Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rise of the Corporate Blog

I’ve been watching with some interest the growing number of small companies investing time and effort into developing a corporate blog. And, while many seem to have gotten right, a greater number are in need of help. Here are a few solutions to the most common ways these blogs have missed the mark.

Understand the role of the Business Blog
When the blog is linked to the firm, the blog should promote the collective smarts of the firm and it's ability to synthesize new trends and information into a compelling service to me, the humble reader. It is free information given to the reader to engender trust, interest and promote your expertise. It is not a place to practice your comedy routine.

Get yourself an Editor in Chief
The role of an editor in chief is:
• Making article selections
• Final-editing of all accepted articles and requesting final approval from authors (if needed)
• Setting and enforcing deadlines

Without an EiC, no one is checking either the content or the quality, both of which can affect your business.

Now, edit!
People won't spend a lot of time on your blog if there's too much to consume - blogs are information fast food. Half the challenge in writing is having the same content & impact in half the words. Strive for concise & effective statements.

No working “blue”, no pissing people off
As I mentioned, the company blog is not the place to try and be witty - sometimes people don't get the joke. Just as important, steer clear of profrane or polarizing statements. Use the medium to promote your authority, not alienate people by talking about your love life, binge-drinking, political leanings, or frenemies.

Avoid the trio of boring
Plodding, down-speaking, and lack of authority are all blog killers.

Some things don't translate well when written i.e., "In case you haven't heard..." or "I don't know about you..." can be construed as condescending and off-putting to readers. Articles should entertain & inform, but not assume - for reasons documented in the seminal treatise, ASS|U|ME.

Continuing with the "collective smarts" premise, the style should indeed be one of authority. It's apparent that a blog is comprised of folks thoughts, so it's not needed to say it. Stopping short of committing to an opinion is another great sin. That's what readers are hungriest for. We want to know what the authors think and why - so we can sell our ideas by using your information as a credible source.

(Wrong) Turn of Phrase
Use of idioms - or turns of phrase - are colorful additions to story telling but I recommend not using them. For those whose first language is not English, idioms can cause confusion. For the rest of us, we appreciate editing, and sometimes the idiom you thought you knew comes out wrong and you end up looking stupid. It's safest just to steer clear.

Clear & simple is the most effective way to communicate ideas, expertise, and interest.

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