September 11, 2009

Why corporate blogging is like selling uncut cocaine

Or, why your company should tell its own story before letting others cut it up

cokeDavid SparkMy company, Spark Media Solutions, is based on the premise that every business has the capability of being its own media network. Given the endless tools for cheap to free production and distribution of content, there’s absolutely no reason a business must rely on others to tell their story. Yet for some demented reason, it’s still unbelievably difficult trying to convince corporations to do just that. Tell your own story. Businesses ingrained with the culture of “corporate communications” feel far more comfortable going through the traditional channels of PR firms, journalists, and bloggers.

Why would you allow the fate and success of your company to be based only on hoping that someone publishes your story correctly? Why not tell your story yourself? All of the people that companies traditionally rely on to tell their story (e.g., PR pros, journalists, bloggers) are not on the payroll. They have no choice but to hear your company’s story through a chain of communications. The net result is your story is published and distributed second-, third-, or fourth-hand.

Continue reading

August 24, 2009

6 experts on corporate blogging best practices

The Society for New Communications Research solicited capsule summaries of corporate blogging best practices offered by some of its members, who are among the top social media consultants in the country.

Shel Israel
Author, Twitterville, co-author, Naked Conversations

shel-israelHumanize: Remember that one fundamental reason for blogging is the humanization of the corporation. Be a real person when you blog. Show yourself doing a job that you have some passion for. Show your fallibility and, above all, do not fall into the trap of mediocrity, where so many corporate blogs wind up.

Serve your reader more than your employer: This is a success strategy. The more generous you are to your readers, the more influential you will be. Send people away from your site through links to competitors when appropriate. You may lose the sale, but in the long run you will gain a loyal customer.

Join conversations before you start new ones: People are already talking about the issues they care the most about. Read what they have to say and add value to the existing conversation. Then when you start a new conversation, you will already have credibility and trust. If you try to initiate a conversation and people don’t know who you are or where you are coming from, then they will either ignore you or mistrust you.

John Cass
Author, Strategies and Tools for Corporate Blogging

John-CassCommenting: Corporate blogging is not just about the content on your site, it’s also about participating in conversations on other blogs. Respond to comments on your blog, and also comment on other blogs. These conversations can be just as important as building relationships with people on your own site and establishing your reputation in your community.

Tracking conversations: Tracking conversations on other blogs is one of the most difficult aspects of blogging. Fortunately there are now technologies that enable you to track conversations. These include coComment, delicious, Co.mments and Commentful.

Personalization: Personalization is important in writing a blog, as blogs provide employees the chance to break down some of the barriers that exist between customers and companies. The informal style of writing that is possible in a blog can help reach customers who would not pay attention to a company’s statements otherwise. Continue reading