Heather Green’s post on Blogspotting reminds us that good, clear writing requires thought and effort. Few people can write a flawless and precisely focused first draft. For the rest of us, reviewing and revising are essential.
I’m adding this to my list of corporate blogging best practices.
Steve Rubel reports form the Word of Mouth Marketing conference on David Binkowski’s advice to corporate bloggers. According to Rubel, corporate bloggers should:
- maintain a consistent tone
- have strong and newsworthy content
- disclose intentions and sources
- post frequent updates
- deal with comments
- keep innovating
That’s a good start. Other points that I suggest prospective or new corporate bloggers should keep in mind:
Study the blogosphere to determine if it is right for your company. Don’t get in today if you aren’t ready or if you don’t see the benefits. But keep paying attention. Things are changing fast. More and more people are finding their voice in the blogosphere. Your customers, your target audience or your competitors are only one click of the Publish button away from having an impact on you.
Ensure that your blog has a clear, single purpose. Remember, blogs are a discussion of current events and current thinking. They differ in this from the traditional web, which represents an encyclodedia. Let your corporate website catalogue all of the information you want to present. Focus your blog on the things with which you are personal engaged.
Your blog should be part of a grassroots strategy. Don’t let it stand alone. Once you have engaged in a dialogue with your audience, you should leverage this interest in as many ways as you can to build a lasting relationship.
Establish and maintain a regular tempo of postings. That doesn’t mean that you must post every day. But maintain a minimum period of postings to establish and then meet your audience’s expectations.
Bloggers need: Passion and a Voice. A blogger must have something to say, a willingness to write it, and the perseverance to keep at it.
Blogs will be credible only if the voice is truly the voice of the author. Blogs are not corporate speeches. It’s fine to ask people to edit and comment on a draft posting before it is published. However, if the blogger is not really originating his/her own material, find another blogger.
Blogging does not need to start from the top. You can start with someone who has a point of view and expertise in an issue or area related to your organization or business (e.g. Customer service, your industry, product design).
Write in an informal, chatty style. Avoid corporate speak.
Make each blog posting short in order to increase the likelihood that people will read it.
Define who owns the blog. If it is a corporate blog, postings can be screened and approved by management. If it is a personal blog, provide some blogging guidelines regarding the boundaries of acceptability.
Keep corporate blogging guidelines to a minimum. Count on common sense.
Finally, learn by doing.
What do you think? Are there points I’ve missed? Have you found other useful guidelines for prospective and new corporate bloggers?
Effective communications consulting must be based on relationships of trust between the client and the consultant. And these relationships can begin in a variety of places. What is common to them all is that a personal connection is made.
In his Canadian Entrepreneur blog, Rick Spence points to a story in Canadian Business offering tips on how to break the ice and have meaningful contact with business prospects in even the most casual encounters.
Good advice for anyone who understands the importance of building a network of contacts. (And that should include every communications consultant, from the most senior to the most junior.)
Mathew Ingram has written in today’s Globe and Mail about Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, using his blog for an online tussle with Business Week reporter, Tim Mullaney. Ingram concludes:
“… the ability to post your comments on a story to your blog, as Mr. Cuban did, or to post the interview and your responses even before the article runs, as Mr. Byrne did, is a pretty powerful tool. And they are not unique: as journalist and blogger Dan Gillmor notes, the U.S. Defence Department has been posting full transcripts of its interviews with journalists for a while now. As Mr. Gillmor notes on his Citizens’ Media blog, journalists are effectively having “transparency imposed on them” by the Internet.”
Sanity Check has published the complete exchange between Byrne and Mullaney.
Arstechnica reports that “Windows XP Home will leave Mainstream Support and enter online support on January 1, 2007?in less than a year.”
Microsoft. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Think of all the folks who just this Christmas bought Windows XP Home operating systems with new computers for their school-aged children. What will you tell them when they find that, less than one year after they bought it, their Microsoft operating system has been relegated to the world of MS “online support.” For many users, “online support” means, “pay us more money to upgrade your product now!”
I’ve read that Microsoft’s blogging policy is something like “Blog Smart.” Well, it’s time for Microsoft to “Be Smart.” Nip this problem now. Say it ain’t so.