Feb 12th, 2007
Northeastern University together with backbone media published a thorough study (must be nice to have many willing arms and legs) on what makes a corporate blog successful. Presented in blog format with comments and trackback of course, the study provides lots of tips from a cross section of corporate bloggers on what worked and what didn’t. It’s a virtual recipe on how to make a corporate blog really work.
Althought there is much that goes into making a corporate blog a successful addition to the business communications mix, here are the five factors the successful bloggers identified. No real surprises, but worth bearing in mind:
Assuming a level of success — and who doesn’t want to be successful — corporate blogs are a powerful way to change public perception about your company, to bring the company culture to life, and to keep a finger on how your company is doing. Given that, you would think that every company would have a thriving blog strategy by now. But from what I can gather that simply isn’t the case. The true blogging success stories are limited.
In my experience, there are three main factors.
First, is time. The CEO is supposed to be the one blogging, but rarely will blogging take precedence over closing big deals or keeping the board happy. So even if a blog gets going, posts are few and far between. As a result, the blog gradually fades from existance, leaving the vague impression that blogs may not be viable.
Second, companies aren’t convinced that blogs are a good idea and will be effective. Sending out press releases is tried and true. Fear of the unknown is a major obstacle. Often lawyers raise the red flag. Are blogs a fad or a truly something the company has to embrace? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not.
Third, the blogging and social media skill set is non-existant at most companies. Most people in marketing, PR and Web development are so busy trying to meet business demands that they don’t have the time to develop new skills sets. As the Northeastern University study indicates, blogging is becoming part of the curriculum and these students will start flooding into the workplace soon. So the skill shortage is likely to end soon.
Many of the skills that make for good blogs are those of good reporters and journalists. Over time, I think we’ll see reporters and editors finding jobs within company as the official blogger or podcaster inside companies. Those will be fun jobs to have. With a daughter in J-school at U of O, I feel good about her job prospects and writing/journalism in general.