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To Blog Or Not To Blog

This article is by Guest Contributor Rick Spence.
In a recent “AIMS”: Discussion List post (not yet online), “Tema Frank”: said (in part):
bq. Many commentators argue that companies should jump on the blogging bandwagon, but for most companies I think that is bad advice. Let’s face it, how many of us really have something interesting to say (and the skill to write it well) every couple of days? If you delegate the writing to a staff member, how can you be sure that they’ll only write about topics you want aired publicly? But if you restrict them, your blog quickly becomes a boring advertorial, which will either be ignored (best case scenario) or derided publicly.
I agree with most of Tema Frank’s comments about corporate blogging, but not with her conclusion.

Yes, good blogs are tough to pull off. But to say that companies should not blog because most of their employees lack the skill or motivation to post coherent thoughts on a regular basis is like saying companies shouldn’t have security guards, since none of their employees wants to walk around the premises at night carrying a flashlight.
If developing blogs makes sense, companies should put them in the hands of professionals, even if they have to rent or acquire the skills they need – as they do whenever they ship things, advertise, or need their financial records audited.
Blogs are a fabulous tool for companies wishing to get closer to their customers, share strategic news and information, and build stronger relationships. They simply have to be done right.
Rather than let employees blog whatever they like, companies should empower Marketing to co-ordinate blogs written by a number of different employees. The company should publish as many blogs as they have audiences with different interests (eg. product development, quality assurance, user information and updates, and perhaps comments on industry news and issues). With multiple bloggers, it should be easy to meet the three-or-four-posts-a-week benchmark without unduly distracting any individual employees from their primary duties.
Marketing, as the company’s official communicators, should identify potential bloggers among appropriate staff members, train them in blog writing, help them select topics to blog about, and then edit the posts before publication. Presto! An ongoing marketing communications tool that is real-time, interactive, fresh, personal – and professional.
And more fun than a security guard with a billy club.
Rick Spence is a Toronto-based marketing consultant and business journalist, and a professional speaker on topics related to entrepreneurship and business communication. He is the former editor and publisher of PROFIT Magazine.
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