When Corporate Blogging Is Done Right. Everyone Benefits.

A couple weeks ago I wrote It's Time For Marketing To Embrace Weblog Concepts & Technologies. The post created a bit of stir and a number of bloggers commented. Some gave positive nods. While others shook their heads as a sign of disapproval.

And since then there has been a lot of discussion on the bloggers tribe at Ryze about blogs as corporate marketing tools. Many question about the dos or don'ts about using a blog as a corporate communication or marketing tool. And while I could espouse about this minutiae, I'd rather offer some thoughts on how this technology could be embraced.

Henry Copeland of Blogads asked:

[…] But isn't blogging's secret sauce and traffic nitroglycerin in the blogroll and the human voice? Blogging's human2human networking will hard to replicate for any corporation other than a small company with an evangelist CEO. No-one is going to read or blogroll a PR person blogging for Bill Gates, right? […]

While Henry makes an excellent point here, I must emphasize that my post indicated the need for companies to embrace “weblog technologies”. To be sure, I'm confident that most CEO's either have no interest or time to write a daily weblog. They would see this as a task best handled by marketing communications. However, the visionary CEO would better serve his internal and external audiences through leveraging what makes blogs so tasty and addictive — the human element and the regular updating. Top that off with two-way feedback mechanism (commenting, trackbacking etc.). The result is a tool that strengthens relationships, fosters communication and creates a kind of bond that solid brands need to succeed.

In responding to Henry I wrote:

[…] First, I think that blogs in the current form may work for business, but to your point Henry, in other forms they'll work better. That is, you're right. Nobody is going to read a blogroll that contains Bill Gates. Who'd believe it? But Think of a Blog as an alternative to the lackluster and under performing intranets employed by companies big and large. There are certain functions of these intranets that won't change. Such as ability to review pay, benefits and the like. But where is the voice of the Human Resource Department, Finance, Manufacturing? If companies could embrace and communicate in a voice that isn't staid and sterile, they may have more loyalty and encourage open communication. […]

Henry responded accordingly:

[…] Yes, agree strongly that blogs and twikis work well as intranets and other forms of internal communications. (I talked recently to one corporate communications consultant who says he's got blogs cooking inside 10 of the Fortune 500.) The hot button for convincing EVERYONE this stuff is real corporate gold? Perhaps when Forbes quotes Sergey Brin saying that the secret of Google's success was its inhouse blogs rather than those patented algorithms. […]

Adoption of blogs by corporate communications and marketing must start internally. Like any branding or communications initiative, a company must have buy in by all of its stakeholders. That includes employees, suppliers and management. How can a company have a blog that is supposed to represent it's “voice” if it hasn't gone through the internal work to find it.

Dina has some interesting thoughts on how blogs might be adopted for internal and external communication:

[…] Blogs – K-Logs, project blogs, customer targeted blogs, may be an effective way of simplifying this process, with:

  • shorter decision making cycles
  • higher levels of sharing across offices situated in different locations
  • greater responsiveness to and from employees, associates and customers
  • threaded commentary and documentation
  • better archiving 

Perhaps less tangible yet as critical are these benefits creating value to employee and employer :

  • building up of tacit knowledge channels and flows
  • a space to be 'heard' – a 'company that cares' whether its the customer, employee or business partner
  • an environment that fosters exchange and conversation – a space for creative friction
  • a greater sense of 'ownership' and trust

I've been beating the blogging drum surely with clients for the last 7 months or so. I just hope that we don't see a trend of soul-less and slick marketing blogs that serve no purpose other than to justify someone's job while diluting the company's message and underpinning the core benefits corporate blogs could ultimately serve.

check out these marketing blogs: marketingfix | websense