Note: This post is adapted from my Manila Bulletin Blog-O-Rama column for April 27, 2009.
Because of the popularity of blogs these days, some companies are joining the blog mob or the blog bandwagon. There’s really nothing wrong with this. A corporate blog, after all, is another way to connect with your customers or market on another level. And a blog, if put up well, can project more warmth and candidness than a generic press releases would. It is an affordable, high-impact way to get your message across without the expense of multi-million campaigns.
On the other hand, a corporation or company should also ask itself if a blog fits their marketing goals. It is really not for everybody. Sometimes, it can make a firm vulnerable to unwanted “blog storms” or security lapses and make its stand on certain matters open to interpretation. That’s why I’d suggest that entities think long and think hard before starting a blog. Here are some suggested things to do:
1. Get to know the bloggers and be acquainted with the blogosphere. Don’t go into it half-blind. Have a feel of its inner workings and familiarize yourself with basic netiquette. Make an effort to hobnob with chief influencers and walk their talk, if necessary. Find out how they’re talking and what their impressions are about YOU.
2. Write down your blog goals before stepping into the action. As every company has a business plan and feasibility study, so they should also treat their blogging venture like it was a real business. This includes mapping out what the introductory post would be, the overall thrust & tone of the articles to be written and how to go about making the blog a success.
3. Establish a tight, topnotch team. Assigning your blogging chief, content writers and technical chiefs are a given. In other instances, it might also be wise to involve other departments like legal and human resources to help you examine the risks involved and establish what the company’s blogging rules and policies would be. If you’re not tapping experienced personnel, make sure there’s sufficient training for those involved. Let your blog team sign confidentiality agreements if need be.
4. Let everybody in the company know the blog exists as part of corporate marketing and policy. After all, your employees will be your primary supporters in this endeavour. Enlist their support by way of comments and contributions.
5. Moderate comments, but make your blog as interactive as possible. Reviewing comments before they even appear in your site is a must for the blog savvy. There’s just no way a negative , derogatory or sarcastic comment can appear in a company blog.
However, make your customer a participant, rather than just a mere reader in your blog by encouraging honest feedback. Reply to them by private email, if not in the blog itself. Entertain them by way of product promotions and the like. The blog can be tapped as an extension of your marketing office, you know?
6. Exude sincerity and make your style conversational. Your blog shouldn’t sound like your run-of-the-mill advertorial or press release. Your audience would like to read posts with substance but those which they can relate to, themselves. It is worthwhile to exhibit a human face.
(to be continued)