Blogs are considered by a lot of us as a good PR strategy — which automatically, we think, means that every one of us should have one. They enable businesses to curtail traditional media and reach their prospects directly, but do they really make sense for all companies? In my personal opinion: ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I’m a huge proponent of the transparency, candidness, and two-way communication that a B2B blog invokes. There are also some real benefits from blogs in terms of SEO and visibility on the web. Done properly, a company’s blog can become the destination on the web for a particular industry. But a blog is much more of a commitment than organizations often expect, and it adds an entirely new level of accountability.
So what companies are NOT good candidates for blogs?
1. Those without the bandwidth to devote the time needed for writing blog entries
Whether it is a corporate blog or an industry blog sponsored by a company, interesting and current content is key. If no one has the time or ongoing interest to keep the blog updated, it has no way to attract repeat visitors. Even worse, it will look abandoned, and that can negatively affect the image of the company and the services it provides.
2. Those that do not see the importance of participating on other industry blogs
Posting up content is just the bare minimum of a blog. Being successful in the blogosphere involves a lot of give and take. It takes active participation on other blogs to gain traction for one’s own blog. If an organization does not have an interest in getting involved, they will not be maximizing the conversations they could be having and getting the visibility they are looking for.
3. Those that have trouble presenting thoughts and ideas without a hierarchy of approvals
Although controlled and targeted messaging is crucial, a blog should allow designated members of an organization to have their own voice, to express their minds freely, and to write timely, appropriate content. If leadership needs to have a review process and analyze content before it can hit the web, a blog will lose part of its purity, and it will be obvious to readers.
4. Those that want to control customer feedback through a closed channel
Some companies just may not be comfortable with the idea of giving any disgruntled customers the opportunity to participate on their blog in the form of comments or suggestions. The nature of a true blog would give anyone the chance to chime in and speak their mind on the topic at hand. If that is not something a company can live with or does not make sense to it, a blog may not be in its best interest.
5. Those that have trouble presenting content that is not self-serving
Usually, the most relevant and interesting content is not specifically about the organization blogging. Companies can use a blog to present its people’s thoughts on industry trends, make predictions, and even start conversations. But often this content will not be about a particular product or service, and a company needs to be comfortable developing that kind of content to attract visitors. A blog does not necessarily need to be discussing only topics or issues directly related to the company itself.
This is by no means an inclusive list. The practicality of a corporate blog really needs to be identified on a case-by-case basis, and some of the obstacles above can be overcome through education and gradual participation in existing blogs.
They say you are behind if you do not have a blog. I say, there is no room for a “one size fits all” mentality in the blogosphere.