Posted by Amanda Chapel
A few days ago, PR Blog pundit, marketing consultant and all-around nice-guy social-media wonk, Brian Oberkirch, blogged "How Companies Blog." It was a nice little list. But regrettably like just about everything that makes up the venerable web "conversation," it was inspiring but sorely incomplete.
Here, we help Brian finish his thoughts. Below in bold italics is Oberkirch's list followed by some business context and perspective.
Corporate blog: The blog equivalent of a running press release. Official communications mainly, but link-ier and with feedback channels, index-ability, all the blog goodness you know and love.
Brian is absolutely right. Considering all the time corporations once wasted “crafting the message” and futzing around with strategic planning and all that stuff, well, no more. Today, you can just wing it and let it fly. Sound insane? Actually it’s genius. Keep in mind, the moment you enter into the blog conversation, you “cede control” anyway. As such, the corporate blog can help companies dramatically lessen the time it takes to get mugged by competitors, errant activists and disgruntled former employees. This turns out to be huge time saver. Where once it may have taken years to get from concept to fruition and shareholder benefit... now with the help of blogging, companies can go from half baked idea to abject failure within days.
Product blog: Gathers up the current chatter about a product or service and serves as an official focal point for that community. Sets the context for the product or service and offers an ideal place to get feedback and learn what people actually think.
Brian is absolutely right. The unwashed masses are just the people you want to ask for opinions about the new Jaguar XK. Actually, getting feedback asymmetrically from strangers that likely have absolutely NO inkling whatsoever in what they are taking about is sure to give you and your company a fresh perspective. That’s not all. As the product blog greatly increases the likelihood of wild goose chases, your company can spend endless cycles pursuing marginal and frivolous comments. Proven fact: Busier employees make happier employees.
Developer/Channel Partner Network: Talk to your developers and link early and often to what is going on in their world.
This is a variation of Google's successful news aggregator model. If you just list/steal links to the original works of others, you can get the benefit without any of the headache of actually thinking, working or adding value. If you can be perceived as the "hub," you can get everyone else to paint the fence for you, so to speak. It’s pretty obvious why this is aligned with PR. If you can manufacture the perception of expertise by collecting/exhibiting the expertise of others, you can also use that as leverage to secure opportunity. Excuse me but take that out of the Rubel equation and whatdoyagot? Some bald dork asking if you need any help at Sharper Image.
Event/Promotional Blog: Sometimes we’ll see a short-lived blog as a centerpiece of event communications or anchoring a mini-site for a promotion.
Now, a lot of people poo poo this one. Take PRSA’s blog for its International Conference in Salt Lake City last November. Lots of people say that it was a complete lightweight exercise. But it did make those writing it feel like they were contributing and that’s got to be worth something.
Or take Jeff Jarvis and his recent "Davos Conversations." It sure looked like a total failure. Some say that the bearded bad toothed demagogue looked like a complete caricature of himself. BUT, apparently he and Adriana had fun. That's got to be worth something. And besides, Jeff got to act like a reporter. For a former TV critic, c’mon, tell me that isn’t important!
CEO/Thought Leader Blog: These got way too much attention early on and are probably still over represented as corporate blogging examples, but can be fascinating if done correctly.
Fascinating, indeed. Unfortunately, there are so few CEOs on crack that this is hardly worth mentioning. Most CEOs in the Fortune 500 have a sense of responsibility for shareholder value; the rest have general counsels (with testicles) who advise strongly against it. Sure, Jonathan Schwartz blogs but he’s also got a ponytail.
Here: Remember the fat kid in grade school whose mother made him wear that goofy red bow tie? Remember how much fun we all had teasing Teddy senseless in the schoolyard. If I recall, he had his ass kicked once a day for eight years. Well, now Ted the CEO can relive those character-building years with the corporate blog.
Company Evangelist: The middle manager who acts as conduit between all the various company strands. Ideally, this person is as embedded in their own blogging circles as they are in the company.
Fabulous. Sure some of the old-school communicators will characterize this as a god-awful idea. They say that taking the corporate spokesperson responsibility and marginalizing it variously across the organization without any central control is tantamount to Corporate Tourette's. Nonsense. Alarmists! Speaking with many voices gives the corporation a much better chance that someone/anyone within the corporation will get it right. This is corporate communications as survival of the fittest. It can’t get any more natural than that.
Internal blogs: Some of the most powerful and useful blogging never sees the light of day. I’ve heard some great stories about internal blogs that teams use to share links, collaborate and educate.
Seriously, all kidding aside... when it comes to the definition of, and the dynamic that is, a corporation, this is probably the only place where blogging makes any sense.
THERE. DONE. How companies blog complete.
We’d like to thank Brian Oberkirch for inspiring this piece.
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Here's how companies really want to blog...
Contract Writing Position for Blogging Campaign
We are an advertising agency that is looking for somebody to work from 2/14 - 2/26 as part of a viral marketing campaign. The job will essentially consist of contributing to a variety of blogs and message boards. Candidates should write well and have the ability to think creatively on their feet. An interest in music and technology is a big plus.
Though this should be a fun job, it is important that the candidate understand the objectives of the campaign, work hard, and go about blogging in a very efficient and organized manner. Tracking when and where comments have been posted is just as important as the comments themselves. It is a full-time position, $10/hour for the tenure of the contract. You will be working at our midtown office location.
Please send a resume as well as writing samples that illustrate creativity.
The ideal candidate would have experience with:
Those that are successful in this role will have contract opportunities in the future. We are looking to start interviewing next week.