Corporate Blogging is Dead, Long live Content Marketing! – 2013 survey results

book-new-largeI am not certain that Google will maintain Google alerts for very much longer. It seems, to put it in Forbes’s words, that it is broken. There is another cool innovation from the olden times which is still working though, I mean Google web trends. I still find it very interesting to see how things evolved through the use, or disuse, of certain keywords in the Google search engine. Lately, I went back to Google in order to check what was happening to corporate blogs. The only thing I was able to find out, was a 2005 report on corporate blogging. Does that mean that corporate blogging is over? Not at all! It is now part of a much broader subject, named content marketing. In essence, content marketing is bit different from just corporate blogging and it is a much better term. The replies of the interest for content marketing over the past few months is showing that something is happening in the web world again. Maybe it is a sign that companies are now more interested in what they get from the content which they produce rather than just spend time producing it. Let us review the 2013 content marketing survey report which gives us some interesting insight into the use of content marketing in 2013 (courtesy


Interest for corporate blogs has clearly shifted from blogs to content

content masthead 900x200 2

Key Survey Findings by IMN

  • Content marketing was a medium or high priority for 90%
    of respondents …”  however, one may point out  that comparisons with the 2012 survey my IMN (the first in the series) is showing that the realisation that content marketing is important is fairly recent, even in the US,
  • “31% of respondents have had a content strategy in place for more than a
    year, with 18% stating they put one in place within the last year and 33%
    working on implementing a strategy” … as stated above, all these content marketing programs are still fairly recent and there is still room for improvement,
  • “67% of respondents use a newsletter to distribute content to their
    customers and prospects” …  this is namely true with regard to newsletters for which a great number of users are sending  them once a year therefore showing little or no understanding of how the medium is used,
  • “78% of respondents curate content; 48% having run into permissions /
    attribution issues during the process” … But 15% of respondents are worried that they could use copyrighted content on their own resources,
  • 44% of respondents cited lead generation as the most important goal of
    content marketing programs; an increase from 16% last year.


Awareness is widespread now. Content marketers are no longer regarded as zombies… well… I have a few recent counter examples but they are not American.


Increasing leads is clearly what makes corporations tick. Yet, my personal experience in that area shows that few are able to go beyond buzz words and stick to their guns. Lead generation is a difficult trade, it requires a lot of fine tuning, and stamina. A trial and error mentality must be adopted; typically something that large companies have trouble coping with … long term thinking!


Blogs are still here in that picture but they are not alone and part of an ecosystem. This makes perfect sense. An overarching strategy for marketing content must be adopted vs. piecemeal technical approaches which lead nowhere. Yet, if your blog is lousy, you are bound to go nowhere at all. The fundamentals must be remembered.


Success is shifting away from readership to leads. Well… in the States maybe, in Europe, we still have a long way to go!

Download the 2005 blogger survey

Creating and embracing a social media culture (ConAgra Foods)

ConAgra's Stephanie Moritz

Last month, on Nov 10, 2009 the 7th blogwell session took place in sunny Atlanta, Ga. (this is meant to be a joke for I have been twice to Atlanta so far and have seen a lot of rain not to mention flooding). Nearly a month later – and I am a little late for that – now that the dust has settled I wish to recap on some of the best sessions I was able to attend. Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra foods presented her company and its many brands of foods (Hebrew National, Egg Beaters, Peter Pan, Banquet, Slim Jim, Kid Cuisine, Healthy choice…), most of which are huge hits in the US although less or even not at all known in Europe (another tale-telling example of non globalisation; there are many examples of brands which are immensely successful this side of the Atlantic and unknown on the other side and vice versa).

Stephanie explained how a big brand like ConAgra could use Social Media to stir passion within its fans. Here are my notes from that session, the live transcript of which you can also find here courtesy of Gaspedal and the Social Media Business Council.

Embracing a Social Media Culture

By Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra foods, USA

Social Media is everywhere. It is now mainstream. Consumers refuse to be marketed at. They want to participate, they have a passion. The challenge is to adapt it within a large organisation. How do you create inspiring programmes for your customers? It takes:

  • Targeted manageable plan,
  • A plan that supports business goals,
  • A focus on consensus building:
    • Setting a plan that achieves and ties to your business objectives
    • How do your get champions on board?
  • Long term commitment:

    Phil Nieman from Gaspedal and Stephanie Moritz
  • 1st step: understand how social media fits in our culture and objectives. How can you amplify your PR effort using SM
    • Creating a masterplan: define clear business objectives and match them with the SM initiative
    • Enterprise-wide solution. Not just Marketing
    • Establish some guidelines before moving into that space
    • Building the foundation first and listen to conversations. Who Responding to consumers. Addressing issues in a transparent manner.
    • Getting to know the blogging community. We ourselves tried blogs and tried and understand => Building communities
  • 2nd step: getting senior management to become a champion (through CMO)
    • Digital immersion
  • 3rd step: create coalition: there wasn’t much budget or staff. Experts and specialists throughout the organisation have been identified. All cross functional teams were identified. Enthusiasm made it.
  • (Audit) Identified key bloggers and organised discussions on products and how they could work together.
    • Created a Twitter page, spent a lot of time on it
    • Created a facebook page
    • Benchmarks, listened to conversations
    • Attended blogger events and blogger media conferences for the sole purpose of listening

When should a brand use social media? Not everyone should jump on the bandwagon Benchmarks are carried out continuously Key to success:

  • Set clear goals,
  • Create enterprise-wide endorsement,
  • Determine roadmap,
  • Commit.
  • 5 tips for your b2b Social Media strategy

    note: this piece was originally published on behalf of bnet at

    Business brands using social media are starting to see the benefits. But are there any best practices they can use? Guessing that the average businessperson may not know where to start, George Krautzel and Bill Connfrom online agency have issued a whitepaper on that subject. Here are some ideas:

    1. Set objectives first. Don’t head on towards social media just because it’s hip. Who is your target audience and what are you trying to achieve. Are you using the right media outlets for the audience you want to reach?
    2. Build a roadmap to engagement. Start advertising on social media platforms and then slowly engage in conversations. “Entry in social media can be as simple as advertising in an online community”, as Conn and Krautzel point out.
    3. Examine the costs and benefits of building your own community, as opposed to tapping into existing communities.Building your own community is a lot more costly and exacting than joining an existing one that fits your needs.
    4. Transparency is a must. A marketer has to say that he is a marketer, and that’s that. A comprehensive guide to disclosure, as it’s often called, courtesy of the Social Media Business Council. So-called Flogs (fake blogs) are a no-go area,
    5. A good marketer listens to what is said about their brand. It’s inppropriate to control feedback, so you should be able to withstand criticism and use negative feedback to improve your service.

    I agree with most of’s advice, but I’d add a couple of caveats:

    • Words like “campaign” and “targeting” aren’t really appropriate for social media, in my view.
    • And whereas Toolbox advises you to get started with online advertising and then to learn how to engage in conversations, I’d do just the opposite. My ultimate best practice advice would be to ask permission and learn by doing, slowly but surely, one step at a time.

    I’ll be picking this theme up in a post soon, but in the meantime, you can download the toolbox social media whitepaper here.

    Let me know if you have any other tips to share.

    Blogcouncil is dead, long live Social Media Business Council!

    Of course, we knew already about it, but it’s been made public only recently that the late Blog Council has changed its name to Social Media Business Council (aka SMBC). We are very pleased to be able to relay that information (note: I am a proud member of smbc) and we wish our friend Bob (picture below) and the whole council a lot of successful un-conferences and blogwell meetings.

    The aim of the name change is I believe obvious, that is to say to send a clear message to the business community – and the social media community – that social media isn’t just about Corporate blogging, it’s about a much broader range of subjects and tools including micro-blogging, social networking and others. This however – I can almost hear a few giggles here and there – that Corporate blogging is over and that we made a mistake by promoting Corporate blogging. Nothing could be more false. It means that Corporate blogging is one of the tools – and a powerful one at that – and that it cannot stand on its own without a few others on the side.

    For your benefit, here’s the press announcement made by the Blog C… sorry, the Social Media Business Council 😉

    Blog Council becomes the Social Media Business Council, moves to
    Posted by on June 30, 2009
    Big news from all of us here at GasPedal and the newly renamed Blog Council: Our community for social media leaders at large companies has officially changed its name to the Social Media Business Council and has moved from to Here’s the press release with more details:
    Chicago, IL — The Blog Council, a community of social media leaders at large companies, has officially changed its name to the Social Media Business Council and will call its new online home.
    “Every day, our members share advice on how to build successful, scalable and self-sufficient social media programs,” said Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Social Media Business Council and its parent company, GasPedal. “This new name and domain better reflect the wide range of issues our community focuses on.”
    The name change was a collaborative effort, with members sharing dozens of name suggestions before selecting Social Media Business Council through a vote at Member Meeting 4 in New York City.
    • read more on the blog of the Social Media Business Council

    note: picture courtesy of on Flickr, this picture was made available by its author under the Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic creative common licence.

    media-aces: evangelising about Corporate social media in Europe blog now open is the blog which will underpin our new club of European social media enterprise experts. This isn’t just another blog about web 2.0, but the platform which we will use in order to evangelise about social media and how important it is in the business world.

    • read on at

    Blogwell #3 presentation by Nokia’s Molly Schonthal

    Blogwell in NYC (photo by Yann Gourvennec)

    The second blogwell presentation at Blogwell #3 which took place on April 29 in NYC, was that of Molly Schonthal from Nokia, who is in charge of social media for the Finnish cell phone manufacturer in the US, and also one of our representatives of the blog Council.

    Molly’s presentation was truly outstanding, there were so many questions and answers at the end of the presentation that I’ve had a hard time trying to keep track of them all, but a good many of them will be transcribed in this post anyway.

    The presentation was entitled “from broadcast to social media”. And it started with references to Tara Hunt’s latest book, “the Whuffie factor”, on which we have already had an opportunity to comment on this very blog (click here for an interview of Tara Hunt about her new book).

    Molly insisted on the fact that “what is difficult for a big company is ‘listening’, participating openly and respectfully.” It might in fact sound to be an obvious thing to do, but it’s not always for a large organisation, for it is so easy to be concentrated on one’s internal organisational issues and forget about one’s clients. So what are the changes as a big organisation is facing when trying to engage in different kinds of relationships with its customers and ecosystem?

    1.  One has to think, Molly says, not in terms of technological adoption, but of “psychological adoption”. Web 2.0, she says, is not difficult from a technical point of view, and it can be set up in a matter of seconds. But working with communities can take a lot longer than that.

    2.  Her second point is just about that, when she says that “building networks take time”. And, “it does not follow the principles of normal press relations”. She even coined the phrase “social release” which she opposed to press release. What it takes is actually creating messages that are relevant to influencers. And to stop and listen and engage. And she also insisted upon the fact that collaboration is about “cross functional interactions which are at the heart of success”.

    What Molly and Nokia’s teams have been able to achieve in the field of social media is just awesome. Here are just a few examples which I have been able to catch up on the catch on the fly:

    1. Nokia encouraged the widespread adoption of 2.0 tools internally,
    2. Nokia developed what they called an “infopedia” internally. This is some sort of Wikipedia, but it is internal. It was actually instrumental in getting Nokia employees to understand what a wiki is what a blog is etc.,
    3. Nokia also created a blog hub: all internal blog content was focussed in one place that is to say that access is granted to what employees are talking about, sharing thoughts and ideas,
    4. An internal webTV was also created, which is some sort of youtube which enables employees to upload, invent and discuss,
    5. externally, blogs have also been rolled out, therefore enabling conversations about Nokia products. They also created a platform called “blogbites”, which enables them to generate three-minute podcasts from existing text.”

    Engaging with influencers is also a very important item on the Nokia agenda, and they are engaging with them on events, such as SXSW09.

    Molly also insisted on what she called the blogger test centre tour which actually consisted in sending bloggers to two different countries. The stories were published in leading blogs such as Gizmodo, Techcrunch, the BBC etc. A 500,000 audience reach was achieved for that event in 2 geographical areas (the UK and Australia).

    As a conclusion Molly insisted upon the fact that one had to allow company culture to evolve, beyond “PowerPoint slides with bullets in them”. (Reminiscent of an article I published a long time ago with the help of Giancarlo, and which was entitled PowerPointitis)

    questions and answers

    1. how are you selecting bloggers for your events?

    Few people can be admitted in the test centre. Loads of explanations about temperatures were given (Nokia phones had to resist all kinds of temperatures, perform the lowest to the highest). The Nokia lab folks were also very excited about the idea and about the ability to interact with real people. The way that Nokia organised this was very straightforward. All Nokia had to do was to “invite them and be nice with them”.

    2. measurements?

    It is very hard to track results back to sales, Molly says. They do do some monitoring at Nokia, and then look at the number of people and followers (Nokia has more than 500 followers on twitter). Another question was, “how did you convince managers?” Molly responded to that: “our company understands the value of social media”, which is great support what she and her teams are doing at Nokia across the world for social media. She also insisted that social media produces soft numbers, which do not have to be linked to sales automatically.

    3. what is the hardest thing?

    The most difficult thing according to Molly Schonthal is to “listen well all the time”. It is hard to get an e-mail from a blogger/influencer, she says, because it always has to be taken as an emergency. “One has to stop,” she adds, it’s a “personal challenge”. Raising expectations is an issue (a phrase which I heard often times pronounced during this blogwell session). Planning is also a major issue: “one has to avoid formatting” she adds (mainly on twitter)

    4. what are your worries about accountability?

    Molly says that Nokia never “discloses private information, earnings, confidential information etc.” But that in the long run, some “of that could happen with maturity” and that “Nokia’s people and managers are not hindered by fear”. (I take this opportunity to link back to the minutes of a previous blogwell session in San Jose which was facilitated by Ken Kaplan from Intel about fear and social media)

    5. how do you handle comments?

    “You cannot say you’re open and honest and stop people from saying things” Molly rightfully points out. So, you will have to assume that some of the comments won’t always be coming your way and you’ll have to take it like a man.

    6. what is the difference between press and social media release?

    Molly says that social media release comes with some video plus a bunch of pictures and multimedia files to download and text which is more appropriate for blogs. It is true that more and more packages such as these are made available on the market by agencies on behalf of big businesses.

    8. what about smaller bloggers?

    There is more than one approach, Molly says, and we hope to do it again with more folks.

    9. responding to external comments?

    Molly says that you have to ask yourself two questions:

    • one: do you have to respond to it? The answer may not always be yes
    • two: disclosure: “this is Molly from Nokia, and this is my personal opinion.” Is the phrase which should be used (I would also recommend that you go back to and these recommendations on disclosure)

    why big business needs social media … under certain conditions


    Kogart House in Andrassy Ut in Budapest - Digital Marketing Forum 2009


    On May 5, 2009 I was invited to deliver a presentation at the Digital Marketing Forum in Budapest, Hungary. The seminar was chaired and facilitated by fellow LinkedIn networker, Marketing expert and professional presenter Davig Hughes (apparently an amateur surfboarder too). 

    The presentation is also made available online at