Hard to believe it’s been over a year since I bookmarked this post on the Sitepoint blog: 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging. But now that I’ve come across it again, the information is still interesting. The author referred to a then-recent Forrester study that looked at 90 blogs from Fortune 500 companies, and found that “most corporate blogs are ‘dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion.’ Sadly, two-thirds hardly ever get any comments, 70% stick strictly to business topics, and worse 56% just republish press releases or already public news.” I would imagine there has been a little improvement since then, but I doubt it’s much.
Anyway, I went looking for the report, found that it is paid content and the original post got its information from a Wall Street Journal article that is no longer available. But I did find a newer—and freer—Forrester paper on corporate blogging, which you can get with a fairly painless registration.
“Only one in six consumers trust company blogs.”
“Like any other marketing channel, blogging can work. But it’s not about you; it’s about your customer.”
“Honest and transparent blogs will get noticed.”
So–what’s special about those 15 companies that “get it”? The answer is absurdly simple: They provide interesting/useful/meaningful content. Or as Sitepoint put it—“informative, fascinating, and a joy to read even for people who aren’t die-hard fans of the company.”
I actually visited every one of the 15 companies, although not every one of their blogs, which would have added up to dozens. I covered at least 20 blogs, though, and at each one, I applied a simple test: “If I were thinking about a career at this company, would their blog(s) encourage me to apply?” Here’s what I decided:
Yes, in almost every case.
At Southwest Airlines, I found “BlogSouthwest,” with some great Halloween posts extolling the fun quotient of that SWA-perfect holiday. (I can testify—it’s all true.) At Lenovo, I discovered a smart, wide-ranging blog called “Design Matters,” which I would probably subscribe to if I had any time left for more feeds. BBC has a substantive blog called “The Editors,” offering a behind-the-scenes view of current events. The “Fast Lane Blog” at GM looks like paradise for a techie auto junkie. And it was oddly seductive to read the supposedly inner thoughts of Marriott’s apparently tireless CEO at “On the Move.” Even Quicken’s “What’s the Diff” was fairly charmful, with its mission of “exposing the gap between average and excellent.”
At a couple of companies, the blogs seemed perfunctory—lacking enthusiasm and/or substance. A couple of others offered blogs so super-technical that I couldn’t make a connection (though they probably have appeal for their target audiences). But on the whole, my cruise through this group of corporate blogs was more interesting than I expected.
And I’m sure there are many other good examples out there. Plenty of bad ones too, though! So I’ll close with another highlight from the Forrester paper:
“If your strategy is to create a blog about your company and its products, give it up.”
But if your strategy is to offer something of value to readers—information, ideas, insights, inside intel, or just plain fun–then it’s worth the effort.
(Thanks to Jason Rogers for sharing his trip to the Grand Canyon.)