Corporate blogs are now viewed as an essential forum of communication for businesses and organisations operating in today’s social media marketplace.
There is no doubt that social media is an effective tool in brand marketing whether it is increasing brand awareness, enhancing your image, creating stakeholder relationships or generating sales and revenue.
Companies invest considerable resources in maintaining their online profiles and blogs are a central part of this part. So the question must be raised – are blogs really worth the time and effort they require? Or do they do more harm than good?
A corporate blog may show a company’s willingness to embrace social media, but companies need to be aware that they do require work. If the company blog is not properly managed and maintained then it can become a liability.
A blog is another forum in which your brand is presented and discussed so if your organisation decides to establish one – you need to make sure you have adequate resources to manage it.
If you are considering investing time and effort in developing and running a company blog you should be aware of the pros and cons:
- Dialogue and interaction with consumers – Blogs are an excellent way to maintain personal connection with the customer.
- Knowledge sharing – Blogs offer useful information to readers and customers, enticing people to return if they feel they gain something from your blog.
- Search engine optimization – Blogs are tailor-made for search engine optimization. If your blog is hosted on the same domain as your web site, then your blog will attract additional traffic to your site, especially if you direct it there.
- Efficient marketing – Blogs require little budget input compared to other marketing iniatives
- Surveys and polls –Organisations can use their blogs to conduct free surveys with clients to gather customer feedback on products or services.
- Improved customer assistance- If you have a complex technical product or service, then blogs are a good forum to offer customers immediate solutions to their issue.
- Engage with younger audience –You are more likely to attract younger audiences with a blog than with a more traditional marketing tool.
- Maximise PR opportunities- Online and print media will immediately go to a company’s website and blog for their information sources.
- Opportunity to establish your organisation as a credible and expert voice on your industry’s issues.
- Time consuming activity – Blogs require time and man power to keep content fresh and updated regularly as well as monitoring comments.
- Legal minefield – Companies can leave themselves open to issues like privacy concerns defamation, sexual harassment, creating a hostile work environment, copyright infringement, trade libel, fraud etc as talk gets ‘loose’.
- Sourcing the best “voice”/blogger –Targeting the right person/people in your organisation who has the skills to write the blog can sometimes be difficult, as this person needs to be fully updated on all organisational issues and policies and be a competent communicator.
- Hard to precisely measure ROI – It can be difficult to measure the ROI that a blog generates but tools can be put in place to measure this.
There are certain actions that organisations can take to help minimize the risk factors associated with blogging.
- Establish an ironclad blogging policy
- Educate all employees on this policy
- Enforce the policy and make sure its updated regularly
- Closely monitor the blog
- Respond quickly to any negative comments
Organisations are in a position to control some but not all of the risks associated with corporate blogging.
Most of the uncontrollable issues involve legal risks that can never be fully eliminated.
If your company decides that corporate blogging is the right decision for your brand then you need to weigh the pros and cons carefully and develop a strategic plan of action.
Companies also need to ensure their crisis communications plan covers online communications with a fully comprehensive strategy in place to deal with any potential blogging crises.
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