FREE eCOURSE ON
    BUSINESS BLOGGING

    Everything you need to set-up, develop & promote a successful Business Blog

    Full Name

    Email

    Referred by


    FULL COURSE DETAILS HERE

  • Warren: Blogging and Social Media definitely go hand in hand. Having a successful social presence can do a lot for a...
  • Jennifer Rai: All points mentioned above are very well put together. Blogs having purpose and a focus on certain...
  • jessica@lukeroxas: I ran a small home based business, and lately I’ve decided to put up my own website,...
  • Rob: Rather weird that a blog on blogging hasn’t been updated since 2009!
  • Ayala Land: Perhaps I was one of those companies who, as you put it “think they can avoid it” but thanks to well...

    Join me on Twitter at @BlogCoach




    Start or set up a blog: Key question 1This is part of a 3 part mini-series looking at the planning phase of setting up and starting your business blog.

    Each post will focus on one of the 3 key questions that you should have clear answers for as you set up your blog before you start to write it.

    Question 1:
    What you do want to do with your blog?

    This may seem like an obvious question or rather you may think that the answer to it is obvious. Great! If you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your blog and how it will help your business, then write it down and stick it on your computer screen. Keep it in mind as you write your posts, make changes to your blog and work on promoting it because that sort of focus is going to be all important if you want to achieve the best results.

    It does seem to be the case, however, that many companies (and this applies equally to multinationals as it does to small businesses) still look at blogging as something which needs to be done to keep up with the Joneses. Unfortunately, blogs set up with this in mind often suffer a swift demise since they generally have no real substance, identity or direction.

    Blogging will cost you time and therefore money. In my case, if I am writing posts for my blogs, then I cannot be doing paid work on blogs or online marketing campaigns for other companies, engaging in other marketing activities, carrying out my duties with my accountants hat on etc. So plan what you want to do with your blog.

    Marketing focused blog as an example

    Lets take the example of a business blog which has a marketing focus, one where you are essentially looking for it to communicate your expertise or the benefits of your services or products, and to start to generate interest and trust in them (and you of course!).

    Blog planning

    So to get the right balance and focus in the blog, youll want to incorporate important influences both from within your company and from the market you work in ie. from customers, partners and competitors etc. You also need to look at how it fits in with your other marketing activities and the general direction of the company. If you can incorporate all of these, youll then be developing a marketing tool which will reflect the companys goals, will work in tandem with everything else you are doing and will allow you to communicate with your target audience in as unfiltered a form as possible.

    Other business uses for a blog

    Of course, marketing is just one of the many uses you could put your business blog to and as the focus of your blog changes, so of course will the influences which are important to it. If you are looking at an external blog to support your customer service or technical support activities, then the targeting and format of the blog will change to suit that goal. Likewise, an internal blog to help your internal communications or perhaps one dedicated to pre-sales / sales team information sharing will be different again.

    Other ideas of possible ways to use a blog as a business tool, both externally and internally, might include:

    Blog types in Business blog planning

    But at the end of the day, whatever you decide to use your blog for, it needs to reflect the requirements of both the company and your target audience, and add value to both parties. Do that and you are well on the way to creating a business blog which will prove an invaluable asset to you.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    9 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. 3 Key Blogging Questions: Question 3
    2. 3 Key Blogging Questions: Question 2
    3. 5 ‘R’s of Business Blogging – a Summary
    4. No blog is an island
    5. Small Business Blogging

    Over the past couple of weeks, Ive had a number of enquiries from different social networks, or rather from certain of their members, asking me to join their networks. Granted, many of these are automated – which amounts to spamming by the website owners in my view, but thats another story – but this has nevertheless been a clear demonstration to me of the continuing growth and proliferation of social networks.

    Networks and networking in general are hugely important to businesses of all sizes and small businesses in particular. Therefore joining these social networks or business networks is undeniably useful to a point – although I feel that it is nigh impossible to maintain a useful presence in more than a few before you spread yourself too thinly and get lost in the crowd.

    The problem as I see it though, is that when we talk about social networks, we are usually merely refering to a website or platform. All the new social networks that keep appearing are in fact just different websites whose main focus is to create their own network environments (with associated revenue potential) rather than really help us to create our own personal network.

    This is potentially in conflict with what we are all actually interested in, which is our own network (whether that be social or business), made up of people that we want to communicate, interact and deal with.

    As individuals or as businesses, what we really need to do is create our own network, a network which exactly matches the interests, goals and requirements that we have. In fact, a blog is an excellent way to achieve this and to create not only a network but, where possible, a community focused on a specific area. It allows people who just want to network and connect with you to do so, and it gives you the means and opportunity to develop those relationships.

    At the end of the day, by all means join as many networks as you can realistically participate in but chose them according to the goals that you have for your business and use them for the benefits they bring at the time. However, if you truly want to participate in a network which will endure and will best serve your networking goals, then set up a business blog where you can create and develop your own.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    3 Comments 
    Tags: , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blogs as Social and Business Networks
    2. Blogs for Market Research and Focus Groups
    3. Blogs and HR: which HR manager is right?
    4. Business Blogs, Social Media and Welcome Mats
    5. Social Media – coming ready or not

    SEO in business blogs for rankingIt is an absolute waste to set up a business blog with the sole intention of using it to enhance your Search Engine rankings. If you do, then you will not only be missing out on the important benefits that blogs offer but also jeopardising the success of your own, right from the word go.

    “But I thought a business blog would help my rankings!”, I hear you cry. “Absolutely”, I reply, “it will, enormously so!”

    But that’s not the point. Blogs enable you to do so much more, whether you are using them to communicate with your readers, build trust and connections with both customers and prospects alike, carry out market research or customer service, or indeed any of 101 different business uses that they can be put to. And that’s where your focus, effort and attention should be directed, not simply on helping your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts!

    If you do these things correctly and keep the content of your blog focused on what your target audience wants then, believe me, the so called “Google Juice” will flow naturally because of what you write and the way you write and structure it, but as an automatic by-product rather than the sole result.

    Ive seen the same issues come to light elsewhere recently as well. I belong to a couple of online business networking organisations and on one of these, Ecademy, there has been a lot of debate recently following Googles last algorithm change. This resulted in the site not delivering page 1 results as regularly as it had previously been prone to do due to its structure and overall page rank. A number of people have commented that there has therefore been a drop in value of the site because of this and have been asking whether it remains worth the subscription.

    My response again is that the Google / Search Engine benefits have to be viewed for what they are an excellent by-product which is great to have. However, the reason for joining a site like that is to help foster relationships with other business people and provide networking opportunities. Thats why its called a Business Networking Club rather than a Google Ranking Club. Google juice is great but that cannot be the main reason for your being there or else the networking element will ultimately die, killing the site with it.

    And the same is true with blogs. Business blogs are great in providing enhanced Search Engine opportunities but try not to focus too much on those or you risk losing everything. Focus instead on your readers in your blog and I guarantee that your SEO desires and requirements will follow.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    8 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blogs are not for SEO
    2. Blogs and Search Engines – is the love affair over?
    3. Business Blogs, Social Media and Welcome Mats
    4. Post titles – who are they for?
    5. Google and UK Blog Search Results

    Blogging in the News - UK BlogsSome articles which have appeared in the UK online press over the past week which looks at blogging (primarily business blogging) and its uses. If you find any good articles that could be highlighted here, then please post the links below or send them to me directly at mark[at]betterbusinessblogging[dot]com and I’ll do the rest.

    Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green tips
    The Blog action Day on the 15th October seems to have been a success with thousands of bloggers participating and raising awareness on climate change and environmental issues.

    Should blogging be on your marketing to-do list?
    I think we know that the answer is yes, but this is a nice gentle introduction to one aspect of how blogs can be used while recognising the range of opportunities they offer.

    B2B journalists turn to blogs for info
    Another insight into how journalists view blogs and whether they are using then and the information they offer to best effect.

    Blogs give business a global reach
    While I really can’t recommend then Google Translation tool which suffers from the same shortcomings as other online tools, there are some other good comments here.

    Blogging is good for business if you have something to say
    Good pieces of advice here from Jim Kendall. Remember that blogging is like talking to people – if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, it’s often best to keep quiet and listen until you do.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blogging in the news – 20 May 2007
    2. Blogging in the News – 20 October
    3. Blogging in the News: 9 June 2007
    4. Blogging in the News – 6 May 2007
    5. News look for Google Blog Search

    Business Blogs and TagsShould you be looking at upgrading? Well, WordPress is maintaining quite a rhythm of late in terms of new releases – these can often be time consuming if you are trying to maintain several blogs with up to date software as I am for the people I work with. However, I digress as ever! :(

    WordPress 2.3 Overview

    This version does seem, however, to be well worth the time and effort. From a purely business perspective, there are a number of elements in this latest version which are of particular interest to me, primarily the canonical URLs and tagging elements which I’ll explain in more detail below. But let’s a have a quick recap of all the new things going on first.

    The main additions in WordPress 2.3 are:

    • Tagging: native tagging as they call it which includes tagging in the main software rather than relying on 3rd party plugins (see below)

    • WordPress and plugin updates: lets you know when there are updates available either of the main WordPress software or of the plugins that you have installed

    • Canonical URLs: lots of good stuff here but hugely uninteresting reading. It is, however very useful in terms of certain aspects of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which I’ll try to explain later

    • Pending Review: allows you to run a blog with multiple authors much more efficiently as you are notified when new posts need reviewing

    • Advanced formatting when writing blogs: some additional features which had previously been hidden
    (The full list can be found on the WordPress Blog)

    Tagging

    Ok, so why am I getting even vaguely excited about tagging? Well, tagging is a way of bringing out the keywords in the post that you have written – effectively it allows you to add tags or ‘labels’ to your post so that you can classify the principal content areas yourself without relying solely on Search Engines to decide what you’re on about and therefore make an “educated” guess on your behalf.

    It’s true that the categories function in WordPress offers a way to do this but this, for me anyway, is more structural than anything else. I use categories to help readers identify start points for their research. Tagging will add an additional dimension to that and will give extra flexibility to it which is great – I believe that they are certainly complementary.

    Personally, I already use a plugin called <a href="http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/BunnysTechnoratiTags" target="_blank"Bunny Tags</a> to do some of this (another excellent tag plugin is <a href="http://www.neato.co.nz/ultimate-tag-warrior/" target="_blank">Ultimate Tag Warrior</a>) but the chance to deliver tagging in the main software will help to develop this area further. I would expect to use this element much more extensively in the future and that tagging will be more 'visible' in Better Business Blogging.

    For more information, a nice explanation of categories and tags can be found at <a href="http://dougal.gunters.org/blog/2007/09/22/tags-and-categories-in-wordpress" target="_blank">Geek Ramblings</a> (thanks to <a href="http://www.nevillehobson.com" target="_blank">Neville Hobson</a> for the link).

    <h5>Canonical URLs </h5>
    Oh dear - I somewhat regret mentioning these earlier but let me try to explain. While it's not ALL to do with the concept of 'duplicate content', that is at its core. Bear with me for two minutes on this and then you can sleep ... or watch the latest instalment of <a href="http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/" target="_blank">Heroes</a>.

    Google likes unique content because then it can direct its searchers to THE best page for what they are looking for. However, when two (or more pages) show the same content Google suffers and has to decide what to do with the content and how to rank it. The trouble is that sometimes we create "duplicate pages" without actually knowing it. For example, www.betterbusinessblogging.com/ with and without a '/' or with and without the 'www', all count as different pages ... and hence potentially fall into the 'duplicate content' game. What we want to do is really have all of them point at the same place and be counted only once. The changes here should help to address exactly this problem.

    The WordPress change should essentially take away all these other "pages" - the fact that people generally didn't know they existed in the first place, I guess means that this change will mainly be appreciated by SEO interested parties. However, it is, in fact, important.

    <h5>Summary</h5>
    Well, as any regular reader will already know, I am a great fan and advocate of WordPress and the additions that they have made here in their latest release do nothing but strengthen my belief that WordPress remains the best blogging software for companies wanting to future proof their blogging investment.

    My advice: well, ever the cautious one, check the feedback as it comes in and when it is confirmed that it's stable and you have checked your plugins work, then upgrade as it looks worth it.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    5 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. WordPress Plugins for business blogs – which to use?
    2. WordPress extends and upgrades
    3. Change the WordPress defaults, please!
    4. WordPress, your business and your online presence
    5. Optimizing your Blog for Search Engines

    Building your blogAnother nice piece from Seth Godin last week where he talked about his Seven tips to build for meaning and where he briefly (comme toujours!) talked about some tactical tips about how to add value online.

    One of them particularly struck a chord with me. Seth’s comment was:

    It’s a brick wall, not a balloon. This is a hard one for many people. We try to build something quickly and get it totally complete all in one go. If we can’t, we get frustrated and give up. But great blogs and lenses are built brick by brick, a little at a time. You learn what works and do it more.

    I liked the analogy and particularly in terms of the building of the brick wall.

    I find that it can sometimes be difficult for companies when they launch a blog – whether they are launching a business blog or a full blown corporate blog, I get the impression that they have a nagging feeling in the back of their mind that somehow it’s not really finished.

    When a website is launched, it should have everything there written and visible including all the relevant information and the pages completed, stored and in place. When a product is launched, it should have instructions, packaging etc. right from when the first one is shipped to customers. I think they feel that that’s what a business blog should be like too.

    But the launch of a blog is not the end of the process, it is the beginning. Granted there will be the main Foundation posts in place at launch but after that the content will develop and be kept fresh by the new articles being posted – that’s how it becomes successful. Building the information, reputation, trust etc and fufiling expectations.

    So have patience and take heed of Seth’s comments – put solid foundations down and then build your blog brick by brick.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    3 Comments 
    Tags: , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Ladder of Goodwill for blogs
    2. Blogs are not for SEO
    3. Overcoming the Fear of Corporate Blogging
    4. Don’t use blogs for SEO!

    Successful Corporate BlogsI guess that this is probably the key question for any organisation looking to create their own corporate blog. My answer: one which fulfils the purpose that it was created for.

    This may sound evasive – a “cop out” if you like – and I suppose that, in a sense, it is. However, with so many different types of corporate blog, it’s simply not possible to give a single definitive blueprint for creating one.

    For example, the style and goals for a so-called CEO blog are going to be very different from one designed as a product blog. Likewise a corporate blog which brings together a community of users and developers for market research or product development, will have a very different definition of successful from an “expert blog” written by a specialist lawyer looking to directly improve his/her profile and reputation.

    However, what they will have in common is likely to be a clear set of objectives, albeit all different, which they are focused on achieving. These objectives would have been identified as part of the planning process and should always be in the back of your mind when writing and promoting your corporate blog.

    What might your objectives be?

    Ideally, aim for specific objectives and where possible ones that you can measure – attempting to quantify the ROI of a blog may seem a long way down the line when you start but believe me you will be asked the question at some point! However, in reality, you are more likely to have a mix with a number of general objectives and some specific targets thrown in.

    In most cases, people start with general objectives such as increased branding, improved reputation or a greater level of recognition. But, if you can add in areas where measurable results are possible, then this will help determine whether the blog meets those objectives and hence “qualifies” as a success.

    Some possible metrics that you could consider, include:

    • Increased enquiries generated through the blog using specific email addresses or forms

    • Incremental sales which can be tracked back to the blog

    • Sign ups either to your newsletter, white papers or other sources of information

    • RSS subscribers to the blog or individual categories within the blog if the level of content warrants it

    • Inbound links generated by the blog when others reference and link through to the content

    • Better Search Engine positioning because of the blog’s regularly updated content, internal structure and inbound links

    • New products identified and developed through the market research or product development carried out on the blog

    • Customer queries answered leading to reduced customer service or technical support calls

    Of course, not all of these will be relevant to you so use specific criteria which focus on the reasons for establishing the blog in the first place. In some cases, there will be a single overriding criterion which will be the sole indicator of a blog’s success or failure.

    Some pointers for your Corporate Blog

    If I had to make some suggestions as you start a corporate blog, which I believe will help it to achieve the goals that you have set for it, then I would recommend:
    • Don’t try to be everything to all people: the best type of corporate blog will identify the people it wishes to appeal to and will be written in such a way that it attracts, retains and develops that audience;

    • Plan, focus and stay true to your goals: you planned your objectives when you started, so try not to be distracted from them. If those are what you want to achieve, then make certain that you concentrate on them and don’t get pulled off in different directions;

    • Write interesting, compelling, focused content: you know the audience you wish to attract and hopefully you also know what will interest them. So try to present them with that information in a way which is authentic and which communicates the passion that you have for the subject;

    • Launch it properly: Plan the launch and make sure that you use all of the means at your disposal to tell people about it. Get your Foundation posts in place, use your mailing list, pre-announce it if applicable, create online press releases to support it and ensure that you put some weight behind the activities. If you believe it’s worth reading (and let’s hope you do!) then tell people and enthuse about it;

    • Market it religiously: there is no point in having a blog and just letting it sit there – tell people about it. Use all the methods available both online and offline, generic and blog specific and then use all of them again! While your writing will hopefully attract readers over time, you should still “spread the word” at every opportunity.

    Ultimately, the person best placed to judge whether the corporate blog you are running has been a success is … you! So give yourself the best chance to make it a success by knowing what you want to achieve with it and then going all out to make it happen.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    7 Comments 
    Tags: , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. What makes a successful business blog?
    2. Anatomy of a Corporate Blog: Layers and Building Blocks
    3. Building Blocks for a Successful Business Blog
    4. Pharmaceuticals enter the fray with corporate blogs
    5. Corporate Blogging Profiles: are you a Sleeper or a Host?

    When it comes to Business Blogging, there are 5 Rs which we should focus our attention on if we want to create a successful and sustainable small business or corporate blog. Our aim should be to put all the necessary elements in place on our Blog to allow these 5 Rs to happen as smoothly and automatically as possible. When we manage this, well have created a Blog which fulfils both our readers requirements and our own business needs.

    These 5 Rs are:

    Read - Reply - Return - Recommend - RSS

    Simply put, we need to create and maintain a Blog which in the first instance will attract readers and then encourage them to participate by commenting on our posts or contacting us directly. We then need to make sure that it provides sufficient value or creates enough interest to make them return and become regular readers as well as recommend our Blog to others. The 5th R of RSS underpins all of the others by supporting the distribution and the promotion of the blog.

    If we want people to read our blog, then logically the quality of what we write in the posts will be important. However, we first have to attract readers to our blog – if they dont know about us or cant find us then we are going to fall at the first hurdle, no matter how good our content or services are!

    So promoting the blog is always going to be a critical phase in getting our posts read and its important that we make use of all the methods at our disposal to achieve the best results possible ideally this will combine offline marketing as well as online and blog specific marketing methods.

    As part of this, we need to consider the Search Engine aspects when we write. Its essential to focus on making the content interesting and useful to your readers but it also has to be written in such a way that it is appealing to Search Engines they are a key way to attract readers so we need to write with one eye on ensuring our search engine ranking is as good as possible.

    In addition, to make all of our other efforts as effective as possible, everything about the blog should be attractive and easy to use, from the general design to the layout of the blog and the positioning and display of our own marketing elements.

    The first step in engaging properly with your readers is to have them reply to one of your posts and allow them to voice their opinions, thoughts, ideas and concerns. This creates the interaction, conversations and ultimately the connections that business blogs need to develop and thrive.

    However, we cannot sit back and just rely on the comments simply appearing instead, we need to be actively encouraging them, either by the way in which we write the posts or by asking open questions as part of the text or even by specifically asking for them.

    Having encouraged people to want to reply, try to avoid putting barriers in their way getting people to fill in a form in order to leave a comment is never going to get good results! Its also important to listen and respond to the comments which are left, hence developing the conversation and working towards establishing and then building on a connection with the reader.

    Effectively, we need to get to love comments and make sure that we respond to as many as possible that we receive. We should ensure that we respond to any negative comments which arrive negative comments can often be the most important type!

    As a last thought, you might even consider adding a list of recent comments as part of your blog to highlight those who have made the effort to leave a comment and to encourage them further.

    If people are interested in what you are writing about and find value in it then the likelihood is that they will return to read more. By maintaining the quality of your posts and demonstrating your expertise on a consistent basis, you will be giving yourself the best chance of this happening.

    In the process, you will develop not only a loyal readership but you will also be developing a growing level of trust between yourself and those reading your Blog. Make your blog THE place to go to find information on your specialist subject area.

    Once readers return to your blog, make sure that they can explore all your posts as fully as possible let ALL of your content shine through. To help this, make sure that the navigation around the blog is as clear as possible, that you highlight your key articles (the Foundation articles) and that you include links to related articles at the end of each post.

    As a final point, try to keep an uncluttered look and feel make it easy on the readers eyes again so that they want to return. No-one will come back simply because it looks nice but you want to avoid people deciding to stay away because it doesnt.


    This might have been called Refer but I prefer the concept of recommending which has a more positive connotation and when someone recommends your Blog, that is a very positive thing!

    How do you recommend a blog? Well, clearly, you can tell people about it directly! Word of mouth (WOM) is the most widely used form of recommendation there is so use it to your advantage. When people are considering books to read, films to see or hotels to stay in, arguably the most important element in the decision making process will usually be recommendations from friends. The online world works in the same way and blogs really are the online equivalent of W.O.M.

    There are other online and blog specific ways which are just as important. The most frequent one is to simply reference a post or article from your a post on your own blog, as well as including a trackback. Another option is to include someone in your Blogroll, which is where bloggers highlight the blogs they recommend to their readers high praise indeed. When this does happen, then just like the replies to your posts, follow up and thank the person for the link and hence the recommendation.

    Dont forget that you also make it easy for people to tell a friend about it using an email a friend type of function or links to social bookmarking sites such as Digg or Del.icio.us which will automatically add the post to then be shared online.

    Lots of ways to be recommended so encourage them all!

    Communication and dissemination of information is key to achieving a successful blog and the RSS functionality is the way to achieve that. So the 5th R included here is RSS.

    When someone subscribes to your RSS Feed, it means that they have shown a commitment to continuing the interaction they are interested in receiving more information and with RSS you can provide them with immediate updates from your blog, cleanly and instantly. With so many benefits on offer for all parties, make sure that the RSS feeds are prominent on your blog to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find them.

    To cover all options, you should also give people the opportunity to subscribe to RSS by email – 3rd party services such as Feedblitz or Feedburner make this straightforward. In any case, as RSS is still an unknown quantity in many quarters, it may equally be wise to provide a link to a page which explains what RSS is and what RSS Readers are available.

    Once you have your RSS in place, use it to your benefit. Try to differentiate yourself in your feed and include branding elements such as your logo tools such as Feedburner can really help you to do this simply enough. RSS will also allow you to syndicate your content on a number of different sites immediately and, as a final comment, dont forget that you can create any number of individual RSS feeds to cover individual topics.

    But whether you work from a single RSS feed or develop multiple feeds, it is important that you make RSS a central part of your blog promotion and reader retention program. It is something which underpins the other elements and allows the Business Blog to reach its full potential by making the information we produce as widely available as possible.

    Summary

    If we can achieve each of these 5Rs successfully in our Business Blogging, then we are well on the way to creating a Business Blog which will achieve the goals that we set for it, whether they are focused on creating a network, improving our reputation or positioning, developing a solid base of subscribers, increasing our Search Engine Rankings or simply generating new business.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    7 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. The 5 ‘R’s of Better Business Blogging – Recommend
    2. The 5 Rs of Better Business Blogging – Read
    3. The 5′R’s of Better Business Blogging – RSS
    4. Business Blog Design
    5. The 5 Rs of Better Business Blogging – Return

    Blog Consultant questions: Ask the Blog CoachAsk the Blog Coach: Business Blogging FAQs

    Question: Who should be the main author of a corporate blog? Should it always be the MD or CEO?

    The Blog Coach’s Reply: Firstly, it’s important to stress that, even in corporate blogs, whoever does the writing, it needs to retain a personal tone and not drift towards corporate “marketing speak”. This personal aspect is one of the key business benefits that blogs offer. A personal writing style helps companies to put a human perspective on an often austere external corporate image and differentiate themselves by doing so. This is particularly effective for Professional Services companies where a key selling point has to be the people (as well as their expertise) carrying out the work a corporate site can state their qualifications but, unlike a blog, cannot give an insight as to who the people really are.

    Should only CEOs blog?
    As for whether CEOs should always blog no, not at all. I would certainly not recommend that all CEOs consider blogging themselves and nor should it generally be the CEO who blogs on a corporate blog. It’s important to remember that corporate blogs do not have a single purpose or format – rather it’s an umbrella term for many different types. For instance, a blog intended to help provide better customer service will be different to one aimed at helping to develop a brand and both will be different to a product focused blog.

    The so called “CEO Blog” is a different type again, I believe. As you would expect, an MD or CEO is going to write about the company in a very different way to someone in the Customer Services department because they have a different perspective on the issues and the industry. It is that perspective which is of interest to readers. A CEO is more likely to do a weekly State of the Nation type of post which looks at the industry, the company and factors affecting it from a helicopter perspective. Good examples are Jonathan Schwartz (CEO of Sun Microsystems) or Richard Edelman (Edelman PR).

    However, a product focused blog or a detailed information blog are more likely to be written by people specialist in those areas. In that way, the knowledge and the enthusiasm that they have for the subject they are writing about can really shine through.

    How to identify a potential company blogger
    In deciding who should blog, I would probably suggest that you consider someone who :

    • has a passion for what they are writing about

    • ideally enjoys writing (also it helps if they are good at it)

    • has expertise in the area (and ideally a good general knowledge base)

    • is a good listener and is open to feedback (including criticism)

    • is familiar with blogs and how to present yourself in them

    As you go through the planning process for your blog and identify what your goals are for it and who it is targeted at, you will find that there will be some ideal candidates who will be most appropriate to take on the role. You might also consider an internal blog as a good place to identify those people with a natural affinity for the medium.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Starting to write your Business Blog – BBB Quick Guides
    2. Planning your Business Blog
    3. What makes a successful corporate blog?
    4. 10 Key things to do before starting a Business Blog
    5. Which companies can particularly benefit from blogs?

    A second post about Sony and their Playstation blog so soon after my blog review post on the two Sony blogs, I hear you cry? Well, yes, but it’s a great example of dealing with a situation that has arisen on the blog, so I just had to. (And no, I’m not angling for a free game!)

    As you might expect, Sony’s Playstation blog has been attracting a lot of comments, a situation that most of us no doubt view with a tinge of envy. However, it seems that a lot of the comments have been rather too off topic and the “noise” factor has been deafening, drowning out relevant comments on the posts. Effectively it’s been creating a free for all ‘bulletin board’ type of feel which isn’t great in a blog environment.

    Following a number of requests from their readers, Sony have decided to take steps to reduce this, and they announced what they were intending to do about it in a post from Patrick Seybold which stated:

    Since we launched the blog we have been extremely liberal in our monitoring policies because we wanted you guys and gals to get to know each other and share ideas. Lately, however, we have been getting complaints that there is so much noise accompanying each post that people cant separate the good meat from the chatter. We definitely hear you. So, we are going to step up our moderation of off-topic, nonsensical posts or posts on topics that we have already addressed (Yes, we hear you on wanting more demos consider that box suitably checked). If you have suggestions not related to the particular topic of a post, please use our comment form.

    Why’s it good to have done it like this? Well, I reckon there’s a few good reasons why:

    • Listening: they’ve been listening to what their readers have been telling them, in this case that there is too much “noise” in the comments section – they’ve listened and have adapted accordingly. When you are running a business blog, it’s important to remember that it is written for the readers, not for the authors.

    • Clarity and openness: they’ve explained clearly what is happening, why the actions have been taken and what they hope will happen in the future. The more open (and authentic) you can be in how you deal with your readers the more successful your blog is likely to be.

    • Forward Thinking: they’ve kept in mind the audience that they wish to attract and wish to participate on their blog – in this case, it was an audience which seemed to be alienated by the “noise” factor in the comments section. Making the changes allows them to focus back on their target audience.
    • Developing: a blog is always going to be developing. While it shouldn’t be seen as an unfinished development project, it’s important that we learn as we go along and change accordingly. Therefore it’s encouraging to see a large corporation both willing and able to address an issue and ring the changes.

    • Giving Options: it’s important not to shut down the channels of communication and if people want to ask or comment about other topics (as had been the case)then they still need to be able to. Here, readers have been offered a specific way to post their other comments using a alternative method.

    There is of course the possibility of this swinging too far in the other direction with over zealous moderation of comments, but I think the likelihood of that is small – personally, I’d prefer to focus on (and learn from) the way in which it was handled which I think has been spot on.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Sony Blogs – Two blogs divided by a common brand
    2. 3 Key Blogging Questions: Question 2
    3. Comments or no comments: that is the question
    4. How to avoid negative comments on your blog
    5. Why negative comments are positive

    « Previous PageNext Page »