Corporate Blogging Tip
Josh Chambers, Former Viget
Steph and I just had an IM discussion about corporate blogs, and we thought we'd share it with you. Why? Because it is a frequent topic of conversation in the Viget Marketing Lab.
When a company decides to "get relevant" in the online space, a blog is usually the first thing they think of -- which is understandable as the ubiquity of blogs engenders visions of attainability and low risk. The company may already have "News and Events" content, so it sort of makes sense to just transition that content into a blog, right?
Here is the IM conversation, and I close with a summary in case you want to skip straight to the bottom. Check it out (as a disclaimer I had to remove a few pieces that were client specific, and alter a few lines so it makes sense. And please excuse the grammar, and occasional inside joke):
Steph H: question
Josh C: talk to me
Steph H: so in a wireframe i posted to for a client, i encourage them to NOT have a "news and events" section but a "blog" instead, where they essentially do everything they'd do in a news and events section but they just are more up-to-date about it. they also want to make sure their content is able to be syndicated
Josh C: so, they’d like to make sure their content can be subscribed to, emailed, and used as press releases
Josh C: although if they're just gonna post content like events and news, that might make for a sub-par blog. do you feel good about what they could do with it?
Steph H: i don't think it's going to be dynamic enough at this point, but it could grow feasibly.
Josh C: right now, if that's the only content they can produce; keeping it in "news and events" might make more sense
Josh C: here's an example of "news and events"
Steph H: is that interesting?
Josh C: nope
Josh C: but again, if that's the only content they can produce; keeping it in "news and events" might make more sense
Steph H: but, having it as a blog at least allows people the ability to post back comments and help to shape the client's postings.
Josh C: but who wants to post back comments on that type of content?
Steph H: ...and people might want to read about news and events if they seem more timely, which i think a blog inherently communicates
Steph H: plus, if there is an event going on and someone went to it and it sucked, let's give them the opportunity to say so. right? wrong?
Steph H: bueller?
Josh C: i agree for the most part. however:
Josh C: blogs are inherently more about the community than about the writer. corporate blogs are allowed to have more of a self-serving feel--but not much more. if a blog only offers info about the company that adds no value to the reader, just have a calendar of events.
Steph H: i hear you and mostly agree
Steph H: but ultimately they want it to be more engaging
Josh C: agreed - if they can produce that additional content
Steph H: phew
Steph H: high five
Josh C: double high five
Josh C: they need some training
Josh C: tubular. time for push-up club.
Steph H: omg. omg. let's do this.
(So...Steph inserted the last two lines when editing...I would never say "tubular" on purpose. I may, or may not, have inserted the "omg's")
A more (hopefully) eloquent Summary: Blog readers can quickly sniff out narcissism, and (rightfully so) get frustrated if they sense that vibe. People want blogs that add value to the community, and if a blog only contains upcoming events and press releases, that could feel narcissistic and engender very little customer dialogue. There are exceptions, but this is a good rule of thumb.
If you're a company and want to start blogging, make sure your content serves the community, not just your own initiatives. If you're willing to invest in producing content that serves the community, a few events and "press releases" are fine. However, if your content isn't blog content -- if it's more about you than the reader -- don't start a blog.
This is, of course, just one of many factors involved in corporate blogging. Our client, Debbie Weil, has a great list of corporate blogs for you to check out, and if you're not sure what your next move should be, why not ask?