Most big companies’ blogs are as faceless and uninspiring as their corporate headquarters.
They do try. They have corporate blogs … a section of their website where they try to open up their businesses by giving readers a real insight into how they work and what makes them tick.
Well, that’s the idea.
Whether they are genuine efforts to give readers and customers a better understanding of their business, or just a PR after-thought, most of these corporate blogs fail.
Corporates are good at being … er … corporate.
Whether they are commercially driven businesses or public sector organisations, they are usually comfortable using communications to pump out information and messages that are pre-defined and agreed, and that they can tightly control.
Their spokespeople – be they professional communicators in their PR teams or senior executives – speak in a corporate monotone, rather than using individual voices which are varied , colourful and distinctive.
And they tend to stick rigidly to the same corporate line which appears in all their media releases, briefings, reports or updates and other formal communications.
This ‘safety first’ approach to communications can work effectively with traditional communication channels.
But with the digital age demanding a more immediate, responsive and interactive approach to communications, this approach begins to come up short.
This is especially the case with blogging, where command and control communications fail badly.
Fives attributes of successful blogs
Blogs come in all shape and sizes. There is no single route to success. What works for one individual or organisation may not work for another.
However, there are some universal truths about successful blogs. We’ve identified five:
1. We are all emotional creatures. As such we respond best to other people. Blogs from named individuals who convey their personal and emotional response to the events, news, trends or intelligence they are writing about, are received more positively
2. The style and tone of blogs need to be conversational and direct. There’s no point cutting and pasting regular policy statements or media releases and simply renaming them as a blog. They must approach issues differently, and relay information in a way that readers can understand and relate to.
3. Good blogs are always responsive. They contribute to debates and discussions on existing issues. They move things on. And they do so quickly.
4. Everyone’s hungry for something new. Blogs are successful if they have information, insight or intelligence on any given issue that can’t be found elsewhere.
5. Good blogs stimulate dialogue and understanding between the blogger and reader, fostering stronger and more positive relations between the two. The key thing, though, is it’s a two-way thing. Bloggers want to stimulate positive action, but equally they need to respond when readers express their views and comments.
These five points will come as no surprise to anyone who has a cursory interest in blogging.
Corporate communicators know all this. The problem is that they find it so difficult to put it into practice.
Until they do so, the ‘corporate blog’ will always remain a contradiction in terms.
If you require help writing your corporate blog, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
photo credit: Andrew E Larson/flickr