Thanks to the those who submitted questions a while back about corporate blogging. And sorry for the delay in publishing answers. Here’s a Q & A on corporate blogging:
Leanne of 30 Minute Coach writes:
Q: “Which is more effective? Adding a blog to your current business Web site or converting the entire site to a blog format?”
A: Great question. Blogs are next-generation Web sites. They’re a simple and elegant content management tool which makes them an excellent choice for non techies (like me) who want a constantly-updated Web site.
That said, you’ll need to find a blog-savvy Web designer who can put together a site for you based on MovableType. (I’m working on that myself. I cringe whenever I look at my main WordBiz site; it’s hopelessly outdated.) Here are three sites built on MT: Blog Business Summit, SixApart (company that owns MT and TypePad) and MarketingVox.com. Key point: a site built on blog software does not need to LOOK LIKE a blog.
Oh, and Leanne, for now… including a prominent link to your blog in your site navigation is perfectly acceptable.
Q: John Cowburn writes:
“Do the search engines care whether my blog has its own domain name vs. being hosted on a service like TypePad?”
A: I’m not a search engine specialist so I don’t have the definitive answer. But you should know about domain mapping. Infomaven Lois Ambash calls it a “technical trick” and explains it this way: “Your blog can be hosted by a service like TypePad but be ‘pointed’ toward a domain you own even though it actually resides on TypePad’s servers.” I use “forwarding” so that when you type in BlogWriteForCEOs.com it resolves to blogwrite.blogs.com . I’m told this is not as good for search engine results as domain mapping.
Q: Jonathan writes:
“What do you think about non-public, internal weblogs written by upper management as a way to set the context within which a company runs its day-to-day business? It seems like a nonchalant way to rally the troops without having the hard-to-get-right all-employee meeting.”
A: I think it’s a great idea. In fact, internal blogs may make more sense for large corporations than external blogs. I’ve suggested that HP’s deposed CEO Carly Fiorina should have had an internal blog to speak directly to HP employees… many of whom were apparently disenchanted with her style.
Q: Paul Short writes:
“How does one communicate the real benefits of blogs and blogging to the Internet marketing and direct marketing crowd? It seems that most marketers I talk to only think of blogs as SEO tools, a place to push affiliate programs or as new content pages to get exposure for contextual advertising.”
A: I don’t think you can convince these folks otherwise. (I’ve tried to convince Bob Bly.) I believe that intelligently written blogs (whether internal or external) have a longer-term ROI that is more important than an immediate reward measurable in dollars and cents. Call it “branding,” if you must. But I really don’t think you need to. A blog is part of an overall communications strategy built around transparency.
Finally, Benjamin Yoskovitz writes:
Q: “In an ideal world I would love to be as open as possible in a corporate blog… discussing development strategies, i.e. where the product’s going, how we’re developing new features as well as business processes, how we handle customer support, how we deal with defect tracking and management, etc. But as I visualize writing posts in my head, I always bump into the same concern (perhaps it’s merely paranoia)… revealing too much. How much do we want to reveal about how we do things knowing that the information could be used against us? “
A: No easy answer to that one. You have to figure out where your own “confidentiality line” is – i.e. how much (and what kind of) information is “too much” to reveal either to your competitors or your customers. I recommend sitting down with everyone in your company (you’ve said it’s small) and hashing out a set of Corporate Blogging Guidelines. That exercise in itself will help you think through your very valid question.