Corporate Eye

1 in 2 Americans Read Brand Blogs

blog with mouseBrand blogs are more popular than you might think. According to research from managed WordPress hosting provider WP Engine, 46% of Americans read their favorite brands’ blogs and those brand blogs are influencing consumers’ perceptions of brands and their purchase decisions.

WP Engine found that one in two Americans say that it’s important for brands to publish blog content with one in five saying they’re satisfied with any branded content that isn’t overly self-promotional with the intent to sell products or services. Even more respondents to the WP Engine survey (two in five Americans) say they actually prefer reading content on a brand blog rather than via a third party magazine or website.

In fact, the majority of Americans say they want to read brand content, including brand blogs. They’re primarily looking for brand content that focuses on important issues (27%). On the flip side, nearly everyone (96% of survey respondents) claimed they do not want to read or view content that shows celebrities using branded products. They want useful information from brands. In fact, 32% of respondents identified the top benefit of brand blogs as enabling them to keep up with current information.

To add more evidence that brand blogs are essential parts of an integrated marketing plan today, two out of five respondents to the WP Engine survey agreed that brands that don’t publish blogs are negatively impacted. In all, 19% of respondents believe that brands that don’t publish blogs lose an important tool to communicate with consumers while 12% believe that not having a blog makes the brand look lazy. One in 10 respondents believe that a missing brand blog means the brand is less relevant to consumers.

Of course, publishing a brand blog is only the first step in leveraging a blog as a brand building tool that indirectly drives purchases, loyalty, and advocacy. Think about what your blog says about your brand. Remember, the research shows that consumers want useful information from brand blogs. They actually use that information when making purchase decisions. However, they do not want content that directly sells products and services. Direct marketing on your brand blog is a guaranteed path to failure in consumers’ minds. For consumers, failure also comes when a brand doesn’t have a blog at all, so you can’t get out of this one. Your brand needs to be present. It needs to publish useful original content, and it needs to leave the sales pitches out.

Can you do it?

Image: Svilen Milev

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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