lots of people engaging with blogging so it is working when done right. It does not surprise me that the big guys mostly don’t get it. They are still trapped in what worked in the past.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Good points Doug, and really appreciate you stopping by man. Love how you used the word ‘common sense’. That’s my approach to all of this. Good teaching makes plenty of common sense to me…, but then again, maybe I’m crazy. ;)

Thanks!

Marcus

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Leon Noone February 3, 2012 at

G’Day Marcus,
Y’know, in this Land Down Unda, we’d call you a “bit of a bloody stirrer” It’d be a compliment. May I quote a mate of mine who has the same initials as I but is far more modest; “marketing isn’t everything. But everything is marketing.”

If the Inc.500 were so bloody smart, the world economic scene would be a damn sight more stable. Whether they see blogging as a feature of their marketing doesn’t matter one way or another. Why on earth are some people, academics, entrepreneurs among them, so obsessed with what the Inc500 are doing.

Look at your own motor vehicle industry. It’s hardly a paragon of marketing virtue of fiscal rectitude. I can’t remember the exact words . But Bill Gates said something to the effect that had the auto industry spent as much money on development as the IT industry, cars would cost $1000 each and give 100 miles to the gallon.

And in one of their books, Al Ries and Jack Trout said that if you wanted to grow your business you should forget about what Apple and Microsoft were doing now and find out what they were doing when they were were the same size as your business.

As you know Marcus, I run a business blog. It’s a vitally important part of my marketing. It enables me to market worldwide for little cost. Who’s telling me that that’s a “bad thing?” because blogging is in its death throes.

When I see so called research such as the Massachusett stuff you quote, I have to admit that the suspicion of a Self Fulfilling Prophecy tends to cloud my mind. When I finish this, I’ll slap myself across the back of the head in the best Jethro Gibbs style for being so disrespectful.

Last year I wrote a blog post called, “Forget Customer Service: Learn How to Think Like A Customer.” I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the Inc500 mob may have been a lot more “Fortunate”—- OK, it’s a dreadful pun— if they’d used a blog professionally to do just that.

Keep rattling the cages mate. This Aussie curmudgeon ‘ll keep rooting–to use your vernacular–for you .It’s all part of the fun.

Best Wishes
Leon

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Thanks a ton brother. :) And yes, I’ll keep rattling and see what fruit falls off the tree. ;)

You’re the best my man,

Marcus

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John Verba February 3, 2012 at

Having just taken a glance at the last two Inc. 500 lists (which were in a pile on my desk), I’d suggest we keep in mind that the 500th name on the list comes in at around 600% 3-year growth, and the 250th is at around 1,200% three year growth.

And the top 10 are above 10,000% 3-year growth.

When I’ve been in and around companies that are doing that, they’ve pretty much got their hands full with keeping up with work, and, again, growth of that kind has everything to do with acting like the company they want to be, and having the market then see it, and react to it by treating them as they see them. For example, a handful of creative folks doing the exact kind of work that comes out of a big agency won’t stay small for long. But a similarly sized firm creating what most people expect and get from a small firm will be hard-pressed to be noticed.

So we seem to be looking at 500 companies that are totally focused on outperforming and out-delivering the norm, and asking why they’re not blogging. Well, what if they’re hardly marketing at all…and really haven’t had to yet? One can’t feel slighted if that’s the case, right?

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Eric Gervase February 3, 2012 at

This is the exact point I was trying to make. Though… admittedly, you made it better.

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John Verba February 3, 2012 at

Eric. Thanks, truly, for pointing that out. I’d seen Eric Hall’s post (in some ways similar to ours) just below yours, but had previously missed yours among the 50+ replies. It’s probably useful that we can report from the front lines. ; )

I’d say the Inc. 500 might know as much about marketing, in general, as some other groups I’ve run into over the years: Government contractors coming out of the 8(a) program who have to wean themselves from set-aside contracts; associations that had to wean themselves from government subsidies at some point; and banks and medical practices that were deregulated and had to learn to promote their services (leading to megabanks and HMOs, who mastered marketing and then purchased/controlled the service providers).

And that would be: What’s marketing? lol. Also a lot of IT innovators who develop great new technologies with VC funding can be pretty horrible at explaining their own product’s advantages. Luckily, they can sell out to a corporate giant who gives it a clear consumer-focused, benefits-driven identity…which is how they became a corporate giant, after all. ; )

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John Cooper February 3, 2012 at

Inc. 500 success is due to their hard-work and dedication towards the grooming of Inc. 500. Although they have small staff but they have achieved too much in short interval of time. Blogging is like a deep ocean the deeper you go more you know. The target they have achieved is not easy to attain but it could be gained by others if they work keeping in mind to get the desired goal.

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John Verba February 3, 2012 at

I wonder what we’d find out about what we all really think of all the various types of marketing if we just tracked the hardest, clearest evidence: How we express our interest and support with our dollars each day. Anyone driving out of their way to reach a gas station that blogs? Supermarket? Warehouse store? Um…local mom and pop? Auto manufacturer? How about online? Do we bypass the lowest prices for the best information providers? I’d bet there are times when a blog definitely has driven a sale in each of our real lives…and OTHER times when we’ve headed out the door or gotten online to support a company with our dollars without the least thought about whether the company has a blog or not.

Actions speak way louder than words to the big companies. And, again, that’s pretty much how they became big companies. They reacted to the needs of the customers, mostly…to prompt the action of a purchase. And they compete like crazy to do it best.

And, as we’re seeing, losing their focus on the simple act of meeting a need and driving an action is how they die. Hmm. I wonder if a company like Disney has any internally focused blogs where employees can earn rewards for proposing ideas the company adapts? That would be a cool use of the community/team concept. : )

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Amber Lee February 4, 2012 at

This information is very alarming specially for bloggers like me. Blogging has been my hobby since 2009 and I’m very much used to this activity. It makes my day complete. It saddens me that the need for blogs are declining nowadays.

Thanks for sharing!

Amber Lee

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

I don’t think the ‘need’ is declining at all Amber Lee. Actually, I think it’s picking up…yet many businesses, especially corporations, just don’t get it.

Thanks!

Marcus

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Andrea Hypno February 4, 2012 at

You’ve asked for my opinion Marcus so it’s not my fault if I rant a little right?

I think that there are two reasons for the blogging is dead thing: 1 Corporations are interested in making money and not in people. The only reason why they care about people is that a human being is needed to carry around a wallet. Ok, let’s be nice, 95 percent of them?

2 blogging must die because bloggers are independent. Some of them obviously have a boss, or an affiliate handler, but the great majority just sticks to truth and speak their mind. They can’t be controlled and they can’t be directed. Think about SOPA, politicians and corporations wanted it but freedom lovers stopped it against their will. Unfortunately ACTA passed anyway but there are still ways to kill it too.

Those at the top of the piramid hate freedom and free thinking, or free opinions, and above all they hate when someone finds out their hidden skeletons and throw them in public view. Bloggers have an enormous influence and, much more in the future, will be the “owners” of free and true information. Unless someone still thinks that newspapers tell the truth.

I mean, we all know we’re living in Big Brother’s world right? Not the TV show, the book.

Did I rant too much? :)

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Jack@TheJackB February 4, 2012 at

Those at the top of the piramid hate freedom and free thinking, or free opinions

Sorry I can’t just let that go because it just isn’t based upon fact. There is so much misinformation contained within that I couldn’t begin to address it.

Not every corporation is run by greedy, money hungry executives who will stop at nothing to get their way. Not everyone at the top of the pyramid is bad.

Let’s take a look at Bill Gates for a moment. He took a tiny company named Microsoft and made it into a giant and now you cannot name a bigger philanthropist than him.

It is not right to tar and feather with such a broad brush.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

I love your rants Andrea. You’re more than welcome to rant away anytime you’d like. :)

As for me, I don’t mind if a corporation has the goal of making huge profits. In fact, I think if they really understood what made customers ‘tick’ they’d embrace a much more educational base.

I just don’t think the majority ‘get it’. If they did, I really do think they’d be riding this train instead of getting off 5 minutes into the ride.

Thanks again lady, your passion is awesome! :)

Marcus

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JamesW February 4, 2012 at

great article, if you say “the blogging is dead” then you mean that Internet is dead which is really the worst word that can come out from your mouth. It’s good that you called them morons Marcus xD

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William Veasley February 4, 2012 at

Blogging will never loose it’s value. I think what matters most is our plan and our vision. Without either one of those we probably will not reach our aspirations. As bloggers, we must always try to provide value and give readers what they want. If we provide value then people will take notice, eventually.

At least this is what I believe! ( :

God bless,
William Veasley

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Good stuff William! Thanks for your thoughts bud! :)

Marcus

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George Ivanovich February 5, 2012 at

This is such a wonderful post. With bloggers like this it will always be fun to catch up with.
I love and respect your opinion.

Thanks for sharing.

-George

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Andrea Hypno February 5, 2012 at

Well Jack, that’s why I’ve said 95 percent of them, and I’m sure there are corporations, especially the big ones, which are not interested only in making every year more money then the year before. And surely there are some who really care about people and not just for the sake of creating a kind of smoke screen and a fake good-heart identity. (I hope these words exists in English, wordreference isn’t helping me a lot with these terms).

And I’m also sure that Bill Gates played kindly and fairly with competitors and that he didn’t became a philantropist for tax benefits and protecting assets through a foundation. I’ve alsways found interesting that two of the richest men on Earth joined forces just to benefit the world.

But the way he monopolized pcs until the raise of Firefox, Thunderbird, Linux and Open Office I think explains a bit about how corporations think, generalizing a lot. While everyone at any stage of life can modify his behavior and improve I always doubt when a wolf becomes a lamb because usually it’s just to con watchdogs.

If we talk about the past I surely agree with you, people like Carnegie and such made a lot for others but as of today I really can’t think of a corporation who isn’t just there for the money. But given that I don’t know every corporation in the world this is just an opinion and biased due to a lack of knowledge. When it will happen that a Big Pharma company even if suffering from tiny annual profits will provide cures for diseases affecting a small number of people just because they need it I will surely change my opinion.

Who knows, given the infinite possibilities of existence there could even be a politician who is not there for the money, or the power. ;)

But you are right because there is always at least one exception to every rule and so there surely are corporations who are really ethical. Probably they should be known more as the world now seem to be ruled just by greed (I know, I’m generalizing again).

Have a great Sunday! And thanks for the answer. :)

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Felissa R. February 5, 2012 at

I’ve been a blogger how many years and saying that blogging is already dead is not substantial because many companies still rely on blogging to market their products and services. Are you sure their statistics and studies were accurate and reliable?

Thanks for the raising an eyebrow on this issue.

-Felissa

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Harriet February 5, 2012 at

Whoever said that blogging is dead is an idiot! What c lose minded thing to say. I see blogging just like teaching like you said, its ever evolving and I think its something that will continue evolve into the future.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Thanks Harriet! :)

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Christina Pappas February 5, 2012 at

I saw these articles too on this topic but also saw someone mention the churn in the companies that make up this list. To say that a certain percentage of the Inc 500 was blogging 3 years ago and to link that same list to the current list and determine a decline in blogging is just straight-up bologna. Blogging is not dead but I do see adoption is slow in some places.

The other day I have the fortune of listening to the CMO for LL Bean talk on his company and the strategy going forth. He mentioned that they just started a blog and even called himself out on being late to the game.

Fact is, this article on the Inc 500 is just crap. If they wanted to share an accurate stat, they should compare apples to apples. The make-up of the Inc 500 changes year over year and that is no way to start throwing out so-called trends.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

So, how do you really feel about the article Christina?? ;-)

You’re so awesome lady….thank you for saying it like it is!

Marcus

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Christina Pappas February 6, 2012 at

Never been on to hold back (sometimes it’s my downfall unfortunately). And it was crap to say that blogging is dead because of this… :)

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Laura February 6, 2012 at

It irritates me when someone says they published a blog but what they really mean is they wrote one post for a site. They think blog is the post, not the software. I’ve seen no corporate sites that were really useful. I go to a corporate site when I want to know something about a product they sell. Usually I have to hunt for the informatin. Then it is some basic, generic stuff that I really don’t need to spend my time reading. Most of the time I have to send them an email (IF I can find a way to contact them at all). Then I get a reply which just regurgitates the basic content from their site, the stuff I already read and found lacking. The email ignores my actual question. I’m sure they just have something set to pick up keywords and spit out replies. No real person is behind any of those sites or the emails. I don’t even bother to use corporate sites now. It’s a waste of time, I can spin my wheels while I was the dishes and feel I made better progress.

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Laura, awesome comment, loved your take here.

I agree that many folks see writing a post or two as “having a blog”, when it’s clearly not.

And furthermore, the hunt for answers to our questions on all of these behemoth sites is a crying shame, and perplexing in the very least.

Thanks so much for adding your thoughts Laura!

Marcus

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Daniel Rose February 6, 2012 at

Wow! That article didn’t go where I thought it would…
Great angle, and I totally agree (although there really are a bunch of crappy bloggers..)

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Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at

Glad you liked it Daniel! And thanks for stopping by. :)

Marcus

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Keith Baker February 6, 2012 at

Well, much like you’ve stated – marketers aren’t teachers. They don’t think like teachers, they don’t view their consumer as people – but think in dollars and cents and ROI.

At first I was going to ask “what do you expect them to do?” but I think you nailed it with teaching – communicating outward, informing – there is a lot companies could do that don’t necessarily revolve around generating as much revenue as possible.

I think that’s where the fashion industry has been able to win – they often (transparently!) employ fashion bloggers (people already passionate about that space, already have a small following) to help teach, educate and represent the brand.

Perhaps that’s the issue – brands need to look to their fans to drive that space – if they’re willing to give someone else a little creative freedom.

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Lisa Angelettie February 8, 2012 at

Hmmm Marcus,
I thought you were going to go in a different direction with this article. In my opinion, and this may be my totally entrepreneurial spirit reaching out, but I believe that “bloggers” for some of the big brands view what they do as a “job” and therefore are not teaching as passionately as an entrepreneur would on their own blog. The writing is matter of fact, technically sound, but lukewarm in passion. So perhaps statistically the big brands aren’t seeing results because they are not like you were saying “educating” their communities. At least not at a level that inspires action. Great job!
Lisa

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Marcus Sheridan February 9, 2012 at

“Lukewarm in Passion”…Amen to that Lisa, but hopefully folks like you and I can change that. ;-)

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Marcus

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Stephen Murphey February 15, 2012 at

This reminds me of the last company I worked for. They wanted every other blog post to specifically mention the company and it’s product. Ironically, the founder felt this was a good compromise (as opposed to every single post). Most of our posts were about the new products/features we released…and needless to say the blog was a total failure.

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Jason Fonceca February 25, 2012 at

Labels and language are powerful things, that can easily shift perspective

Seeing ‘blogging’ as ‘teaching’ (copyblogger-style-yo), is an extremely powerful thing.

I don’t imagine it would be very difficult to cite all the incredible trusted teachers throughout history, and have a company say “blogging/teaching is a stupid idea.”

:)

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Marcus Sheridan February 26, 2012 at

Hahahaha, so very well said my man. :)

Great seeing you Jason, hope all is well on your end,

Marcus

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Nora August 21, 2012 at

The blog is the spot on your web site where you can use story telling and a more informal tone rather than the corporate language you generally employ.

I’m referring to corporate blogs here. Own your content and keep it in/on your corporate real estate.

Make your Blog an easily accessible and overt area of your web site.

Publish with regularity. Do Not designate blogging to a young person who “understands social media better than you do”. Multiple people can author blogs – include bio information and a picture.

Blogs that live on corporate web sites – that are consistently delivering honest [non-advertising/marketing] content and imagery will bring their market closer. Building relationships, rapport and trust is the end game.

Ideas to get you going:
How you got into this business to begin with.
How you overcame a big hurdle and what you learnt.
Your opinion on recent events.
How you product test and what you learnt.
How you observe your world and what influences you.

You = thought leader of your company.

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Ben Landers July 23, 2013 at

Blogging is not a panacea. Neither is online content marketing. And I say this as someone that makes a living selling both and using both to grow our business.

Blue Corona was #174 on the 2012 Inc. 500 list and we maintain an active blog (and get hundreds of leads per month from it), but there are DOZENS of other ways to grow a business besides blogging and online content marketing.

Don’t rag on Inc. 500 companies that don’t blog. Some don’t have to. Some don’t want to.

How many companies do you own that have made the Inc. 500?

Maybe some of the Inc. 500 could learn something from content marketers, but I can say that virtually all non-Inc. 500 content marketers would learn a TON about business talking to those in the Inc. 500.

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Marcus Sheridan July 24, 2013 at

How many companies do I own Ben?? Seriously man?

This post isn’t a knock on the efficacy of the Inc 500 businesses, just a discussion about why many don’t get blogging.

But you’ve apparently elected to confuse the two, and get your pants in a knot because of it.

#YourChoice

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Inc. 500 March 24, 2014 at

Great post! Been reading a lot about different thoughts on this. Thanks for the info!

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