Get Real with Corporate Blogging

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Social Media

I was recently quoted in an iMediaConnection article entitled 9 Keys to the Perfect Corporate Blog. The author, Michael Estrin, provides some great best practices and examples for any marketer looking to launch or improve a corporate blog. My example from his article is about Starbucks, a corporation that uses its blog to solicit ideas for new products, and then enables its loyal customer base to provide feedback at various stages of development.

starbucks-corporate-blog

I wanted to provide some additional best practices companies should consider before taking the plunge into the branded blogosphere:

Voice is a vital consideration. Social media in general and blogging specifically shouldn’t echo corporate messaging. Corporate speak is a turn-off in online B2C releationships, and social media tends to reject anything disingenuous. This is the human face of the company. Be human. Be vulnerable. Be real. Take time every day to respond to comments. Sites with easy two-way communication get more traffic.

The blog should have a purpose beyond announcing specials and re-hashing press releases. The big idea behind the blog should be worthy of its own press release (at minimum) at the time of its launch and should have a chance of going viral on the idea alone. Southwest Airlines is a great example of a company that thought it out and came up with an alluring idea.
Any brand should decide up-front if the blog will come from the point of view of a single personality or be a venue for multiple voices. Will they have a single blog or multiple blogs? Some of these companies manage separate blogs for separate concepts. For example, Wells Fargo and Coke have blogs dedicated to their long company history.

Quick tips to consider:

  • People are already talking, it’s only a matter of whether you would like to participate in the conversation
  • Be transparent
  • This is not a task to be attempted and stopped. Choose an idea and commit.
  • Useful or interesting information will do more for your brand than marketing propaganda
  • Be vital, nor viral
  • Be personal, not official
  • Get your customers involved, allow them to feel they “own” the brand”
  • Remember that, ultimately, blogs are about two-way conversations.

Now that we have covered some best practices and some good examples of how different brands are using corporate blogs to achieve their marketing objectives, let us know about your experiences with corporate blogging (good or bad).

Lastly, I have highlighted the brands that are running successful corporate blogs, but what about the FAILS? Have you come across any corporate blogs that seem overly promotional or out of touch with their customers?

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3 Responses to “Get Real with Corporate Blogging”

  1. Alec Green says:

    I remember reading about American Airlines blog (AAconversations) last year. They put it up pretty quickly in response to their massive flight cancellations, impending bankruptcy, and union upheaval. Good times!
    Just found the URL and got the “Sorry, the blog at aaconversation.blogspot.com has been removed” message. I guess they decided to cut the conversation short. Clearly the best management decision they’ve made.

  2. Drew Hubbard says:

    I remember that fiasco. I heard stories about many corporate blogs that enacted date-and-time-stamp protocols quickly following AA’s flub.

  3. There’s a couple of examples where best intentions FAIL!

    Sun’s CEO blog http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/ used to be a standard I’d hold up as being the quintessential Corporate Blog of Excellence… however, dearth of updates (due to feeble excuses like a major acquisition) means few updates over the past few months.
    Though the information is presented with a personable voice, content is interesting and the video adds a great dimension, the pure lack of frequency has turned me off.

    Adobe CTO, Kevin Lynch’s blog – http://www.klynch.com/ – last update 2007 – Wot???
    That’s right, the blog is still there screaming “I don’t care!” – Why not take it down?

    One company that doesn’t do a bad job, and also stays out of the limelight, is Marriott…
    http://www.blogs.marriott.com/ As someone that worked in the hospitality industry, I used to read the blog quite frequently. The tone of the blog is very personable, the content interesting, and the updates frequent and ‘real’ enough to keep me coming back.

    Authenticity is the winner!

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