b Blogging has caught on as a top marketing channel in most industries, with eMarketer data indicating nearly half of companies will run a blog for marketing purposes by 2012.

Blogging has caught on as a top marketing channel in most industries, with eMarketer data indicating nearly half of companies will run a blog for marketing purposes by 2012. Still, a separate report from Wickware Communications suggests financial service providers may be behind the times – and missing leads – as they fail to produce marketing blogs.

According to the study, which polled more than 150 North American finance businesses, only 10 percent of firms said they operated regularly updated blogs. Financial companies are also slow to adopt other social platforms. Only 15 percent use Facebook and YouTube, while less than one-tenth (8 percent) utilize Twitter.

Wickware noted that many businesses in the finance industry had trouble differentiating from competitors – an issue that may stem directly from their lack of branded content and social media usage. Firms can use social networks, blogs and content marketing to help create a brand identity that resonates with prospective clients.

“You need to develop a message that tells your audience what makes you different, why you do what you do and, most importantly, how you can help them. Once you have that message in place, you can expect to see better results from all your communications,” Cara Crosetti, account director and research lead at Wickware Communications, asserted.

A separate study conducted by HubSpot shows clear benefits from frequently updating blogs. As Brafton reported, 57 percent of marketers say they acquired new customers via blogs. While 33 percent that updated their blogs monthly generated new customers, 89 percent that did so multiple times per day garnered leads.