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Idea: Use the Tools of Blogging for Customer Media
Other than Blogs

By Rex Hammock

Over the years, I’ve been surprised whenever I’m included on such lists as Chief Executive magazine’s “Top Ten CEO Blogs” or CEO.com’s Top 25 CEO Bloggers. Why am I surprised? Because I’ve done only two things to receive such honors: (1) I started blogging in 1999. (2) I didn’t stop.

Today, a well-maintained company blog is a must-have media tool for a business of any size. And the most important advice I can give you is what I’ve learned over the past 15 years: (1) Start. (2) Don’t stop.

However, companies also need to be aware that they can use these same blogging approaches to create and manage a wide range of customer media that aren’t blogs. The ways these media-rich sites can be used is limited only by the opportunities you find to add value to your company’s products and services.

As an example, here are the ways Google communicates by both using blogs and consciously not using blogs, as well employing blogging software to manage something other than a blog.

1. Google does not use a blog for press releases. It limits press releases to official institutional news that is required by regulatory agencies (Google Press Releases). In other words, Google limits press releases to those announcements that are institution-to-institution messages.

2. google-blogs

2. Google uses company- and topic-specific blogs to communicate product news to customers, developers and the media. With a conversational voice, Google product managers, engineers and others share information about its products and services. I consider this the classic business use of blogs. Product blogs, as Google uses them, are person-to-person communications, with each blog post bylined by a Google employee relevant to the subject matter.

3. think-with-google

3. Google uses blogging software and approaches to create and manage customer content and media that aren’t labeled blogs. A great example is Think With Google, a news and resource site for advertising executives and media planners. Don’t look for any description of it as a blog.

Key Lessons for Marketers: For businesses, use press releases to communicate as one institution (“the corporation”) to another institution (“the media” or “analysts”). Use blogs for a more authentic, conversational communication between people who create products (your employees) and people who use the products (your customers). Use the media-management features of software originally created for blogging as a content management system to create media that help customers better understand how they can use your products in their work or play.





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