Continued from “Blogging for Business pt 1″
So why is there so much fervor surrounding business blogs and corporate blogs? Unlike corporate websites, business blogs are extremely cost effective to launch and quite surprisingly easy to maintain, because there are so many powerful and easy to use tools out there. Unlike spam, junk e-mail and other forms of mass communication, corporate blogs are not intrusive, because they require visitors to get to them. When a corporate blog is done right, it provides a fast and informal way for information to be shared with a variety of different target audiences including partners within the company, customers and clients, and even other competing companies. The information that can be shared includes project updates, test results, research, product releases, news, industry headlines and so much more, and this information can be shared both inside the company and outside of the company as well.
However, it is important to know that blogs can be deceptively tricky when it comes to management. If you do not manage your business blog correctly, you could end up embarrassing yourself, boring your customers, or even alienating them. You may also accidentally contribute to the information overload, or may end up on the wrong side of a lawsuit if you do not exercise care and caution. Worse yet, you could potentially alienate the entire blogging community if you are not careful. Take for example what happened when Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. tried to enlist young volunteers to plug the Raging Cow beverage on their blogs, but the effort backfired when other bloggers called for a product boycott because they were upset over the word of mouth campaign which was clearly orchestrated.
Successful business blogging, just like any other marketing campaign or initiative, is going to require that you put together and follow a strategy.
You absolutely need to be able to answer the 5 W’s regarding your corporate blog, meaning:
- Who is going to blog? Who is the target audience?
- What are we blogging for? What benefits are expected? What needs to be said? Restricted?
- Where will the blogs appear?
- When will the blogs appear? When will results be seen?
- Why are we doing this?
The last question here is possibly the most vital, because it will help you determine exactly what your blog is intended to accomplish. Are you looking to demonstrate the expertise of your company, or perhaps your own expertise? Are you looking to promote services or products, or provide customers with news, updates and announcements? Are you looking to facilitate communication or build a community? Answer these and other questions will help keep you out of trouble because you will have a clear cut idea of what needs to be said and done, and how to accomplish it. When these questions are answered, it will keep all of the blog writers in line, preventing the wrong steps from being taken to elevate your blog to popular status.
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