According to JupiterResearch (via Search Engine Watch), 34% of large companies and 15% of Fortune 500 companies blog. That’s quite a bandwagon. Before you jump on board, though, you should know what you’re getting into. Here are seven essential tips to keep in mind as your company enters the corporate blogging arena.
- Don’t be afraid. If a blog can benefit your company, you’ll do more harm by never trying than you will by messing up. The technology won’t stop gaining acceptance just because you don’t have the familiarity or willingness to use it. The important thing is to get out there. If you do mess up, learn from your mistakes and keep going.
- Establish goals. Just as bad as starting a corporate blog for the wrong reasons is starting one without clear goals. Do you want to have a voice in your industry? Develop your brand? Enhance your public relations efforts? Your blog should have a clear purpose that coincides with your company’s values.
- Don’t market; converse. To be successful, a corporate blog must be a conversational tool, not a propaganda engine. This means ditching the advertising and press releases in favor of engaging content. Imagine walking into a car dealership. Who would you rather talk to, an amicable salesman with a genuine interest in your wants and needs, or a pushy salesman whose only interest is selling you the biggest, most expensive car on the lot? Who would you recommend to your friends when they go car shopping?
- Provide value. Nobody will engage or subscribe to a blog that doesn’t provide valuable content. Know your readers. What are their interests? How do those interests relate to your products and services? What do they want to know about your company? Determine the topics that will offer the greatest value and structure your blog around them.
- Build relationships. The purpose of engaging your audience is to build relationships. This means being a part of the conversation. Listen to feedback through comments, trackbacks, and emails. Address customer concerns through open dialogue. Reach out to other bloggers in your niche through links and comments. By developing relationships with your customers, you help build their trust in your brand.
- Be human. Customers don’t want to talk to faceless corporations; they want to talk to people. Don’t just write; tell stories from your unique perspective from within the company. Share opinions, not sales pitches. When you mess up, admit your mistakes. Never forget that you represent the company, but censor posts with care to preserve their personal voice. Your company’s culture must be flexible enough to accommodate this level of personality if the blog is to succeed.
- Be positive. It is often said that the greatest bloggers have thick skin, and with good reason. The blogosphere is an open forum for criticism and outright negativity. Despite this, your corporate bloggers should take it in stride, respond constructively, and attempt to turn every conversation in a positive direction. Nothing good can come of giving into the temptation to respond to your critics with negativity.
Most of this list was collected from the following articles:
- A New Marketing Medium (from destinationCRM)
- Company Blogging 101 (from Matt Cutts)
- Corporate Blogging: Is it Worth the Hype? (from Backbone Media)
- Corporate Blogging Isn’t About the Media (from Bruce Clay)
- Getting the Most Out of Your Corporate Blog (from Online Marketing Blog)
- Reasons Why Corporate Blogging Fails (from SEOmoz)
- Seven rules for corporate blogging (from Rough Type)
- The Corporate Weblog Manifesto (from Scobleizer)
- The Secret Sauce for Any Corporate Blog on Micro Persuasion (from Micro Persuasion)
- What Do You Look for in a Blog? and Why Corporations Truly Need to Blog (from Marketing Pilgrim)