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Why Corporations Truly Need to Blog




Yesterday, we covered Reasons Why Corporate Blogging Should Succeed (in response to SEOmoz’s Reasons Why Corporate Blogging Fails). My original list was longer, but then I realized that four of the reasons I gave in that list weren’t advantages corporations have in blogging. Today we have advantages of blogging to corporations.

Online reputation management
Having a blog makes an excellent place to manage your online reputation. This damage control is the other side of the “Everyone needs to toot their own horn” from yesterday. Is your company or product being portrayed in a negative light on the news, forums or other blogs? (If you have no idea, check out our Online Reputation Management Beginners’ Guide.) A blog is a natural place to present your side of the story, to reach out to individuals and the media and to improve your image online.

Getting your visitors’ input
We’ve all seen it happen: a company gets big and loses touch with its users/customers/visitors. With a blog, especially if you have comments enabled, you are in touch with your most passionate visitors. Blogs are a natural community. What better way to find out what your customers think about you, want from you and want to tell you?

Getting your visitors’ negative input
There are some brands that everyone loves to hate, and every corporation has someone who hates them. A blog is a great place to find out why some people don’t like your brand. If you’re skillful and lucky, you’ll be able to do something about negative experiences and perceptions. If you’re Microsoft, give up now. [UPDATE: see SearchAnyway PPC for an extended discussion on this topic]

Maintaining your focus
This may be difficult, depending on how your corporation structures it, but a blog also has the additional benefit of focusing your company on the needs and desires of your customer. You get to devote time to thinking about what your customers think about, what they want, what they’re looking for. If your corporation has begun to lose its focus—or even if it hasn’t—a blog can help to remind you where you came from and how you got to where you are—your users.

It makes you human
Yes, I covered this yesterday, but like I said, “this is possibly the most important reason of all because this is one of the biggest advantages of blogging to large corporations. Face it, you’re faceless. If you can pull off blogging, you add the human touch that will set you apart from your competition and all the other large corporations out there.”

Don’t blog because all the other kids are doing it. Don’t blog because it’s working for other companies. Blog because it’s right for your company—because you need it.

  • http://strumpette.com Amanda Chapel

    Online reputation management – A corporate blog is tantamount to playing on the highway.

    Getting your visitors’ input – Having a blog makes you a target for every whack job with an Internet connection.

    Getting your visitors’ negative input – Times a gazillion. This is human nature. Negative input will totally overwhelm just about anything positive you had to say.

    Maintaining your focus – Managing a bazillion relationship with psychotic strangers is the most time consuming endeavor you’ll ever undertake. Forget your wife and family. Look into purchasing Depends.

    It makes you human – So does pooping in public. Have at it.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Thanks for your kind words. I’ll try to respond in the same magnanimous spirit.

    Online reputation management—There really isn’t a better platform for an in-depth response to criticisms you find all over the Internet. I omitted this from my post, but I’ll include it here:

    “An example: have you seen news coverage stating that xylitol kills dogs? Guess what—it doesn’t. There is scant anecdotal evidence of xylitol’s negative effects—including cases where dogs that ate huge amounts of gum and chocolate with their xylitol. The truth is, there have been studies done for decades, and even feeding dogs a diet of 20% xylitol over two years didn’t kill them (ref).

    “You can’t find anything exonerating xylitol until page three of Google SERPs for ‘xylitol dog.’ Disclosure: my husband works for a xylitol company. Imagine if they had a blog that customers, potential customers and the media read could find easily. A blog post exposing a popular myth—why, that sounds like textbook linkbait. A press release? Probably not. Without a blog, they’ll have to wait until Snopes covers it—and even then, it’s too late now [months and months after the urban legend has been covered by mainstream media] to even begin to undo the damage already done to their product image.”

    My husband’s employer did release a press release within days of the mainstream media stories. It’s even lower in the SERPs than the dense research exonerating xylitol cited above. If they had a blog, I maintain that they could much more easily, adeptly and appropriately address consumers’ (and pet owners’) fears in a place and a way that customers (and media) would actually read.

    Getting your visitors’ input—By the time you get to be a large corporation, you do understand a thing or two about customer relations. If you have, say, 292 comments on your post about your site redesign, and 90% of them are negative, you might want to reconsider. Whack jobs will get to you no matter what—I’ve seen letters, heard phone calls and read e-mails from “whack jobs.” Any method of contact is susceptible to “whack jobs.” Is it better to not hear from customers at all?

    Getting your visitors’ negative input—I vociferously disagree that “negative input will totally overwhelm just about anything positive you had to say.” Take, for example, the blog of MSN’s Live Search. Who doesn’t love to hate MSN? Yet their comments are mostly (say 60%) positive and constructive. Yes, commenters criticize and even berate Live Search, just like the rest of us. Is it better to ignore everything your consumers want to say about your product and company than to have some idea what people really dislike about your company, so you have some chance of improving that aspect? (I also think that people reading a blog have at least some inclination to take comments with a grain of salt since, as you put it, “every whack job with an Internet connection” can and will comment. They can also see a public display of your public relations skills in how you handle unfavorable comments.)

    Maintaining your focus—This point didn’t say, “Manage a relationship with each commenter/casual visitor that meanders through your blog.” It did say, “You get to devote time to thinking about what your customers think about, what they want, what they’re looking for.” I realize this wasn’t clear, but I intended that to refer to the time you spend brainstorming and planning posts. Again, large corporations have probably learned a thing or two about customer relations. If you’re really that popular, you’ve probably already dealt with the crush of input and learned how to respond to the thousands of people clamoring for your attention every day.

    It makes you human—My son poops in public all the time and no one has ever said anything negative about it. (That’s a joke; he’s 1.) Actually, I daresay that pooping in public makes you not ‘human’ but ‘animal.’ I can’t think of any corporations that would benefit from being perceived as ‘animal,’ but many that would benefit from being perceived as ‘human.’

  • http://www.sitevisibility.co.uk/blog.html kelvin newman

    I think a lot of people are coming around to corporate blogging, I think though in a couple of years there’s going to be quite a few half hearted blogs left dying on plc sites.

    I wrote a similar piece to those that have been floating around about business blogging a while ago, of course I don’t have the clout of SEOmoz but make a few of the same points.

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  • http://www.dbgtechnologies.com.au Luke Jamieson

    Since reading this article and starting our own blog we have suggested to a number of our clients that they may wish to consider blogging, some have stated that they are way too busy and others have taken to it like a duck to water! I know that our busniess has definitely benefited from our blog, as for the others, its still too eary to tell!

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