Blogging is a key piece of Web 2.0 or the Social Web, as it’s called. The Social Web means crowdsourcing: looking to your customers and fans for knowledge and smarts. It means that painstaking creation of static, stuffy, stilted Web pages is out. Blogs (interactive) are in. Here are my Top 8 Tips to launch an effective corporate blogging program in 2008.
1. Use humor
I don’t mean funny ha ha. Poke fun at yourself. Be self-deprecating. Readers love it. It may be the #1 way to make your blog appear human and to strip the corporate edge from your voice.
2. Write short. Less is more.
Who said every blog entry has to be a magnum opus? Short (150 – 300 words) can be very effective. When something happens in the news that mentions your company or product, professional or trade association, jump on it. Create a blog entry with the relevant links. Add a few sentences of commentary. You’re done.
3. Post at least once a week
Do I sound like a broken record? The best way to get your blog noticed by readers, bloggers and the media – not to mention blog ranking tools like Technorati, Bloglines and Techmeme – is to blog consistently.
4. Link to naysayers and competitors
Grit your teeth and do it. Otherwise you’re not credible.
5. Appoint a blog editor
If you can’t hire somebody, identify your internal blogging enthusiast (or evangelist) and appoint him/her to oversee regular posting to the blog. It helps if this person has a knack for bloggy writing style and can also proofread for typos. If not, then appoint two people – one a copyeditor and the other a more senior person. More about blog editors.
6. Build redundancy into your approval process
See above. But this applies more specifically to getting approval for each blog post. Set up your blog program so that you have two senior managers responsible for okaying each blog entry. Since either one can do it, you’re more likely to get through to one of them when you’re in a hurry. Read about Southwest Airlines’ blog approval process.
7. Consider joining the newly-formed Blog Council
I have no affiliation with the corporate Blog Council (paid membership) but by all accounts it seems to be a great idea. The brainchild of Andy Sernovitz, founder of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), the mission of the council is to:
Function as a collective voice in support of responsible, ethics-based corporate blogs. Other issues the Council will address include:
- How do global brands manage blogs in more than one language?
- What do you do when 2000 employees have personal blogs?
- What is the role of the corporate brand in a media landscape increasingly geared toward consumer-generated media?
- What is the correct way to engage and respond to bloggers who write about your company?
Founding members include Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP and Wells Fargo. Learn more here.
8. Just do it…
More and more companies and organizations are waking up to the idea of using a blog – an informal, interactive Web site – as a key piece of their online strategy. I can’t offer you any precise statistics on the number of company, employee or corporate blogs (nobody has done an official tally). But I can tell you that the pendulum has swung.
As of Dec. 9, 2007, 9.2% of Fortune 500s are blogging, according to the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki.
Your customers or constituencies expect to be heard. They want to be listened to and they want you to talk back with corporate-speak stripped out. A blog is one of the most powerful ways to monitor the chatter about your brand, bring it back to your own turf and shape the discussion. Not control it per se. But demonstrate that you know people are talking and you have something useful to add.
Social Media Reading List
Here are some books for your social media bookshelf:
Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin
Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel
Now Is Gone by Geoff Livingston with Brian Solis
The Corporate Blogging Book by Debbie Weil
The New Influencers by Paul Gillin
The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott