Yes and no. Many corporate blogs are neglected, dull, and unimaginative, but they don’t have to be like this.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Many businesses have launched corporate blogs in an effort to better communicate with customers and capture a little Web-2.0 mojo. But Huffington Post they ain’t: Not only are these corporate blogs boring as paint, but the businesses behind admit they don’t have much value. (quoted from the WSJ Business Technology blog)
The WSJ article also refers to a Forrester report (I don’t have access to Forrester data):
Forrester found that most B2B blogs are “dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion.” Seventy percent stuck to business or technical topics, 74% rarely get comments, and 56% simply regurgitated press releases or other already-public news. Not surprisingly, 53% of B2B marketers say that blogging has marginal significance or is irrelevant to their strategies—the rest call it somewhat or highly significant–and the number of new corporate blogs among the companies Forrester tracks has dropped from 36 in 2006 to just three in 2008. (quoted from the WSJ Business Technology blog)
This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen many corporate blogs that were as dull as dirt: filled with press release content, marketing fluff, and old content. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Corporate blogs can be interesting and useful with a little focus and time devoted to it.
Here are a few tips to help turn your boring corporate blog into something successful
- Have a person who is responsible for your blog (probably part of someone’s job). He or she will need to be responsible for driving (but not necessarily writing all of) the content for the blog. Nagging and writing will be a big part of this person’s job.
- Create a content roadmap to map out the next 5-10 posts, identify an author for each post, and make sure that the author has everything needed to complete the post (data, etc.)
- Diverge from the content roadmap frequently to allow for serendipitous blogging.
- Monitor popular blogs, news sources, and events in your industry and respond to what others are saying. Join the conversation.
- Focus on thought leadership. Blog about the things in your industry where your employees have expertise that can be shared with the world. Don’t just talk about your products; focus on your entire industry.
- Talk about a variety of topics. Don’t get stuck in a rut where all of your posts have essentially the same or similar content.
- Monitor and respond to comments on your blog. Also monitor what people are saying about you on other blogs, forums, Twitter, etc. and respond where appropriate.
- Have fun. Don’t be so serious. You can include interesting things that are happening within your company that aren’t necessarily work related (photos from a company ski trip).
There are a few companies that do a good job of corporate blogging from a content perspective.
- Vidoop. A wide variety of employees pitch in on the corporate blog (not just the execs) to talk about a wide variety of topics. You’ll find some very interesting perspectives and thoughts about their industry (OpenID, identity, etc.) mixed in with links to important industry news, interviews, new features, announcements, site maintenance, and more. One of the more interesting topics lately is a series describing their move from Tulsa, OK to Portland, OR.
- Google. While this blog has a lot of posts that look like they could be press releases for new products, most of them don’t read like press releases. Google has a pretty good mix of product pieces along with general information (keeping kids safe online, fighting spam, etc.) and a few fun posts about activities that Googlers participate in.
- Southwest. Along with announcements about when booking opens for the winter holiday flights, the Southwest blog talks about environmental concerns, awards, burgers, beer, and water balloons.
- Zappos. This is probably one of the most fun corporate blogs I’ve seen in a while. They talk about the origin of French heels, running tips, history of the penny loafer, baby quail, rock band, Mexican food, and much more.
I have noticed that corporate blogs, even many of the good ones, tend to get fewer comments than other types of blogs, but I’m not sure that the number of comments is a good measure for the success of a corporate blog. I would be curious to hear in the comments whether others have noticed a similar trend. Does it matter how many comments you get on a corporate blog post?
With a little effort, you can have a successful corporate blog. It just takes focus, dedication and resources; however, the payoff in search engine optimization and thought leadership in your industry is well worth the time and effort to put together a great corporate blog.
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