Saturday, July 15, 2006

How are business blogs making out?

Working for a marketing software company that focuses on B2B, I find myself more and more talking about blogs. It just sort of slips out when clients ask me how can I generate more leads and keep people coming back to their websites.

It's not surprising though that adoption for blogs is slow for businesses as indicated in a recent eMarketer article. Just like I've found, it takes a strong commitment to keep writing interesting and informative blog posts. Besides having a purpose and objective for having a blog a company needs to dedicate resources and encourage the blog. This is the only way that it will be successful.

Here are some options for companies who want to blog:

  • If an executive says "I want to blog" make sure that they understand what they're getting into. This may mean setting up a document that outlines what they can and cannot talk about as well as the frequency in which the blog should be updated (eg: once a month). Making this consistent (eg: first week of each month) works best as bloggers will know when your next post will come out. In addition, ensure that you have a few topics lined up for your exec to help them out. An executive assistant or someone from marketing can help gather ideas on topics to write about.
  • If someone in marketing says "I want to blog" make sure you set similar guidelines. In addition, ensure that they don't use too much marketing and sales terminology. As we see, the succesful blogs are those that tell stories such as those by GM and Sun. They've gone away from the idea of using blogs as a straight up sales tool. Bloggers are not those types of people. We want to learn and be heard so think about your audience and not soley about your bottom line.
  • If someone in your manufacturing or software development section says "I want to blog" I would give that person a raise! It's great to see people that are so passionate about what they do that they would want to blog about their work. However, they also need guidelines as you don't want to give away any trade secrets. However, they can write about some of the latest technology that is being used which makes your company look great. You may also find some new employees this way as well as some ideas. It's also important to ensure that they can write well becuase if they don't it will be a waste of time.
  • If nobody comes forward and says "I want to blog" you have a few options. You can use RSS feeds to pull in data on the business field that you're in, you can have someone write your copy for you or you can ask a certain blogger who writes articles in your field to become the voice of your organization. These all work but they take a company that sees the benefits of blogging and is willing to invest in it. I wouldn't encourage a VP to say to one of their employees "I want you to blog". The people who blog have to want to do it. If they don't, it won't work. Putting a gun to someone's head just doesn't cut it. Another option is to send out an email to your executive team and ask them if anyone wants to blog. You can even do this for the entire company. You can have a contest for the best blog posts, have a different writer each week. Your company probably has more talent then you really realize - expose that talent with blogs and give everyone a voice!
To sum up, it's easy to start a blog but most companies realize the commitment to keep one going and for this reason they either keep to their core activities or have had a "blog-out" (my term for a blogging shutting down). To prevent this make sure you set a plan in place for who will update the blog and get blogging!!

Chad H.

PS - Ok, I'm really back this time. I had a wonderful time on my honeymoon and am back with a vengence.

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2 comments:

Owen Lystrup said...

Chad,

I'm surprised you don't have more traffic.

I really liked your post. And your post about the worst Fortune 500 companies.

I just successfully pitched my company (which is fairly small) and convinced them to start a blog.

It is still in development but should be up by mid August.

If I could, I'd like to e-mail you with some questions. It would be a tremendous help.

Keep blogging. It's good stuff!

Chad H said...

Owen - I appreciate the support and congratulate you on getting your blog going. If it was up to me I would blog more but I don't ever blog while I'm at work (and I work many hours) and I have my new bride that tells me to get the hell away from the computer. :)

That said, feel free to email me at chorenf@hotmail.com and I would be more then happy to help.

I've been doing some extensive research into blogging and plan to turn it into a side business if possible. I've been in this field for many years and very much enjoy helping others out.

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