Is Blogging Right for Business?

27 01 2009

Businesses are often nervous about the naked conversations that take place in and around blogs.  They are right to be concerned,  careless comments can hit a corporate share price.  

The more common danger is that a corporate blog will be boring.  Many argue that corporate blogs should only be written by the Chief Executive because anyone else in the company will avoid any controversy and the end result will be anodyne.  Vetting, reliance on press releases and caution result in blogs that interest noone.  Blogs must really allow comments, but businesses tend to block any challenging comments or any that generate real debate.    

 “A lot of companies are making the mistake that blogging is publishing,” says Bob Pearson Vice President of corporate group communications at Dell. “Blogging is two-way and, crucially, it’s the audience that decides what’s read, what gets linked to and so what is deemed successful. So it makes sense to listen to the conversations your target consumers are having and then shape your blog around them.”

Should corporates blog?  The answer to this is a qualified yes but there is a real challenge.   We have to ask the question is the blog going to be interesting and is it going to be relevant to its target audience.  Once you’ve started the blog you will quickly discover whether the answer to these questions is yes.   If it’s no, stop the blog.



4 responses

27 01 2009
shel israel

Just curious, with the billions of blog posts that have gone up in the last 10 years, can you name a single specific example of a careless post that has impacted stock price?

27 01 2009
Rob Brown

Absolutely and I wouldn’t have drawn the implication if I couldn’t. In a post on the corporate blog of the US retail chain ‘fresh & easy’ (owned by Tesco) Simon Unwins, marketing director at the chain posted comments on a slow down in the roll out of stores. The share price dropped 2.5% wiping well over a billion dollars off the value of the company (albeit temporarily). Market traders attributed this directly to the comments on the blog.

27 01 2009

I think it helps to keep businesses accountable and transparent. Although a comment could initially hurt the business, the company response the comment and improvements made based on the company will garner support. If a company does not intend to use a blog in this way, then I don’t think that it should have one. Blogs can’t just be a way of free advertising; It is two-way communication with customers.

27 01 2009
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