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Friday, January 22, 2021

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Technology & Manufacturing: Marketing, Web Development, E-Business


BusinessWeek Says "Blogs Will Change Your Business"

By Shari Worthington
President

You may have shrugged off blogs until now, but when the cover story of BusinessWeek starts with this headline, it's time to pay attention. Why? Because blogs have moved beyond the realm of politics and are now engaging the corporate world.

The world of corporate blogs, aka business blogs or b-blogs, is a bit different from personal ramblings. You won't hear about the antics of the family pet or Susie's latest grades. Instead, you can find out about interesting technology developments, comment on new product ideas, chit chat with product managers or other company employees, etc.

Take General Motors and their FastLane Blog. This is a public web site where GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz casually discusses some of the goings-on at the company. He covers reorganizations, his hopes for new features and models, sales numbers, even a few controversial issues like their run-in with negative reviews at the Los Angeles Times. Comments on his postings are also visible to all and come from inside the company as well as from dealers and customers. All in all, this "test blog" Bob's been running has turned into a success. He's decided to continue the effort after receiving both rave reviews and insightful comments from customers. That helps the company as well as Bob's standing in it.

There are currently over 9 million blogs with thousands more forming every day. You never know when or where a blog will start. The next one may come from inside your company. One of your engineers or a customer service person may already be running a blog. In addition to their personal stories, they could be commenting about your company, its policies, and its products.

Earlier this year, Google hired a new employee, Mark Jen, who was a blogger. On his blog, he chronicled his search for employment and subsequent hiring by Google. Once employed, Mark continued to discuss all sorts of issues, including his salary and healthcare benefits. Google was taken by surprise and decided this was too much disclosure for their likes. So Mark Jen no longer works for Google. And now Google has more formal rules for its employees who blog. Their corporate blog is interesting reading, as well.

Before things get out of hand for you, create a formal code of ethics for your company's bloggers (whether officially sanctioned or not). Promise honest communication and timely response, and make sure everyone uses common sense when posting. You want to engage customers and prospects with your blog, not give away the corporate jewels. Forrester Research's Charlene Li provides a good starting point with her "Blogging Policy Examples." GM's FastLane Blog used her guidelines to create its own.

Once you've created your own guidelines, start thinking about how your company can harness the power of this explosive communication medium. Corporate blogs are great for:

... and more. Once you've decided to take the next step, research the tools available, then work with a group that can help you find the right people in your company to blog. Bloggers need to be good communicators who are experts in their subject area. They also need to have the right kind of voice that will blend with and support your company's brand. While most blogging tools are easy to work with, you could end up with a PR disaster on your hands if you don't have the right people writing the blog.


B-Blogs and Microsites: The Telesian communications team can help you create a micro web site on a particular topic or set up a b-blog to interact with prospects or customers. These specialized sites are especially powerful for your company's technical experts who can create forums and followings. For more information, contact Telesian at .