I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking on this blog and in other places about what to do and what not to do with a corporate blog. Here’s a short summary:
- Don’t regurgitate press releases. Do focus on content relevant to your industry
- It’s not all about you. It is a conversation.
- Don’t focus on marketing messages. Have a personal tone.
- Make sure the blog doesn’t get stale. A content roadmap can help you stay on track.
This morning I read Josh Bernoff’s Forrester Report, Time To Rethink Your Corporate Blogging Ideas, which focused on whether or not people trust corporate blogs. I was not surprised by the finding that only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs trust them. I don’t usually trust press releases, which tend to tell one side of the story (the company’s side) always in the best possible light and sometimes with so much spin you can’t find the meat of the announcement. Too many corporate blogs seem like a series of press releases, and I don’t trust those blogs. However, there are also many excellent corporate blogs written by people that I do trust.
I tend to agree with Richard MacManus on ReadWriteWeb:
To the larger point of whether corporate blogs are trustworthy, it depends on so many things that it’s difficult to make a sweeping judgement. For example, I trust some Microsoft blogs more than others – depending on the person blogging and perhaps even the department they work for. It depends on the style of blogging, the content that’s published, the way the blog is promoted, and so on. (Quoted from ReadWriteWeb)
Based on the recommendations in the report, I suspect that Josh agrees with us:
Like any other marketing channel, blogging can work. But it’s not about you; it’s about your customer. Our rule of thumb is that if the person reading the blog says, “Sure I don’t trust corporate blogs, but I don’t think of your blog that way,” then you’re on the right track. (Quoted from Time To Rethink Your Corporate Blogging Ideas)
Josh includes a few tips for improving the trust on your blog (his article has a few more tips and a paragraph with more explanation on each one):
- Blog about the customer’s problem.
- Blog to your hordes of fans.
- Blog about issues at the core of a community.
- For B2B companies, get your employees in on the act.
(Quoted from Time To Rethink Your Corporate Blogging Ideas)
The real message here is that trust has to be earned. Trust has to be earned for each new corporate blog and each individual blogger. Jeremiah Owyang put together an informal checklist to help you evaluate your current company blog. A great corporate blog can be a trusted source of information, but it takes real work and diligence to get to that point.
How’s your corporate blog performing?