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t-shirt.pngWhen I said big companies, including Dell, HP and IBM are hiding their corporate blogs in plain site, Dell and HP protested in the comments.
People can and do find us, they said, by typing in “HP blog” or “Dell blog” in Google. And that’s true. But those people are likely to already be reading blogs, to be early adopters of new technology, and to be vocal.
Most people still don’t read blogs and so won’t go looking for them if they’re not on the home page. A link to a company blog would invite customers and would-be customers to get to know the company a little better. And, that, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing. She sorta has a blog now, although you’ll have to scroll down on the home page to see the link. Still, it’s on the home page.
When it comes to corporate blogs, the boards, the lawyers, the CFOs and other suits still worry about:
– the loss of the message control they think they used to have,
– that – as Dell learned – we unruly, unjournalistic bloggers will damage their stock prices with blog storms,
– that disgruntled customers will have a chance to influence other customers because blogs give them the ability to be heard,
– that they won’t know the secret handshake of bloggers, who link to each other with abandon,
– that a company blog could actually get too popular and become hard to monitor or even get more traffic than the home page,
– that some customers will take offense at something said on the blog, and not buy from the company,
– that the bloggers in their company will say something that will embarrass the company, even though their minimum wage customer service people are the ones who have contact with the most customers, and they let their sales people, clerks and others untrained in PR and media relations talk to clients every day.
They also know that
– they have to keep up with market changes to stay competitive, and allowing customers to have a say about the company is a change that is here to stay,
– there are talented people within the company who will leave if they don’t get the chance to participate in the Internet revolution,
– that bloggers are influencers and that there is a chance that their blogs could have an impact on customers,
– that the impact is more likely to be positive if the company has a vehicle where they can respond to customer concerns, and where they can treat customers like the business partners they actually are,
– there have been instances of blogs actually helping companies and maybe, in a long shot, their corporate blog could be one of those,
– that an interesting blog can create loyal readers who’ll keep the company top of mind because they’ll come back regularly to read and comment on the blog,
– that blogs can create customer evangelists, which, after all, is what every company needs.
So many big companies have begun – in most cases reluctantly – to allow corporate blogs. But they don’t want to make them too obvious on the corporate website because blogs could get out of hand at any moment. Oh my!
Having a company blog, or several, allows the company to say “we’re hip, we’re cool”, and, most importantly “We’re listening”. Not having a link to the blog from the home page allows companies not to take what they still see as the ultimate risk of letting everyone in on the conversation.
It’s time, actually it’s past time, to add links to the company blogs on the home page. No more BS excuses.
Posted by B.L. Ochman