Three More Business Blogging Options

Let’s look at three other emerging approaches to business blogging:

Executive blog – A company that wants to showcase the talent of its management team can handpick a number of senior managers and set up their own personal spaces on a company website. Good examples of this are PriceWaterhouseCoopers UK, Hewlett-Packard (which is greatly expanding its blog presence) and the public relations firm Edelman. The trick here is to make sure that the executives have the will and time to write regularly. These are busy people, and it’s easy for early enthusiasm to give way to scheduling reality. It’s usually a good idea to choose topics over people. That’s because it’s likely that channel relationships, for example, are more critical for you to publicize than the executive who oversees them. Also, turnover may play havoc with your carefully chosen lineup. Have a backup in reserve to pick up the ball in case an executive leaves the company or is reassigned.

Executives need support in this effort. Many have come up through the ranks in disciplines where writing skills were not important. They need coaching and editing to make sure they get their points across. Don’t be heavy-handed; remember that this is a medium of personal expression. Let their personality come through and encourage them to go off the business topic occasionally and write about personal experiences, even those outside of the office.

Advice blog — This is one of my favorite approaches to business blogging, and I can’t understand why more companies don’t do it. An advice blog connects with customers about topics that are mutually interesting. Its purpose is to offer practical information that helps readers be more successful and productive, thereby associating the sponsor with that expertise. A great example of this is Extended Stay Hotels’ Road Warrior Tips, which is full of useful advice for frequent business travelers. Clutter Control Freak is a new blog from Stacks and Stacks, a retailer of storage and organization accessories. It’s been online only four months, but is already getting 1,500 visitors per day. GlaxoSmithKline has a new blog called AlliConnect that’s all about weight loss.

Advice blogs are relatively easy to maintain because they can be written by multiple contributors and they do well on search engines because they pertain to keywords that people frequently use when searching. You can also mix practical advice with references to new company products and services, a subtle but effective marketing tactic. As long as you don’t overdo that, you’ll be fine.

If all this choice looks overwhelming, my Social Media Crash Course provides a quick half-day or full-day introduction and interactive training on concepts, terminology and applications. Contact me if you’re interested.

Advocacy blog – This relatively rare blog addresses a specific public policy or legislative agenda upon which the company wants to make its position known. It’s most effective when the topic is controversial and the company wants to burnish its reputation as a thought leader or activist. Examples include the McDonald’s Corporate Responsibility Blog and the National Association of Manufacturers’ However, companies like General Motors, Benetton and Chrysler frequently use their corporate blogs for this purpose.

Advocacy blogs can gain significant visibility in the media and with legislators and can become powerful platforms to head off attacks from critics. However, if you decide to launch an advocacy blog, do so with your eyes open. Your readers are likely to include the people who are most critical of you and they may try to turn your words against you. You need a thick skin to do this well, and it pays to take the high road. By acknowledging and responding constructively to criticism, you can keep the conversation civil.

For a constantly updated list of corporate blogs, see this list on my website. Debbie Weil’s BlogWrite for CEOs is also an excellent resource.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *