If you’re familiar with digital marketing, you probably know about the value of a corporate blog. In 2016, 80 percent of B2B respondents to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual survey said their company uses a blog and 52 percent said that blogs are the most critical content marketing tool to their company’s success. But how did we get here?

In the Beginning

In the mid to late 1990s, with the rise of other types of websites, weblogs or blogs, started to come about. The first is commonly attributed to Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore University. These early blogs mimicked personal journals or diaries and chronicled topics of interest to the author.

Blogging gave everyone the power to be a journalist, and before long, the business of blogging exploded. By the turn of the century, employees began to write about topics for work. One of the earliest company blogs was a volunteer-run site by employees at Microsoft. The company would go on to establish an official blog, Channel 9 by 2004.

Content is King

During the first decade of the 2000s, content marketing exploded across digital channels. Social media sites, websites, email, and other electronic media made generating unique content easy and cost effective. Although the practices of content marketing had been around for years, by 2010 it had a name and identity.

Owned Content

Blogs are often the cornerstone of content marketing strategies for a number of reasons. First is they usually live on the brand’s own website, so they are considered owned content. Blogs are very easy to manage in-house with the right editorial team. They are also flexible. Blogs can announce new products, introduce key executives, explain trending topics, and more. Lou Hoffman of the Hoffman Agency also explains that “corporate blogging puts a face on a company.” It helps develop the brand’s voice.

So what’s next for corporate blogs?

The Future

As content marketing grows in sophistication, we can only expect blogging to evolve as well. Perhaps blogs will replace some forms of outbound communication like press releases or company memos. Perhaps niche corporate blogs will foster the creation of subcultures like Tumblr. Many blogs work hand-in-hand with social media platforms to offer two-way communication between brands and their consumers.

How do you see blogging evolving in the future?