Today marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of The Corporate Blogging Book by Portfolio on Aug. 3, 2006. Luckily, the book still seems fresh, useful and on the mark (and yes, it’s selling well)… for the very many corporate types who are still slowly climbing onto the social media bus. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.
It’s simply a fact. Corporate blogging and the use of social media by big companies is still a new and evolving phenomenon. The rules are being written – and broken – and rewritten as I blog this. It’s a grand experiment.
An effective corporate blog is highly creative
Therein lies the kernel of why corporate blogging is so exciting. Because, in fact, it is an experiment. There are no guaranteed results. An effective corporate blog is a highly creative endeavor — and runs counter to almost every other kind of established form of corporate communications:
- An effective corporate blog is not written by the PR department or agency
- There are no absolute rules for what to blog about, or when
- A top executive may have a hand in the actual writing of the blog (unusual for the exec who is normally separated by layers of approval and/or media training from any sort of authentic public expression)
- In a crisis, the blog may become the number one channel of communication, both to customers and the media
- and finally, the impact of the blog can’t always be predicted. More sales? Not in the short run. Feedback from customers that you didn’t expect? Often the case. A more powerful way to influence media coverage than issuing a press release? Possibly.
5 traits of good corporate blogs
The good ones share a number of traits:
1. The blog author(s) gain confidence and ease in their writing
2. There is no corporate-speak
3. The blog gradually gets traction with readers (yes, it normally takes time to get lots of comments and back and forth interaction with readers)
4. The blog develops a distinctive personality
5. The blog is useful, entertaining and occasionally revealing.
BONUS: And, a new benchmark, is published in several languages.
5 examples of effective corporate blogs
- Dell’s Direct2Dell (also in Chinese and in Spanish)
- GM’s Fastlane blog (probably the longest running Fortune 500 blog)
- Google’s official corporate blog (and additional Google blogs in several dozen languages)
- Kodak’s A Thousand Words
- Wells Fargo’s Student LoanDown
Note: I was going to include Verizon’s policy blog but I can’t for the life of me (after several Google searches) find the URL, now that they’ve changed the name from PoliBlog. Update: OK, found it: Verizon Policy Blog. Thanks for the pointer from Verizon’s blog czar, John Czwartacki.
I’ll have to go back and change the URL in my post about the launching of the blog (as will everyone else).
If The Corporate Blogging Book had one more chapter, what should be in it?
I’m thinking about writing a new chapter for an updated version. Nothing definite yet as it needs to be worked out with my publisher. I’ll include online video, of course, and Facebook and social networking as it applies to companies. Anything else you think I absolutely should include?
My next book… still gestating
The topic I’m thoroughly intrigued with is CEO blogging. But that may be too narrow, too “inside baseball.” Still thinking about it. Again, if you have ideas for what seems like a logical “next book” for me, hey let me know.
I love what Jeremiah Owyang and Mario Sundar write about corporate blogging. Practical and provocative. Here are a few of their posts, along with some other resources. I’ll add more later.
10 Social Media Strategies for the Fortune 1000 Corporations by Jeremiah Owyang
When blogging is not your full-time job by Mario Sundar
Official Google blog’s M.O. (June 15, 2007)