When you want to share your organization’s story, a blog should be high on your list. Blogging is an easy way to share the inside scoop and help your customers feel like they have a relationship with your company that goes beyond the transaction. Before you rush out to get a WordPress account, make sure you are really ready with these tips.
[After the jump, read the 9 Rules of Corporate Blogging]
9 Rules of Corporate Blogging
1. Don’t start a blog without management support. If you’re not the CEO, make sure the CEO is on board. And ideally, the people between you and the CEO on the food chain. A blog is a great tool, but if you don’t have support from the organization, you’re just looking to get dooced.
2. It doesn’t matter who blogs. Oh, well, it matters. It matters that you get someone who’s knowledgeable, a good writer and hopefully witty. Someone who will represent the organization well. But lots of organizations don’t have blogs because the CEO doesn’t have time to blog. Blogging isn’t about the title; it should be about insight. How about the VP of communications? How about the level 2 engineer in product support? How about anyone who knows your customers well?
3. Be real. No matter what else you do, you have to be real. Tell the truth. Admit when you don’t know the answer. Be honest about who you are and your role within the organization. [Related to #2: If you’re NOT the CEO, you can’t blog in the name of the CEO. You will get caught, and the negative publicity will make you very, very sorry.]
4. Tie your blog in with your corporate brand. It’s fine to use a free platform like WordPress or Blogger, or a next step up like TypePad or Movable Type. However, if your blog isn’t fully integrated into your website’s content management system, it at least needs to LOOK like it is. Your URL needs to match. Your template needs to match. Don’t risk looking amateur or unofficial.
5. Decide what to write about ahead of time. Craft a focus for your blog that will be both interesting to your customers and acceptable to your PR folks. Some organizations are excited to share how their new product development is going; for others, that’s grounds for firing. Make sure you know what you can and can’t say when it comes to the SEC, if you’re a public company. No matter who you are, there’s something interesting and relevant you can write about. What about sharing customer stories?
6. Don’t post your press releases verbatim. I’ll agree that there are some circumstances that warrant linking to, or quoting from, your own press releases. But if your blog is just a re-posting of everything the PR department churns out, your blog isn’t going to make an impact.
7. Allow comments. Part of what makes blogs effective is enabling the conversation with your customers. If you don’t allow comments on your blog, or if you censor them, you might as well be writing press releases. See #6.
8. Syndicate your posts via RSS. Many off-the-shelf blog platforms will enable you to easily offer an RSS, or subscription, feed of your content. Or go a step better and hook up with Feedburner for nice statistics about your feed and its readers. Don’t make people come to you — let them subscribe to receive your posts. Learn more about mediacasting.
9. Learn to comment on other blogs. Now that you’re in the game, resolve to participate. Blogging is a conversation, and there are other folks out there talking about your industry, even your organization. Comment on their blogs — they’ll be more likely to comment on, and link to, yours.
These are just a few tips to get you started. Do you need more assistance in developing a corporate blogging strategy? Contact us. Helping companies better share their stories is our business. But you know that — you just read it on our blog.