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Should Every Company Blog?

I have been asked a question by many business people over the last couple of months. While I am still working on what my answer ought to be I have developed some thoughts. One of the great things about blogging is if you don’t know the answer then your readers will usually fill you in, my hope is you will help me come up with a better response!

So, on with the question.

Should every company blog? (or more usually phrased as “Should my company blog?”)

Before you give me your thoughts, here is what I usually say.

There are tremendous benefits from blogging for businesses

  • Blogging is an excellent way of demonstrating expertise
  • If you need to develop links and search traffic blogs can help massively in this strategy
  • With a decent blog, routinely updated, you will develop a loyal and interested audience
  • Sticky websites help build community, credibility, trust and authority
  • Carefully crafted blogs can generate leads without resorting to pressure sales tactics
  • You don’t have to get it right first time, tweak and improve as you go

BUT there are risks and challenges

  • It takes time and effort, can you make the time? Who will be the blogger?
  • Can you write? – Writing improves with practice but not everyone wants to practice
  • Where will your ideas come from? – If you can’t think up 20 topics right now you might be better off not starting
  • Is your business ready to open up? Blogging is all about conversation, some people do not find this comfortable
  • Will your audience find what you say interesting? Writers can find stories in the most unlikely of subject areas but not everybody was born a writer
  • Goof and you can do more harm than good

So my answer is “No”, “Not EVERY company should blog, but those who can should give it a try“.

What do you think? I’m sure you guys can help me develop a better answer, let me know your thoughts in the comments?

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Comments

  1. I think the first question in this matter should be ‘Is my company ready to be called out publicly, to face public criticism? Am I [my company] mature enough to face that danger?

  2. I think the first question in this matter should be ‘Is my company ready to be called out publicly, to face public criticism? Am I [my company] mature enough to face that danger?

  3. Good point, it does take a bit of confidence!

  4. Good point, it does take a bit of confidence!

  5. Chris, I think you covered it very well. I think the biggest issue for a company is who is going to maintain the blog? Will that be part of their job duties, it had better be – because we all know that a good blog takes a lot of TLC.

  6. Chris, I think you covered it very well. I think the biggest issue for a company is who is going to maintain the blog? Will that be part of their job duties, it had better be – because we all know that a good blog takes a lot of TLC.

  7. Indeed, even the best of us can underestimate how much work it is πŸ™‚

  8. Indeed, even the best of us can underestimate how much work it is πŸ™‚

  9. Franky – I agree that a company blog could draw some criticism, but it could also help fend off a lot as well. Blogging by someone important in the company can give it a more personal, human feeling, so when a company does screw up, they may receive more slack.

    I agree with you Chris. Not every company is equipped to handle it, but those that are should definitely give it a shot. It can do wonders for PR and just general public interest.

  10. Franky – I agree that a company blog could draw some criticism, but it could also help fend off a lot as well. Blogging by someone important in the company can give it a more personal, human feeling, so when a company does screw up, they may receive more slack.

    I agree with you Chris. Not every company is equipped to handle it, but those that are should definitely give it a shot. It can do wonders for PR and just general public interest.

  11. Chris,

    You’ve outlined the pros and cons effectively. I think that there are some companies who, prone to litigation, might place themselves in jeopardy even if they are well-intentioned. Pharmaceuticals and Hospitals, for example. In the event of litigation, the opposition will look for–and accumulate–every snippet of related information whether in context or not. Then, weave it all together to create a compelling argument or sound bite in the court room. So I could understand if those types of businesses received counsel saying that the downside could be more powerful than the upside.

    They may be willing and equipped to handle blogging–the realities of their situation may not make it advisable.

  12. Chris,

    You’ve outlined the pros and cons effectively. I think that there are some companies who, prone to litigation, might place themselves in jeopardy even if they are well-intentioned. Pharmaceuticals and Hospitals, for example. In the event of litigation, the opposition will look for–and accumulate–every snippet of related information whether in context or not. Then, weave it all together to create a compelling argument or sound bite in the court room. So I could understand if those types of businesses received counsel saying that the downside could be more powerful than the upside.

    They may be willing and equipped to handle blogging–the realities of their situation may not make it advisable.

  13. Good discussions!
    Definitely, not all companies necessarily blog. Depends on its target audience. If the company is targeting to reach to global market, then blog is good for generating traffic and prompt the blog visitors to buyers of products or services.

    Rajesh Shakya
    http://www.rajeshshakya.com

  14. Good discussions!
    Definitely, not all companies necessarily blog. Depends on its target audience. If the company is targeting to reach to global market, then blog is good for generating traffic and prompt the blog visitors to buyers of products or services.

    Rajesh Shakya
    http://www.rajeshshakya.com

  15. I just wish I had started blogging a whole lot sooner!

    If you have good hands on experience share all the problems and solutions you experience along the way and there is your blog.

  16. I just wish I had started blogging a whole lot sooner!

    If you have good hands on experience share all the problems and solutions you experience along the way and there is your blog.

  17. Other risks and challenges:
    Are you willing to discuss your competitors when they do something right?
    Are you willing to link to competitors?

  18. Other risks and challenges:
    Are you willing to discuss your competitors when they do something right?
    Are you willing to link to competitors?

  19. All very good points – to which I’d add only the suggestion that companies think very carefully about their intended audience, long before launching a blog. Specifically, are they speaking to their prospective and/or existing customers, or to employees/management and/or shareholders? I’ve yet to see a blog that does both very effectively. (Not saying it can’t be done – just haven’t seen it yet, myself.)

  20. All very good points – to which I’d add only the suggestion that companies think very carefully about their intended audience, long before launching a blog. Specifically, are they speaking to their prospective and/or existing customers, or to employees/management and/or shareholders? I’ve yet to see a blog that does both very effectively. (Not saying it can’t be done – just haven’t seen it yet, myself.)

  21. I’m with Colby, I should have started sooner. I feel that if you are already spitting out great content and valuable information verbally in client meetings, networking events or internal meetings, then bring it to the web/blogosphere! In 3 months of blogging for our company I have significantly increased site traffic, seo & backlinks, gained new contacts and connected deeper with clients. It’s work for sure, I have learned a ton too, but it’s already worth it.

    ps- Thanks Jen for the “comment branding” idea you gave me!

  22. I’m with Colby, I should have started sooner. I feel that if you are already spitting out great content and valuable information verbally in client meetings, networking events or internal meetings, then bring it to the web/blogosphere! In 3 months of blogging for our company I have significantly increased site traffic, seo & backlinks, gained new contacts and connected deeper with clients. It’s work for sure, I have learned a ton too, but it’s already worth it.

    ps- Thanks Jen for the “comment branding” idea you gave me!

  23. Chris,
    Yes, I agree both with the way you have summed up the issues, and the comments too date.

    As an SME, a micro business really, I find that blogging allows me to address briefly issues relevant to my market place and that, hopefully, will add some value to them.

    The however and buts are that I know I must be consistent if both output and quality. Failure in either will turn people away, never to return.

    As an aside, I find I enjoy the writing.

  24. Chris,
    Yes, I agree both with the way you have summed up the issues, and the comments too date.

    As an SME, a micro business really, I find that blogging allows me to address briefly issues relevant to my market place and that, hopefully, will add some value to them.

    The however and buts are that I know I must be consistent if both output and quality. Failure in either will turn people away, never to return.

    As an aside, I find I enjoy the writing.

  25. @Adam – Agreed, there have been many times something has gone wrong with a service that I wished the company had kept me informed. In fact, some companies WITH blogs don’t do that – just look at the Godaddy debacle. Companies who honestly blog about problems turn down the heat, those who ignore problems in the hope that ignoring it will make it go away cause more damage. Ref kryptonite locks!

    @Steve – Litigation is an interesting one. I used to have a client of a well known food company. They had many layers of checks and balances for anything published online or off related to ingredients – the risk of wrongly advising about the contents of their foods was so great. That said PR and marketing agencies work with private hospitals with the help of lawyers. What more personal service can you get? There must be a way of making those connections without opening up a legal can of whatsit?

    @Rajesh – Indeed, blogs reach audiences many businesses will never reach otherwise

    @Colbs/Aaron – I did start sooner, then started again, and again – I wish I had stuck with one blog instead of starting and stopping, chopping and changing πŸ™‚

    @Mark – Yes the mindset of blogging is quite weird, linking to competitors seems counter-intuitive. The way I see it, if I go to a toy shop at Christmas and they say “sorry, we sold out but the guy over the street still has gruntmaster 3000 in stock” I will trust them more and feel just that bit more loyal.

    @Jen – Oh yeah, if they just start writing then more often than not they will talk to each other rather than the people they want to attract. I wrote a bit about “avoiding unintended audiences” earlier

    @Adam – I’ve found that many people do enjoy the writing once they get over the tension/nerves/pressure. Many find it therapeutic and helps organise their own thoughts.

  26. @Adam – Agreed, there have been many times something has gone wrong with a service that I wished the company had kept me informed. In fact, some companies WITH blogs don’t do that – just look at the Godaddy debacle. Companies who honestly blog about problems turn down the heat, those who ignore problems in the hope that ignoring it will make it go away cause more damage. Ref kryptonite locks!

    @Steve – Litigation is an interesting one. I used to have a client of a well known food company. They had many layers of checks and balances for anything published online or off related to ingredients – the risk of wrongly advising about the contents of their foods was so great. That said PR and marketing agencies work with private hospitals with the help of lawyers. What more personal service can you get? There must be a way of making those connections without opening up a legal can of whatsit?

    @Rajesh – Indeed, blogs reach audiences many businesses will never reach otherwise

    @Colbs/Aaron – I did start sooner, then started again, and again – I wish I had stuck with one blog instead of starting and stopping, chopping and changing πŸ™‚

    @Mark – Yes the mindset of blogging is quite weird, linking to competitors seems counter-intuitive. The way I see it, if I go to a toy shop at Christmas and they say “sorry, we sold out but the guy over the street still has gruntmaster 3000 in stock” I will trust them more and feel just that bit more loyal.

    @Jen – Oh yeah, if they just start writing then more often than not they will talk to each other rather than the people they want to attract. I wrote a bit about “avoiding unintended audiences” earlier

    @Adam – I’ve found that many people do enjoy the writing once they get over the tension/nerves/pressure. Many find it therapeutic and helps organise their own thoughts.

  27. No, not every company should blog. A bad blog is worse than no blog.

    And really I can’t imagine that the work that a lot of companies do is going to be interesting enough to gain a following regardless of the regularity of posts.

  28. No, not every company should blog. A bad blog is worse than no blog.

    And really I can’t imagine that the work that a lot of companies do is going to be interesting enough to gain a following regardless of the regularity of posts.

  29. Hey Chris;

    Found you through CopyBlogger

    I am totally in agreement on the time and effort it takes to blog.

    Interestingly I just posted something on my blog about the dark side of blogging.

    I asked folks like Seth Godin for their warnings.

    I welcome your feedback.
    Mike

  30. Hey Chris;

    Found you through CopyBlogger

    I am totally in agreement on the time and effort it takes to blog.

    Interestingly I just posted something on my blog about the dark side of blogging.

    I asked folks like Seth Godin for their warnings.

    I welcome your feedback.
    Mike

  31. Most companies should blog. Nearly all of ’em ought to at LEAST monitor blogs carefully – which is a piece of cake with RSS.

  32. Most companies should blog. Nearly all of ’em ought to at LEAST monitor blogs carefully – which is a piece of cake with RSS.

  33. @Mike – we have all met people who can make the most seemingly compelling topic sound dull and also people who can tell a story about the most mundane topic and really bring it to life. Every niche is interesting to the niche they are in. Just look how lively trade show bar conversations are, regardless of the market (from shower curtain rings to dental drills) they find each other *fascinating* πŸ™‚

    @Michael – every field that involves humanity is bound to have a dark side, I tend to try facing the positive πŸ™‚

    @Easton – I agree, it ought to be a given, especially for those who want to maintain a competitive edge

  34. @Mike – we have all met people who can make the most seemingly compelling topic sound dull and also people who can tell a story about the most mundane topic and really bring it to life. Every niche is interesting to the niche they are in. Just look how lively trade show bar conversations are, regardless of the market (from shower curtain rings to dental drills) they find each other *fascinating* πŸ™‚

    @Michael – every field that involves humanity is bound to have a dark side, I tend to try facing the positive πŸ™‚

    @Easton – I agree, it ought to be a given, especially for those who want to maintain a competitive edge

  35. True, Easton, monitoring blogs is theoretically a piece of cake with RSS, but let us remember that there still needs to be a person (paid) to do the monitoring, and, equally important, a clear sense of what information is to be gleaned, and for what purpose. And then it must be put to practical use, in order for the monitoring effort to pay off. For a company that, say, makes high-end cabinet hardware, that’s an effort and expense that is much harder to justify to stockholders than having an office intern whip together some sort of company blog… unfortunately…

    p.s. Aaron, you’re welcome: go for it!

  36. True, Easton, monitoring blogs is theoretically a piece of cake with RSS, but let us remember that there still needs to be a person (paid) to do the monitoring, and, equally important, a clear sense of what information is to be gleaned, and for what purpose. And then it must be put to practical use, in order for the monitoring effort to pay off. For a company that, say, makes high-end cabinet hardware, that’s an effort and expense that is much harder to justify to stockholders than having an office intern whip together some sort of company blog… unfortunately…

    p.s. Aaron, you’re welcome: go for it!

  37. Good point Jen, Of course there will always be exceptions but a good percentage of companies will receive trade rags and give them the time of day (mostly copy and paste press releases and advertising) so a cursory glance at an RSS feed or two *shouldn’t* be much of a stretch πŸ™‚

  38. Good point Jen, Of course there will always be exceptions but a good percentage of companies will receive trade rags and give them the time of day (mostly copy and paste press releases and advertising) so a cursory glance at an RSS feed or two *shouldn’t* be much of a stretch πŸ™‚

  39. I think yes. Everu company should blog or get bloggers to blog about.

  40. I think yes. Everu company should blog or get bloggers to blog about.