Too many corporate marketers see a blog as a marketing brochure to spread the same marketing content in multiple formats. Below are three different areas often overlooked by companies considering blogging as a communications strategy.
Corporate blogs can be a recruiting tool for both active and passive candidates. Job candidates like to know who they will be working with, on what types of projects, and if the company takes good care of its employees. All of this information is best discovered and trusted from individuals within the company.
In a larger company the blogs of individuals can be used to cut past the general job listings and engage market of interest with less options and more in-depth information. When Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software wants to hire new employees he gets the word out on his blog. His thousands of readers already know a bit about his management style, company focus, and product decisions, and Joel usually has a few thousand reasonable applications for each job opening which he can narrow down pretty quickly.
Imagine if the people behind Google Reader had a blog where they discussed the different product considerations leading to its launch, stress testing for millions of users, and team members’ favorite desktop aggregators. Readers would get a better feel for the product and the goals and objectives of the team behind the product. Learning these types of details causes people to join a product and feel like they own a bit of it instead of just a casual user.
Corporate blogs allow a company to present a destination for timely delivery of news to the community. Where does the blogosphere turn to learn about the problems at your company? Shouldn’t your own blog be one of the sources? When stories of mass hysteria hit the blogosphere I usually look for a voice within the company involved with the cause of the hysteria to present their position or perspective. I think Yahoo! has failed to properly communicate these points during high-profile events such as handling the e-mail of a dead Marine or handing over information about dissidents to the Chinese government.
Blogs and the people identified behind the blogs help create a personal connection in what could be an us vs. them culture.
Product pages can become so crammed full of technical specifications and marketing highlights someone’s favorite features might be overlooked. A blog allows fans of the company, or searchers looking for a specific solution, to find your product and learn more about some of the subtleties. Apple’s new photo editing software, Aperture, is undoubtedly crammed with more features than could fit on the website. Customers also have questions about how the software differs from existing products in the space such as iPhoto or Photoshop. A blog enables the team to cover these smaller topics and create fans and buyers where someone might be indecisive. Personal interaction with product lead Joe Smith, a photography geek who has been dreaming of this app for 10 years, will change perceptions and ties to the product in positive ways.