Creating a corporate blog is a lot like adopting a puppy. At first, it sounds like a great idea. Then, the reality of what it takes to keep it sets in.
If done right, corporate blogs can be incredibly valuable to a business. However, much like puppies, maintaining an active corporate blog requires a commitment of time and resources, not to mention the tolerance of a certain amount of unintended frustration.
Before you start picking out blog designs (and before we run the puppy analogy into the ground) here are three ways to tell if a corporate blog makes sense for your business:
1. Do you have anything unique to say?
At first, every business answers “yes.” However, when we ask them to explain why, or to cite specific examples, we hear far fewer affirmatives. The fact of the matter is that thousands of new blogs debut every day. Even though your blog may only be competing for the attention of a particular target audience, it nonetheless is just one of many content sources that your audience has access to.
So, how do you cut through the clutter? The best way to guard against generic content is to use your blog as your business’ online soapbox. View your posts as an opportunity to show how and why your company does business differently and you will significantly increase the chances that your content is as unique as your product or service. Take this post, for instance. It has to be at least the 100th article on the topic of whether or not you should create a corporate blog. However, true to our philosophy, we’re trying “tell it like it is” rather than just encouraging you to jump on the corporate blog bandwagon.
2. Do you have someone who’s willing to take care of it? Getting a blog up and running is easy. It’s the amount of time that you’re willing to spend six to twelve months afterwards that determines whether or not it will yield positive results for your business. Many times, businesses will set up a blog and simply expect “the team” to maintain it. Just like with a puppy, if one person isn’t designated to mind it to , the team will soon resent the exercise as a time-draining chore. Our advice is to seek out the extrovert person with the healthiest ego on your team and make them responsible for keeping the blog updated with fresh content. This is the person that will most likely enjoy getting their voice out there and, with a little help from an approval process, you’ll get consistently compelling and energetic content. Now, keep in mind that you don’t have to have a new post every day to keep your blog alive and thriving. As long as you have consistently valuable content posted at regular intervals, you can maintain a blog with as little as one post every two weeks. This helps cut down on the perception that blogging is “extra work” and will help lead to others willing to contribute content down the line.
3. Are you willing to put up with the occasional negative comment?
If you have a blog and post on a regular basis, chances are it will start to receive comments. Inevitably, there will come a time when the blog received its first negative comment. Whether it’s from a competitor or someone who just disagrees with your point of view, the initial reaction of most corporate blog managers is to just delete it. Deleting negative comments, however, may end up doing more harm than good.
In fact, negative comments have their place on every blog. The occasional negative comment usually means you’re doing something right. If people disagree with you, it means they are paying attention. Even more so, the presence of negative comments reinforces the idea that your company is a legitimate player in the social media space with enough confidence in their products to discuss them with maturity and transparency.
If your company is uncomfortable with that proposition, perhaps there are other, more controllable social media platforms that better suit the needs of your business.
To re-cap; corporate blogs are excellent tools for businesses. They can be a valuable resource in articulating your business’ unique value to your customers and differentiating you from your competitors. Taking on the responsibility of a corporate blog, however, is sometimes more than a business bargains for.
Before you begin construction of a corporate blog, consider your options with your public relations team or agency and figure out what’s going to be the strongest social media platform, given your resources and customers.