Your company should have a blog

I participated in a panel presentation last week on corporate blogging.  While each of the panelists brought a slightly different perspective, the overall message to the group of a few hundred local small business execs that were in attendance was that blogging can help their company.  Specifically blogging can allow them to participate (or lead) conversations in their industry; increase significantly the meaningful content on their site; provide a way for them and their key customers to evangelize their products; help their search rankings across their site; allow a platform for talking about corporate culture (to both an internal and external audience) and in many cases save hard dollars spent on press releases and certain marketing activities. Here are a few ideas from the panel on how to get started:

  1. Listen first.  There likely are a handful of good bloggers (either individuals or companies) already writing about whatever it is that your company does.  Spend some real time searching for and then reading what these influencers are saying.
  2. Participate.  Before you even think about putting up your first post, start commenting on other blogs and becoming a part of the conversation already taking place in your industry.  Reach out to other bloggers in your community for their advice and counsel.
  3. Plan.  Good blog posts don’t just happen (especially at the corporate level) – they take real thought and planning.  Pick topics that are of real interest to your industry and customers; write thoughtful pieces that reflect you and your company’s view of the current topics in your market; have a real editorial calendar (a fancy way of saying make a list of the posts you are going to write, when you want to publish them and who in your company is responsible for writing them).
  4. Engage.  Don’t stand on your soapbox and shout for the hills (or simply use your blog as a place to post your press releases).  Instead pick interesting topics that are timely and relevant to your community of readers and take a point of view.  Encourage your readers (customers, employees, etc.) to comment, write their own posts in response, etc.
  5. Keep it up. It takes a little while to get going and even longer to really build a readership.  Keep posting and keep posting regularly (a few times a week is ideal).

Good luck!

  • Cory Levy

    I think the title should be, “YOU should have a blog”, rather than your company should have one. Blogging for yourself, in my perspective, is more important than for your company.

    In 2 years, will my start-up (that really hasn't even started yet…brainstorming stage) still exist? Well, I hope so..but if I choose to start another company in a year or so Clagster's (name of my company) blog will no longer exist. However, if I choose to create a blog for myself, in twenty years, my name will still be 'Cory Levy'.

    Blogging is a simple way to easily express yourself on the internet. By having a blog you share your thoughts to the entire world with a simple link. I think that is a much more time efficient thing to do rather than trying to call or email the world.

    • sethlevine

      you're absolutely right, cory – many people should have a blog (although perhaps not everyone is suited for it). ben casnocha wrote a great piece a while ago about personal branding, which i completely agree with. you are your brand – whether you work for a startup, are a venture capitalist, or a middle manager at IBM. what better way to communicate to the world who you are and what you're about than by taking advantage of the soapbox that is the internet and shouting for the hills!

  • Seth, I think there are different reasons for *established* small businesses to blog vs. startups, and I suspect your panel was focused on the former. For established firms, reasons for blogging vary hugely depending on what business or market you're in, your position in it, competitive landscape, etc, your marketing strategy, who your audience is and their online usage, and, especially, the passion and dedication of the people who will blog in your firm, and their commitment to it ongoing.


    • sethlevine

      greame – i think almost all companies could benefit from blogging in one way or another – not just startups (although its particularly helpful in their case). take microsoft, sun and others that have been extremely successful with various product group blogs (as well as employee blogs). harder to find examples of non-tech larger companies blogging, although i think we'll start to see more of that as social media becomes more widely adopted. that said, think of all the companies you know that have a corporate newsletter of some kind – these will all become blogs (or whatever blogging morphs into) at some point, imho.