Twitter may be the all the rage, but it's not yet time to pull the plug on your corporate blog and stop monitoring all the blogs where people talk about your brand. The emergence of Twitter as a hyper-popular social-media tool for marketing is not the death knell of the conventional blog; if anything, it highlights just how necessary blogs still are.

Communicating in short, 140-character bursts has its own advantages—namely that brands can get their point across quickly and efficiently to a key group of followers. But classic blogs offer a different, and still important, medium for marketers looking to connect with customers, partners, and the wider public.

In fact, every marketer today should be using a two-pronged blog strategy: creating and maintaining a fresh and engaging corporate blog, and third-party blog monitoring. Creating your own content is important, but so is monitoring—and responding to—the conversations taking place about your brand on blogs and forums across the Web.

The first part of your blog strategy—your corporate blog—is all about relevance and discoverability.

As every marketer knows, the biggest risk with blogs is a lack of relevant and timely publishing. If you don't post timely, punchy, informative posts, your blog will likely be poorly read and won't be found by search engines.

Your goal is not to obtain momentary awareness but to maintain relevancy over the long term for your target audience. You need to use buzz-monitoring tools to find out what customers are talking about—what interests them right now—and then use your blog to write about these subjects. (And don't hesitate to incorporate a few important keywords aligned with your search engine discoverability goals.) This quest for prolonged relevancy, and deeper interaction with your customers, is what your corporate blog can still help you accomplish.

The second part of your blog strategy—third-party blog monitoring—is all about community engagement.

Recent research finds that trusted information sources, offline and online, are given greater credence by decision-makers than paid advertisements. People online are likely already talking about your brand, your clients' brands, and your competitors as well.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clay McDaniel is principal and cofounder of social-media marketing agency Spring Creek Group (www.springcreekgroup.com).