Corporate Blogging in 2007

Corporate Blogging in 2007A recent post in BusinesBlogwire showed that the number of blogs discussing “corporate blogging” (and its related keywords) has not risen much today, compared to the figure a year ago. The comments led to a possibility that maybe the word they use is “business blogging”… but I checked – the figures are about the same, with not much increase over the past year.

Easton goes on to say:

On a typical day, Technorati indexes about 40-60 blog posts mentioning the three terms mentioned above. At least several of those are duplicates of some kind (either legitimate re-posts or spam). I suspect that there about 10 bloggers that account for 30 to 50 percent of all such posts. (My gut talking.)

10 bloggers a day? Out of the previously reported 57 MILLION in October 2006? That doesn’t sound right, does it?

Unfortunately (or fortunately) the figures are correct. For the past three months or so since I started this blog, I have a Google Alert keeping me updated about any news Google finds on the web about this topic, and as far as my observations, there hasn’t yet been a lot of news about corporate blogging.

In fact, I would say at least 20% of the alerts that were sent to me were mentions more about Debbie Weil’s Corporate Blogging Book rather than a company that has really started a corporate blog! :mrgreen: Debbie must be doing pretty well with her book! (Its the Amazon Bestseller afterall – I’ve read it myself, and there is no doubt its a great book) 🙂

We all probably have heard by now what the benefits of corporate blogging are. I, for one, am totally bought by the ideas and the evidence! I think there can be no better way today to create buzz about your brand and get direct feedback from your customers than a corporate blog.

This issue puzzled me a lot when Easton posted it. The benefits are clear, there are so many cases to prove that it works, and the best thing is – it doesn’t require a lot of resources to start a corporate blog! So why then hasn’t corporate blogging taken off yet? Will it really happen in 2007 as I’ve predicted?

I still think my prediction will turn out right

I recently had some opportunities to talk to a couple of people working in MNCs, and in our chats, I have grown to realise that many corporations (big ones especially!) are really still in the pre-year 2000 age in terms of embracing the Internet for marketing.

I also observed that smaller companies are taking up marketing on the Internet better than the big companies. I personally find the reason for this is quite clear – small businesses are more flexible and ready to change, and its easier and cheaper to market online anyway, so it really appeals to them!

Corporate BlogSo hold on, the large corporations are not unwilling to change. Corporate blogging does work. From my observations again, they do know about advantages of getting online to create buzz, the books have reached them, and the word has gone in. They are just taking more time to make the change.

This is analogous to steering a cruise ship versus a speedboat – the bigger the corporation, the longer it takes to change direction because of the inertia caused by sheer mass of the company.

Its been at least two years since the first books on blog marketing have been published, and I think its time the big ships have altered to the new direction, and soon they will be up with full throttle, maximum speed, creating new waves.

I will be reaching out a lot this year to help many of my friends in Singapore owning small and medium sized businesses get into the channel of corporate blogs.

Position yourself today and get started with corporate blog – and get ready to ride with the big waves coming up! 2007 will be the year for corporate blogging. Would you agree?

Corporate Blogging versus Internet Marketing

Corporate BloggingOver the past few days, I’ve been reading a lot more. Since there was a poorer Internet connection (maybe I’m just too impatient), I decided that I might as well make full use of the time to get something else done!

So I dug out some of my digital dust, and started reading them – some of them may be a little outdated, but I think its worthwhile to read them still.

Anyway, I’ve found out something.

People have really different perspectives on what blog really is!

Corporate Blogging

In the corporate blogging books that I’ve bought, most of them mentioned that the most powerful thing about blogging is really about consolidating opinions, reaching out the customers one by one and answering their queries, soliciting feedback, and building yourself a brand. Its a complementary means for companies to “get online”.

As of today, there is still a huge number of companies that are still using press releases and newsletters as their primary means to push information and news out – these means are usually one way. There are seldom any options for the reader to reply with their feedback.

But corporations which have already jumped of the corporate blogging bandwagon say they love it! Bob Lutz, Vice Chair of GM, seems to be getting a lot of success for the Fastlane Blog he’s been maintaining, and if you hop on to the blog, it really sound a like a great way for a top executive like Bob to communicate directly to their fans.

In the corporate blogging book, the author Debbie Weil addressed the issue of ROI – that it really difficult to calculate the ROI of adding a blog to the matrix of marketing channel. Corporate blogging opens up a new means of communication – but what you actually do with the means is really up to you!

Its like… “I’m going to get a multi billionaire to go up and down the elevator with you, and you have 45 seconds with him. In this 45 seconds you have ALL his attention, but what are you going to say?” Your eventual ROI really depends on how you compose your message – corporate blogging represents only that opportunity.

In short, “blogs” to corporations, are “instant worldwide one-to-one communications channels”.

I can go on and on about corporate blogging, but I’ll stop here for today :mrgreen:

Internet Marketing

Internet Marketers on the other hand, look at blogs in a different perspective. Do Internet Marketers really care about building a fan base and communicating directly to their customers? You bet! But they do not with their blogs. They do that in emails. That is why they have all the email autoresponders and stuff.

Internet marketers use blogs solely as “Instant publishing platforms“, because it is so much easier to post a blog post, than do up a HTML file and upload it to the server. With a blog set up, all they have to do to create a new page of content is to type (some of them just copy and paste), and hit publish. That, is what they say, is the power of blogs.

The fact is that you cannot afford to put too much sales talk in a blog – period. Do that and I think its a surefire way to drive your visitors away! But you can do that in email! Blogs are not great cash cows like their micro-site sales letters, and the primary means of revenue for blogs is advertising – and traffic takes a lot of time to build!

So what do Internet marketers do? Instead of building one blog, they build 30. Each may have 1000 visitors per month, but in total they have 30000 visitors! That maybe substantial enough to get some clicks on their ads!

Of course, there are many marketers who are bloggers to, but often that is just one of their blogs – only that one blog where they have their original authentic voice and content. The rest are just syndicated content from article directories and articles which they paid to get written. These articles do not “engage the visitors” like what they always say in corporate blogging, and its rare, if they ever get any comments on these posts.

I personally feel that republishing articles do not add value to the web… but then again, there is nothing wrong with the venture if both the publisher and the author of the articles are fine with it.

So, are you taking blogging more as a communications tool, or a publishing platform?

A Blogging Success Study

Corporate Blogging StudyA Blogging Success Study was done by Northeastern University and Backbone Media, studying 20 cases of successful corporate blogs.

One of the sections of the report was really interesting – its about the recurring factors that help the success of a corporate blog, and in this section, five features were highlighted.

1. Culture

According to the paper, the culture of the company shows up very much on the corporate blog. It says:

If a company’s culture is warm and open, and a company is transparent about their blogging, this will come across in the blog. An audience and customers will then have a better connection with a company through its blog.

Talking about company culture – I think one of the key factors in retention of employees is corporate culture. To many people, the paycheck is important, but most would opt for a company they would be happy working in, one that has an open and friendly culture.

For a corporation to have a culture suitable for blogging, it must be open to information sharing. If the management of the company is all skeptical about “competitors stealing information” or things like that, its blog will probably not be interesting.

2. Transparency

Transparency is very much related to culture, and I’d think it would be terribly difficult to maintain a blog if you had to really keep sensitive and delicate issues behind the doors of the company. The feeling would be like having to keep a lie – its easy to lie, but its hard to keep it! I think the report puts it very well:

Transparency builds trust; trust builds interest; and interest builds an audience.

3. Time

Well, I’d so much agree to this! Blogging is so different from the one-off effort of building the static website. Blogs need to be updated with new posts frequently, and a blog without updates is one without visitors.

Companies need to realise this, that if they were to undertake a corporate blog, resources must be allocated for this initiative, and time – lots of time – must be spent. In fact, I would think that maintaining a blog (alongside marketing it) can be a full time job for one person!

4. Dialogue

One key function of having corporate blogs is to promote feedback from customers or potential customers about products and issues going on within the company. While a company blog (or any blog for that matter) can function without comments and conversation, I think it would be pretty boring!

Conversations stir up people’s interest, and tackles issues. The great thing about blogs is the all these conversations are accessible to the public, and adds content to the blog, which is then potentially searchable by search engines. So once issues are being tackled, the thread of comments can serve as a very useful FAQ!

5. Entertaining Writing Style and Personalization

Hah! The only reason why blogs are gaining so much popularity is because of the very personal voice of the blogger coming through via the blog post. In blogging, we KNOW that there is a real human behind the blog. If anyone wanted old school press ready styled articles, they would look for press releases!

That said, I think both PRs and blog serve their own purposes and appeal to different audiences. PRs are useful as big announcements (not that you can’t announce in blogs), and blogs give the more informal and “soft-launch” feel.


Remember that ultimately the main objective of the blog goes beyond “informing”, blogs created the avenue for corporations to speak direct to their customers, one by one, and it has revolutionized the way things have been.

Do you own a corporate blog? If you do, be sure to make sure you work on these five key features!

Key aspects of corporate blogging

Corporate BloggingSince I’ve bought so many books, I’d better dive into corporate blogging straight away!

We all know about corporate blogging, but what are the key aspects that make blogs so powerful in helping companies, big and small?

Big Corporations

Most big corporations use an IT department or the likes that manage the website of the company. This is to ensure that the right technically trained people are put in charge to take care of the technicalities behind the website, may it be just an information website, or a powered portal that enables e-commerce. While this implementation is good, it slows down the time to publish.

Blogs gives an excellent advantage because it gives the power of instant publishing right to the non-technical guy (the CEO!) sitting behind a computer screen. The setting up of the blog can be done by the IT department, and that is a one time process, but subsequent updates and posts can be done by the CEO himself.

This not only lets the blogger (whether its the CEO or some other designated blogger) talk to the public instantly, but because of the very “personal voice” nature of blogs, invites feedback from the public through comments.

The powerful feedback feature of blogs can also help big corporations test drive their new ideas, and gather feedback directly from the customers. For example, an auto manufacturer like General Motors might not have much opportunity to really meet their customers in real life and get feedback from them, because of the nature of the business and the distribution channels. (I assume their dealers are the ones that do the interacting with customers most of the time.) Using a corporate blog (GM Blogs) bridges this gap! Using this blog, GM can post about their development of any new models and ask for input and feedback from the customers – what they want improved!

Small Corporations

The main concern for most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one word – marketing! And, blogs are an excellent medium for marketing and reaching out to people via the Internet!

Of course, the first thing is the global reach – and you may argue that a normal website can do that similarly as well! But let me bring this back to the issue of technicalities – a small startup may not even have the resources to get the technical people to do up a website! And its really true, I’ve seen some sites out there from SMEs that are quite horribly designed, with broken links, missing images and all! Totally ruins the professional image of the company, IMHO.

The great thing about blogs are that they are built from templates! To set up a blog, just create an account at and you can get your blog up in less an hour of work for Internet amateur, or 5 mins for the Internet savvy! While the default templates may not look unique, at least they look professional and pleasant – much better than many SMEs out there! Using the blog administration interface to update the content is also much friendlier than dealing with the raw HTML codes.

Pitstop Cafe is a great example of one board game cafe in Singapore that use a blogspot address for their website, and its been around for almost a year. They have their template changed from the original ones by blogger – very nice and very well done!

And the best part – hosting on blogspot is free! Putting aside the debate of having your own domain name, isn’t that a wonderful package for a startup company?

More on marketing and building brand awareness.

I talked about Google loving blogs just yesterday. Blogs are a great way to build content, which automatically means marketing for companies.

For most blogging engines, each post automatically becomes a single page (permalink) for the article, so just by writing a short and good articles everyday or maybe three times a week, a company can quickly build pages and pages of content for the search engine to index, and build credibility in the industry they are dealing in. To add to that, if the blogger works on the social aspects of blogging and links to relevant sites, this blog will really bring in traffic, which eventually boils down to a better brand awareness!

Of course, there are a lot of other areas in which blogs can help companies, like highlighting success stories with your products, or instant communication during a crisis, but I think these highlighted above are really the key aspects, the ones which really make the big difference!

Keep Blogging, Keep Talking

Blog with PassionI think one of the key challenges faced by bloggers is that they run out of things to blog eventually. That happened to me before when I was working on my other blogs.

I followed today and he brought me to an article on the OrlandoSentinel – Keep those Weblogs Crackling.

The key idea? One word: Passion.

Its true that it may be indeed not easy to find your passion – you often have to try several things to find one that you really like! However, once you hit the spot, you’ve got it right on!

Steve Rubel, author of the also once shared about Blogging from the Gut of Your Company. In that post, he was addressing the issue more from the corporate blogging point of view. I think these two sentence says it all about the essence of corporate blogging.

PR instinct tells us to have the executives – and only the execs – speak for the firm. But blogs break down these walls. We can now hear from everyone inside the heart of a corporation – if the company is willing to let them speak.

Hear from everyone inside the heart of a corporation – nice. We’ve all been used to seeing corporations as big giants with strict rules and “everything must be screened before release to media” kind of policies. Blogs will change all that! That granted, even companies will find that they will run out of things to talk about in their blog. So what do you do? Are you going to start blogging about what is happening in the daily office routine? That would bore your readers dead!

It is important to note that corporate blogs should by no means be like a press release! Press release style articles should be in your monthly newsletters or official articles! Blogs are about communicating with a personality. So, in fact, you don’t have to write about only the things that happen in office. In fact, I feel you shouldn’t! You really need to write about something that inspires yourself, about what you are passionate about.

The objective of most corporate blogs are to establish closer relationships with customers and potential customers. The blog’s personality builds this rapport.