With alarming regularity, most recently yesterday, I get inquiries from companies who want me to create a blog for them – usually for the CEO. And nine out of ten times, I talk them out of it.
The top 10 reasons I tell companies not to blog are:
1. The blogs most companies want to create are guaranteed to join the 900,999 out of every million blogs with no readers. Why? They’re boring.
2. A blog has to have a personal voice. If you sound like a corporate drone, nobody will read your blog.
3. You need original content. The blogosphere is too much of an echo chamber already. What can you add that’s original? Or significantly better than anything else in your niche.
4. Blogging takes time – lots of it. Let’s even say a CEO is a great writer, who enjoys researching and crafting posts. And let’s say he or she will write about what people want to hear about and not just write about what the company wants to say. And they he/she is willing to update a few times a week. All of that takes anywhere from two to four hours a post.
5. You need to read constantly to be a good blogger. That includes blogs, but also media outside the blogosphere – feeds, forums, mainstream media – so you can keep your readers informed about your topics.
6. A blog is not a substitute for a marketing campaign. It is simply a possible part of corporate communications.
7. A blog is not a substitute for advertising – if you need to fill a new hotel, or sell a product by a certain date, advertise.
8. A blog is not a quick fix – the results come in the long term, the same way they do with PR.
9. Blogs are not cheap. A good one requires skilled programming to set it up, a professional graphic designer to make it part of your corporate identity, a talented and dedicated writer or editor, full-time.
10. You need to drive traffic to a blog. There are many ways to do that. All of them require time, effort and money. Ways to drive traffic to a corporate blog include:
o advertising – on blogs, where you can be incredibly niche specific and cost-effective; by buying Google keywords; by including your URL in traditional and online advertising
o promotion – you can drive traffic to a blog with skillful promotion though other blogs, by becoming a respected part of social networking communities frequented by your customers; with contests, viral marketing, and the use of a variety of Web 2.0 promotional methods discussed frequently here and in other blogs that cover social media marketing.
Note: Please don’t tell me that you’re not spending money because all you’re spending is time. Time IS money.
“IBM’s Irving Wladawsky-Berger explains it so beautifully in a recent post: “
If this all sounds like work – it most definitely is….”
– Chris Brogan – 50 Ways to Take Your Blog to the Next Level
– How to Spike Your Blog Traffic
– How to Have a Totally Fucking Amazing Corporate Blog
– 12 Reasons Why UK Companies Don’t Blog
– If You Want to Lead, Blog
– Corporate Blogs Blather While Markets Tumble
B.L., I agree on all of that. Especially on the first three reasons.
But maybe solution is not to create business blog but to change a CEO? I still believe that most CEOs must blog. Corporations must be more human.
I hope that in the future we will see less CEOs from finance world and more from marketing. Maybe this will lead to appear more interesting business blogs with great content.
Interesting! I honestly have to say this is one of the first blog posts I’ve seen actually discouraging the creation of a corporate blog. You do give valid reasons. I’m going to sphinn this if someone hasn’t already.
I don’t think the answer is companies *shouldn’t* blog, but that they need a professional who understands blogging who knows what they’re doing.
Blogging is very much PR, and a worthless blog does more to hurt than help. Nothing’s more annoying than going to a blog to realize that only crickets have been heard for the past 5 months or it’s just filled with boring company announcements and plugs.
I find that when discussing blogging with clients in the past, it has been helpful to set expectations of blogging as a long-term PR commitment. That has done well for me to demonstrate to the non-tech-savvy that it takes skills to make blogging useful.
Adam – Of course companies need a professional to help them. I’ve created successful blogs for a whole range of companies.
you would not find so many boring or abandoned blogs if professionals had educated the companies about what’s actually involved in successful blogging. sometimes saying no to a client is the better part of valor.
Nick – not only is this not the first blog post about why companies should not blog, it’s not my first. I wrote a post called “”Top 10 Reasons Your Company Shouldn’t Blog” http://tinyurl.com/49jf9p in 2006, Why Most Companies Shouldn’t Blog http://tinyurl.com/yrjnfs in 2007, and Why Blogs Won’t Replace Press Releases – Or Publicists http://tinyurl.com/4t5v39 back in 2005.
Thank you very much for the sphinn!
I would take #6 and 7 one step further and say a corporate blog should almost never have advertising.
If a corporate blog is done right they can serve a purpose in the marketing mix but the content needs to stick to your points 2 and 3.
Terrific message…I’m going to place a link to this post in my next Communication Expressway ezine.
Josef – i think you may have mis-interpreted what i said about advertising. I wasn’t discussing whether or not there should be advertising ON a corporate blog. I was saying that you need to drive traffic to a blog and one effective way to do that is to advertise on other blogs.
Also, I was trying to say, and perhaps wasn’t clear, that some messages do not lend themselves to blogging because they really are ad copy. and if that’s the content you have, it belongs in an ad, not disguised as blog posts.
They there, BL. Thank for stopping by FlackRabbit. Really enjoy your blog! My poodle’s name is Georgia Lee Maddux Newman. She’s a fan of your Labradoodle and says, “hello.”
Great advice from an unexpected point of view. As others commented, your advice is spot-on.
I do take exception with #4. Some CEOs pull off blogging expertly, such as Paul Levy, president and CEO of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who writes every day at http://runningahospital.blogspot.com – and he’s on Facebook, too!
And what about Bill Marriott at http://www.blogs.marriott.com?
Amen! Too many companies jump into the next big thing without thinking about what they want from it or how to keep doing it well.
Excellent points! I will refer my Marketing students to this post.
CEOs time is extremely precious. The best way to extract a blog out of a CEO, and keep it colloquial is to interview them twice a week, then transcribe, then edit to something interesting. The time impact to the CEO should be 10 minutes per interview. Transcription and editing and posting time an additional ~60 minutes per interview.
Mark Brooks, CourtlandBrooks.com,
Mark – i maintain that the CEO is not necessarily the best person in a company to blog. It’s rare that one person in a company is going to know everything that customers and other stakeholders will want to know. WHy not have the people who know the most in each category do the blogging.
That’s IF a blog is actually a viable solution for the company. There are many alternatives available besides blogging.
Great list and I will pass this along with anyone who ever asks me how to start a corp blog. I’d like to think we took all 10 into consideration when we created the Quicken Loans blog (www.whatsthediff.com), but I’d be fooling myself. I will say we try to make it fun and we certainly know it’s no substitute for advertising and marketing – and it’s no quick fix either. I still have some folks I deal with who aren’t even sure why we do it. Their numbers are smaller with each positive mention, but I still hear from them, almost two years after launching our blog.
For your entertainment:
All great points. However I have to disagree with a few of them.
1. Blogger can be set up in about 15 minutes, even with your own domain name.
** WordPress can also be set up in about 5 minutes with a wordpress friendly host.
2. You do not need a sexy blog. A blog is nothing more than a web site that is slightly more interactive. Just get it live and let the communicating begin.
3. People find sights regardless of your google rankings. You don’t need traffic to help out a few customers or allow your customers to freely express their opinions and or concerns.
A Blog does not have to be a whole new division within your online marketing department.
Keep it simple and let your customers decide how important it is to your overall internet strategy.
I recently wrote a post myself on 3 reasons blogging isn’t for you.
I think it really comes down to do you have the passion and drive on your topic to consistently strive to write.
“6. A blog is not a substitute for a marketing campaign. It is simply a possible part of corporate communications.” —–AMEN!!!