Who wants to read a blog that sucks? No one! But you’ve heard that “you’ve gotta be on line or your business will fail!” Possibly, but here are some essentials to know before you start a corporate blog (or please go back and fix the one you have). Please pay attention so you don’t join the ranks that suck:
- Who is it for? Your company? Your family? Or your consumer?
- Who is writing it? A sterile, objective, company-speak clone is boring. Who cares!?
- What is it’s purpose? Conversation? Selling? (ick!) Caring? Sleep inducement? What’s the point?
- (How) Do you actively connect people with your blog?
- Censorship sucks. Don’t do it.
Connect with the people who care: Some corporate blogs I’ve seen are more for their employees than for the general public. That’s a great use for blogs, connecting large company workers with each other via news, events, related resources, etc. The Cisco blog seems to be aimed directly at it’s detainees, I mean employees. From a source that used to work there and write for the blog, emphasis was on quantity, not quality; there is also a “…Corp Editing group [to] look over posts and stuff.” (said a nex-employee/blog writer from Cisco) We all need a great editor, but when they end up scrubbing content clean of any personality, controversy or interest, why bother writing at all?
The voice of the writer(s) is critical. On line social networking, (of which blogging is one tool) requires the person (that’s the social part) to engage and be engaged in the conversation. All parts of that person, engaged. No, they don’t have to go offending or picking fights everywhere they write, but can you imagine Mark Twain with an editor like you’d find at a corporate blog? You won’t engage readers at all without questioning: who they are, how things are done, what comes next or without going out on a limb. And certainly if you’re not interested in what you’re writing, no one else will be either. Get some grit, character, humor, opinions and style.
Purpose is always an obvious stop before doing anything, but easy to skip over if you don’t actually DO it. I don’t recommend that a blog’s purpose be to sell anything. It is a place for conversation, to engage your audience, learn about them, find out what they think and communicate the back story, the interesting pieces about your world that you can’t get out there in other ways. The more you engage them the more meaningful your blog will be.
Comments: Who is commenting and how often? Comments are like air for many bloggers. It is that exchange that brings meaning to the writing. Otherwise, who cares? Yes, there are hundreds or thousands of readers who never comment. But the ones that do engage are like gold. They are your barometer helping you measure your audience, your content and your direction. We’re not yodeling on a mountain top for our own pleasure. We’re engaging the smart and savvy participant with the content we are passionate about. Get the word out, share your content and seek others who are excited about the same topics you are excited about. They are your community.
Finally, without being overdramatic, if you can’t write about what you care about, if you can’t write what you really think, then don’t write at all. Restricting the subjects you can talk about I believe contradict the whole point of engaging. Sometimes I think that corporate blogs are an oxymoron…and can’t really be interesting and engaging. Feer free to prove me wrong.
A couple good corporate blogs (no, they’re NOT easy to find):
There are too many to list that don’t provide anything interesting or worth the paper they aren’t printed on. Besides, I fell asleep perusing them and drooled into my keyboard and short it out. (ok, not really). But I couldn’t resist these few blogs that suck below:
One blog I was so hopeful about when I found it was Guinness. But it gets a FAIL from me because you have to lie and say you’re from the UK just to get in! Otherwise, I’d subscribe.
And GM continues to have conversation but NOT about anything current, pressing, or truly urgent! Like their own bailout.
Comcast gets a FAIL! for not having a blog. They seem to need one. Not that that would actually help.
I admit I have an affinity for independent bloggers. At the same time, I’d like to see them (us) achieve a level of readership, acknowledgement and participation in our industries rivaling the rest of the press. No, we’re not exactly press, but as influence shifts to include bloggers and online social media sources, we’d like to see businesses react accordingly. Many are. It is exciting to watch communities connect and more communities create themselves based on shared passions and interests.