I was having lunch with an old colleague (and dear friend) a few weeks ago and the subject of social media came up. He asked me, "Are blogs passé?"

My immediate response was, "Heck no! My mom knows what a blog is!"

You see, to this day, I dictate how successful I am based on if my mom's knowledge of an industry or client. A new client is a huge deal is she's heard of them; I've been successful in elevating a client's awareness in the media if she sends me an article regarding their industry, etc.

But, I digress.

The real answer to the question is...kinda.

Mainstream America
Blogs are just hitting their stride with mainstream America. They're becoming, ahem, mainstream.

A new blog is born every 3 seconds and Forrester Research says there has been a 300 percent growth in monthly blog readership over the past four years.

And that growth/customer base is critical to Corporate America. According to the Forrester study, blogs factor in to critical stages of the purchase process. Readers of blogs are 3x more likely to make a purchase based on a blog post. And that's not where a blog's influence stops. A blog is used in every step of the purchasing process:
  • Decide on a product or service: 21 percent
  • Refine choices: 19 percent
  • Get support and answers: 19 percent
  • Discover products and services: 17 percent
  • Assure: 14 percent
  • Inspire a purchase: 13 percent
  • Execute a purchase: 7 percent

Early Adopters
Now, the flipside of that answer is that, yes, blogs are becoming passé with the early adopters of social media. There are a lot of options to directly--and immediately--interact with our target audiences. Twitter is the latest and greatest social media "experiment." I like to explain it as public instant messaging, but it's really deeper than that...which I'll save for another blog post.

Bottom line: Blogs are still a critical part of a company's social media plan.