The question of whether every organisation needs to have a blog or even participate on social media is a decision most management boards need to have lots of courage to take. I have attended meetings and made presentations on these issues and I believe the answer used to be depend on marketing strategy, target market and a variety of other factors. But then it is still in the interest of every business to have an authoritative, official corporate blog. Some organisations, most notably GTBank recently launched its corporate video ( Ndani TV) and blogging platform(blog)
People might take information from corporate blogs with a pinch of salt but they know it is still authoritative. While some organisations have established social media communication platforms, it is still not enough. Most people may miss tweets and status updates especially if they are not watching Facebook every second and don’t check the history of their friends’ pages. However, you can certainly take advantage of content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Tumblr plug-ins to ensure even people on your social networks are able to get your corporate information across to their peeps. But the world of business communication has changed and the blog is the best tool available (when done right) to address the challenges of life in the 140-character news cycle.
It is however not an oppportunity to chun out traditional press releases, blogging should be in conversational english and not the likes of ” in the light of the foregoing” . Blogging offers a place for conversation and must be seen to be friendly, enhance connectivity and encurage responses. Some of the great advantages include;
Especially in the event of a crisis, a corporate blog becomes a potent tool of timely response. While rumors and false information may travel very fast in this age of social media, people will readily believe an authoritative blog when it releases information. Especially when it has been established for a long time, people will readily turn to official portals when they are looking for authentic information.
Consider during the #occupynigeria protests, information was been passed around that GTBank and Dangote, two of Nigeria’s leading brands were violating the labour union boycott office order, a press release by the organisation would have been 24 hours late. While some organisations were praying that mob action will not reach their ourganisations before the uprising mobilises to attack its offices, some took to Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry outposts to dispel the rumors, a corporate blog would have been a potent tool of response in correcting the misinformation in a matter of minutes instead of the hours it takes to publish a press release.
Bypass the press
Most times the press won’t get your information out exactly the way you want it. Especiallywhen there are competing interests and for organisations when the corporate communications department whose frustrations are glaring after toasting and courting editors in getting your information into the news, you need to have your own digital press online. Especially when you need to respond to a damaging article in the press, it is annoying your response appears on a tiny segment lost in the middle of the newspaper as against the damaging article which made a page masthead.
One of the first persons to attempt this was the former MD of Cadbury Bunmi Oni who created a .blogspot address (here) in response to the boardroom boots given to him by Cadbury International.
Reach the press
The newspaper press have finally conceeded to trying to catch up with trending news on the internet and social media platforms in general. More and more newspapers are quoting blogs and bloggers as their source of information and even currently rely on social media sites for images and events. More and more reporters are spending their time combing Twitter and blogs for news and use them in reporting. If reporters covering your industry know you have a blog and it is frequently updated, they are likely come be regular readers. bye-bye to bootlicking editors for media space (*wink)
Search Engine Optimization
With a blog linked to your corporate website, Google will fall in love with your site. It is no news that Google has a way of knowing frequently updated content and tend to rank them well. Done well, your corporate blog will rate you higher on search engines, driving more traffic to your site.
There’s a huge source of business prospects, clients and targets that come from search engine results queries. A large chunk of prospect comes from people who are entering exact phrases they are searching for (keywords) online and are hoping to get results that tally with their queries. Search engines love blogs and blogs will ensure you get the targeted customers.
Before you leverage on this trend, ther eare ponits to note;
1. Blogging because your competitor is blogging is the first step to suicide for your brand image. It should be aligned with your core business objectives.
2. Decide to post regularly. Frequent posts will ensure people will always come for news before they are assured of new content. Linda Ikeji, a celebrity blogger is one of the bloggers who leverage on frequency and timeliness to build her blogging platform
3. Don’t be busy using every opportunity to sell your products and services; its a likely put off
4.Be very strategic and tactical when it comes to responding to comments and accusations from your respondents
5.Don’t forget again, your blog is not another avenue for news release distribution except your are only reaching out to journalists
6.Know your audience. If the blog is focused on customers, address customer issues or problems. If your company or its product(s) has fans, skew your blog to those fans.
7.Accept comments, you want to communicate with your followers, init? Address comments that need addressing, either within the comments section or with follow-up blog posts.
8.Use a genuine voice. Use simple and straightforward english. Avoid corporatese.
I will continue on impressive examples of great corporate blogs tomorrow.