7 Replies Latest reply: Nov 22, 2010 6:00 PM by Mike Andueza RSS

    Pros and Cons of a Corporate Blog

    Laura Kelso

      Community Gurus,

      Wanted to reach out to see if anyone else has considered featuring a corporate blog (i.e. a weekly update from the CEO, Marketing, Product, etc.) on their customer-facing community platform?

      We've got an internal debate going on here at HomeAway. One faction doesn't want to appear "too corporate" or trying too hard to push "HomeAway," while another feels a corporate blog provides an effective way to update customers (and non-customers alike) about new dev'ts at the company.

      From a community standpoint, what are your thoughts? Does a corporate blog enhance or detract from the larger community?

      Many thanks,

      Laura

        • Re: Pros and Cons of a Corporate Blog
          daniel.marotta

          Hi Laura,

           

          We've struggled with this question as well. Being a community manager for our customer-facing community, I'm always on the lookout for fresh new content. So for selfish reasons, I'd like the corporate blog to live and breath on our external-facing community. But overall, your organization's strategy for blogging should be clear as well as how you foresee it changing in the future. Will it contain (or eventually contain) topics on products, pricing and marketing messaging? If it does or will, I feel like it would detract from the quality of the user-generated content.

           

          Our corporate blog lives outside the community on our corporate site. As new corporate blogs are published, I seed a discussion post in the community with a short summary and point to the corporate blog. I give the members the choice of whether to continue on and read the entire entry.

           

          You can be strategic about what the discussion post contains, keying in on phrases and tags to boost SEO rankings for the community, and at the same time send referral traffic to your corporate site. Hopefully you consider this a win-win.

           

          -Dan

            • Re: Pros and Cons of a Corporate Blog
              Gia Lyons

              Here in the Jive community, the Jive Talks corporate blog post strives to be one that shares industry-centric thought leadership from our executives, but often it is used to share Jive news and marketing messages. We occasionally host guest posts as well. Overall, the feedback we've gotten is in line with your concerns.

               

              The hard part is finding enough time for executives to 1) think about what to blog about that provides value to the community; and 2) write it. They're super-busy folks.

               

              I really like what Dan describes, as it segregates the corporate voice from the UGC voice.

               

              I think a good hybrid approach is to brief your execs on third-party research, news, and trends that pertain to your industry, and have them write their opinions and thoughts on it. That's a good start if being thought leaders in your industry is an overall corporate goal. Another approach is to create a programming calendar with topics that will always matter to your community, or to your community members' executives, and help your execs write blogs by giving them high-level outlines to evolve.

              • Re: Pros and Cons of a Corporate Blog
                Laura Kelso

                Hi Dan,

                This is extremely helpful. I really like your hybrid solution - definitely a win-win. Will run by our exec team, and will keep you posted on what they decide to do.

                Thanks so much,

                Laura

              • Re: Pros and Cons of a Corporate Blog
                cmcguinness

                We discussed this a bit at JiveWorld in a group (led by Kathryn Everest, in case one of the Jive folks wants to reach out to her...).

                 

                A funny story that someone brought up was a CEO who agonized over a blog post where he wrote about his favorite hockey team. He was all worried that it would seem unprofessional, but he REALLY loved the team. He posted it—and people loved it, and it helped him to become more confident with blogging in a personal voice.

                 

                Another part of the discussion that I thought was interested is how execs these days are used to having an entire marketing department behind them, crafting strategy and writing, and creating "sanitized" content, which conflicts with the best of blog content, which is usually personality-rich.

                 

                The takeaway: if appropriate, encourage people to write in a personal tone about stuff they honestly care about, and the reaction will most likely to be positive. Another tip from this group discussion: How do you get execs to take the leap? We concluded it was a bit like a high school dance—get the most daring person out on the dance floor, and others will follow!

                 

                Hope that helps.

                 

                Christine

                • Re: Pros and Cons of a Corporate Blog
                  Mike Andueza

                  We have a corporate blog that currently sits on WordPress and is used by several members of our e-staff and the majority of our product marketing managers.  I think it definitely enhances our web site and our community.  Our blog atuhors usually tweet about what they have written and we feature the blog postings on our appropriate product pages on our website.  We are curently in the middle of a project to actually migrate off of WordPress and into Jive so they can also be integrated into our communities.