In preparation for speaking to the SharpMinds group about Corporate Blogging, I've pulled together quite a few resources from many sites. I would be remiss if I didn't publicly thank them. As well, I'm providing a handout to folks with resources and links back to these folks' websites.
To tell you the truth, in the past I was against corporate blogging as a strategy. In fact, I penned the term clog because that's usually what happens when you try to be strategic or measured in a blog. It backfires on you. I've seen too many great examples of good corporate blogging to be against it anymore. Companies would really be making a mistake if they didn't leverage this technology into their overall communication plan.
Why have a Corporate Blogging Presence?
Of recent I'm beginning to notice many companies that appreciate what blogging provides their companies and their customers, specifically:
- Provides the company and their employees exposure as thought leaders in their industry.
- Improves the visibility of the company. In fact, according to some statistics, 87% of some visits to company websites make it there through blogs.
- Provides your employees, clients, and prospects with a human face to your company.
- It leverages the blogosphere and search engine technologies to improve your company's findability on the Internet.
How do you Execute:
To execute successfully, there is some great advice out on the net. Here are some examples:
- Think about putting together a blog committee that oversees the blogs, the content, pushes participation, and approves blogs for the company.
- Encourage your bloggers to read blogs and get their advice from blogs. Marketing and Press Release resources are viewed as impersonal and looked down upon by bloggers – usually because of the spin, insincerity and pre-approved content.
- Define a focused topic for your blog, it's purpose, and your ultimate vision. Communicate these on your blog effectively and figure out how to measure your success.
- Humanize your posts and tell the story. Storytelling is the most effective way of educating people on your post's message. Great storytellers always triumph.
- Participate and join your readers. Allow them influence and feedback on your topics and treat them with great respect. Participate in other blogs and link to them. It's a ‘sphere of influence' that you must connect to.
- Build trust, authority and your personal brand. Respond quickly and effectively. As you build trust, so will your company.
- Build momentum. Blogs aren't about the post, they are about the series of posts. The strongest blogs build reputation and credit by pushing important content regularly.
Here's my vision for the 3 axis a great blogging strategy encompasses, the Blogging Triangle:
One trackback commented on the post that design was missing from the overall strategy. When we talk about Corporate Blogging Strategies, I believe that design is very important – but predetermined by Marketing. I would hope that a corporation already has a great web design and presence before diving into blogging. If not, they best add it to the list!
What Risks are there?
In a not-to-recent book club meeting, we asked one of our attendees, an attorney, what the legalities were with regard to employees blogging. He said it was basically the same risk as that employee speaking anywhere else. In fact, most employee handbooks cover the expectations of those employees' actions. If you don't have an employee handbook that covers expected behavior of your employees, perhaps you should! (Regardless of blogging).
Here's a fantastic reference on the DO's and DON'Ts of blogging from a legal standpoint.
Some additional items to discuss:
- How will you deal with criticism, negative confrontations, and commenting? It's advisable to set expectations up front on how comments will be moderated and accepted on your blog. I would encourage a comment policy for any corporate blog.
- How will you ensure brand control? You don't need your bloggers messing with slogans, logos, or the voice of your brand. Make it hands off.
- How will you deal with your bloggers who aren't productive? Have your bloggers accept a policy before hand where participation is not only mandatory, but that falling behind will cost them exposure. Give 'em the boot! Maintaining a consistent output of topics is key to any blogging strategy.
- How will you deal with exposure of intellectual property that is key to the company's business?
Books to Read on the Topic:
- Corporate Blogging for Dummies – Written by me!
- The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right.
- Digital Aboriginal: The Direction of Business Now: Instinctive, Nomadic, and Ever-Changing.
- Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.
Corporate Blogging Advice and Resources
All of the information that I put together in this post was inspired through one of the many links above or in this list below. There were too many posts referenced to detail out here. I gathered as much information I could and attempted to put it together in a single post that would provide a great overview of several experts' viewpoints on corporate blogging strategies. I hope the owners of these blogs appreciate it – they deserve all the credit for this post!
I would encourage anyone visiting to spend time at each one of these blogs. They are incredible resources!
- How to Start a Blog
- Blogging Success Study by Northeastern University
- Communication Overtones
- Global Neighbourhoods
- Marketing Pilgrim
- The Squarespace Insider
- Diva Marketing Blog
- Creating Passionate Users
Corporate Blogging Examples
This post wouldn't be complete without providing some Corporate Blogging links. Some are official corporate blogs but I think it's important to look at unofficial corporate blogs as well. It provides some evidence that if you decide not to blog about your company or brand, someone else might!
- Jonathon Schwartz
- Microsoft Developer Network Blogs
- Official Google Blog
- Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google and SEO
- DreamHost Blog
- Unofficial DreamHost Blog
- From Where I Sit
- Yahoo Search Blog
Corporate Blogging Search Optimization
Businesses and consumers are researching their next online purchase through the consumption of content and corporate blogs provide that content. That said, there are steps you must take to both optimize your platform (typically WordPress) as well as your content. When you roll out the red carpet to Google, they index your content and extend the reach of your content significantly. Bryant Tutterow has written a series on optimizing your blog – be sure to read through it and call DK New Media if you need assistance.
Please feel free to comment and add your own favorite Corporate Blogging Links!