Should we all have Corporate Blogs?
Here at Freshleaf, as you may have noticed, we have a company blog. We update it regularly with our thoughts and experiences around our key business, corporate website design. We also often encourage our clients to maintain a blog, but in many cases our clients feel that it isn’t appropriate to their business. Make no mistake, blogging is a growth trend and is definitely here to stay, but is it appropriate to all sectors of the corporate world?
Corporate or Business blogs are becoming popular for a number of reasons. Blogs give companies a more informal, user-friendly channel for communicating with their customers and their investors, interacting with the target market on a more personal level. Blogs can effect a more open and direct view than traditional channels. They are also usually based around one of a growing number of excellent blogging applications, making them easier to update than the company website itself. And last but not least, a good blog not only gives users a reason to re-visit the site, but also helps improve search engine optimisation by adding fresh content.
And there are a number of key indicators to suggest that corporate blogging is increasingly being seen as a valid marketing communications channel. One such indicator is that marketing companies are starting to offer blogging as part of their range of marketing tools. Currently if you google ‘corporate blog’ the top paid-for result is a digital marketing company claiming “we work with bloggers and message board moderators to create timely online conversations around products at critical points in the sales cycle.” 1
The really big corporate blogs out there belong, unsurprisingly, to the big internet technology players: Google, Adobe, Flickr, Facebook, Yahoo, Digg, and so on2. But the really impressive thing about these big corporate blogs is how much authority they carry. Anyone involved in search engine optimisation keeps an eye on Google’s blog for what appear to be ‘insider tips’ on how Google goes about ranking web pages in its search algorithms. This information is most likely available elsewhere, but the blog offers a very current, ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ form of communication. For an established business, then, it’s clear that a corporate blog can carry the full weight of your business’s authority, the fact that it’s a less formal channel does nothing to detract from this.
Whether you think corporate blogs are a worthwhile exercise, though, all comes down to your assessment of the business value of social media. There are those who contend that the new trend towards using social networking, folksonomies, blogs and user recommendations is nothing more than a passing bandwagon being ridden by the lowest common denominator. They estimate that unless people know who you are, they’re never going to read your blog; and that the decision makers that you’re trying to reach are never going to make a business decision based on the more informal thoughts and opinions you post in cyberspace.
I wouldn’t be so quick to discount the benefits of social media, however. To my way of thinking it forms a valid part of the cycle of communication: and what harm is there in an additional communication channel? Admittedly, you’re not going to be treated as an authority on anything on the basis of a few blog posts. But provided its done right3, a good blog gets people thinking, linking back to you, and makes them more aware of your brand. It allows your business the freedom to communicate more candidly, whilst still carefully crafting and controlling your marketing message; and a chance to contribute to the dialogue of your industry or sector, positioning your business as a key player.