The Art of Corporate Blogging

Last week I cam across a great blog post titled “7 Reasons Why Corporate Blogs Are Absolutely Useless.” Eventhough I disagree with the author, Ben Jones, I find the post thought provoking. Please find the 7 reasons from Ben’s blog (http://ben-means-business.com) and my response following the excerpt:

Reason#1: Fear of Transparency

People who read blogs expect to “know” the author, and participate in discussions with the author and other readers. They enjoy an atmosphere that is genuine and has a “living room” feel. In other words, they expect you to acknowledge problems, fixes, and incidents instead of using your blog to further validate cover-ups. Remember, PR ploys are for people who read the newspaper. Blog readers are a different breed and they respect and embrace what’s “real”.

Reason#2: Infrequent Posting

Even if you’ve created great content on your blog, people will stop visiting after they drop by a few times and there’s nothing new. A blog requires time to maintain and is important enough to assign somebody to the task exclusively.

Reason#3: Too Much Advertising

Advertisements, product introductions, and the like are great material for blogs. However, don’t overdue it. Remember, you have a website to market your great products. You have a blog to market your great company. Don’t confuse the two.

Reason#4: Blog is Just Plain Boring

Doesn’t have to be stocked full of information…Give them a peek “inside” the company. Tip: Post pictures from company gatherings, employee awards, run contests, polls, etc… Just make it interesting.

Reason#5: Blog Doesn’t Allow Feedback

Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought that blogs were meant to create discussion. If not, what makes them different from a website? Needless to say, I was absolutely floored to find that most corporate blogs don’t allow comments. Interesting…to say the least.

Reason#6: Lack of Participation

People want the chance to hear you respond to their thoughts, concerns, feelings, etc… It’s makes your customers feel like they matter. Don’t just ask their opinion and leave them hanging. Respond, and do so with grace, confidence, and a nice disposition.

Reason#7: Blog Lacks Substance

Your company already has arms, legs, and feet(yours and your employees), but none of those things are more important and/or powerful than having a voice. A blog gives your company a voice. So value that voice and use it with purpose.” (http://ben-means-business.com/7-reasons-why-corporate-blogs-are-absolutely-useless, June 16, 2008.)

I responded as follows:

First-rate blogging organizations benefit both the organizations and their customers. Well done corporate blogs are dynamic; they provide value to the public (hopefully future customers), but the blog has no value unless the public utilizes it, thus the organization must convince the public to choose to read it (while not seeming self-serving). The best strategy to direct people to a corporate blog without seeming self-serving is to create one which is NOT self-serving; create value for the public, embrace and promote participation, interact with the readers (reply to comments), and DO NOT promote. The best corporate blogs artfully present problems, which they have the ability to solve, and provide a piece to the solution. For many, the piece is good enough to independently solve the problem, but others will research further into the corporate blogger and become quality leads. The small sample of corporate blogs I’ve read impress me, and I’ve learned some great knowledge from them. One blog continuously comes to mind while typing this post: HubSpot out of Cambridge, MA… http://blog.hubspot.com/.

I am interested in knowing others thoughts and feelings about corporate blogging. Please utilize the comments section for your opinions.

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4 Responses to The Art of Corporate Blogging

  1. Mike Volpe says:

    We’re glad you like the HubSpot Blog! I agree with you that a company blog – if done right – is a very effective marketing tool. Our blog gets as much traffic as our company website, which means by blogging effectively we have doubled our total website traffic. Our blog visitors also convert into leads, and we have closed new customers from the people who first found us through our blog. Over the past 2 years, we have accumulated 5000 blog subscribers, our blog has been nominated for 2 SEMMY awards (a marketing industry blog award) and is in the AdAge Power 150, meaning that we’re one of the top marketing blogs in the world.

    If Ben’s point were that most companies do a bad job of blogging, I might agree. But his point seems to be that companies cannot blog effectively. And Ithink you are right to really question that…

  2. Ben Jones says:

    @ Mike

    My point was that most companies do it badly. However, I tried to use the opportunity to provide a teaching tool for anybody that may be thinking about starting a blog for their company. This effort might have belittled my original point but I think it was necessary none the less.

    @ Author (sorry, didn’t see your name)

    I’m glad you found the post thought provoking. The responses have been mixed but that was to be expected. Just thought that writing from the negative side would be an interesting way to teach aspiring corporate bloggers the “no-no’s”. -) I do also genuinely believe that the vast majority of corporate blogs don’t do it effectively. However, I have been introduced to a few that do(ie…Hubspot) and I was glad to see it. Thanks for your participation. Your opinions are welcome and much appreciated at Ben Means Business.

  3. thebostonentrepreneur says:

    Mike,
    I’m glad the HubSpot Blog is being recognized for its value. It’s clear HubSpot puts effort into making the blog informative while not seeming self-serving. I believe this is why HubSpot has success in converting blog traffic into paying customer.

    Ben,
    I think I find your post thought provoking because it IS written in the negative point-of-view. If it was written in the positive (giving the “Do’s” of corporate blogging) then it would be bland and less intriguing. I enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work!!!

    -Eric Shooman
    The Boston Entrepreneur

  4. Generally speaking, what’s different about Corporate Blogging vs. individual or citizen journalism…is that you should focus on repeat visits. The vast majority of blog visitors come once.

    This is not a bad thing. Like the first commenter mentioned, the traffic most blogs generate is from search engines. Blogs are a great way to introduce yourself and your. Other tactics like email or downloads are the mechanisms to convert that traffic into leads or customers.

    Best,

    Chris Baggott
    CEO
    Compendium Blogware
    http://www.compendiumblogware.com

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