Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why you need your own blog

Everyone’s talking about corporate blogging. It’s a great way to create broader, deeper relationships with clients, prospects, or any other stakeholders you target. But is it for your business?

You bet, says Mark Kingdon, CEO of Organic, a U.S.-based digital marketing agency. His employees maintain a blog on digital design, and he himself recently started an in-house blog for employees. He’s not sure why only 5% of Fortune 500 companies maintain corporate blogs, but he thinks you should have one. “Coupled with your Web site, it's a great way to create a dialogue with customers and employees.”

In a recent news release, he offered these 8 lessons from his blog’s first year:

* Designate an editor. Corporate blogs need an editor to monitor the blog and ensure posts pass whatever standards you set.

* Have a purpose. Yes, a blog is a reflection of your company, but it's a less formal communication medium so you should experiment, take feedback, and adapt your blog as you learn.

* Content is king. What makes a good post? An honest perspective; a fresh point of view, provocative thinking about an issue, trend, or technology; and real news all make good posts.

* Develop a content engine. It's hard for just one writer to produce a lot of high-quality content. A dozen or so people inside our agency post regularly on our blog.

* Have an editorial policy. Some blogs allow people to post whatever they want. We have an editorial policy inside the agency that's quite simple: if you wouldn't be comfortable sitting around a dinner table discussing the content of your blog posting with your mother, your largest client, your best friend, your boss, and your mentor, then you probably shouldn't post it.

* Experiment, learn, and evolve. The Web is a constantly evolving medium, and we try new things all the time. If something isn't working, we pull it off… Ultimately, a blog is a journey, not a destination, and should evolve as your readership changes and grows.

* Make it a core part of your marketing strategy. At first, our corporate blog was an experiment. We kept it quiet as we built the foundation. Then, we added our blog address to our marketing materials, e-mail signatures, and main site. Today, we dedicate half of our home page to it. As people link to our blog and we link to theirs, our presence in the blogosphere grows.

* Be patient and watch your audience grow. When we started, we had tens of hits a day, mostly from inside the agency. Traffic is growing steadily, thanks to increased citations from others, e-mail list growth, and RSS feeds. Now, over 3,000 people read the blog every week with staffers representing only 15 percent of the total.

"Corporate blogs are the new faces of business,” concludes Kingdon. “Customers, employees, and those interested in your business want authentic dialogue, real insights, and a fresh perspective. Give it to them with a blog.”

To get started, ask the youngest employees in your company. They may already blog, and they can get you up and running in an hour for free.

I am working on my own treatise on corporate blogging. If you’d like to see it, email me and I will send you a copy when it’s done. Rick (at) Rickspence.ca

1 comment:

Dave Forde said...

If blogs are part of this "New Web" or "Web 2.0" then should we be looking at some new ways of doing things as well? I agree with most of Mark's posts except for "Designate an editor". While it is true that someone should be assigned to monitor the blog and any other blogs about the brand and/ or company. Shouldn't a blog also be used to connect with customers and prospects whether they have something positive or negative to say?
If you cut off their voice, can a company truely grow and have people rally around it?