Mitch Joel says that most corporate blogs are not worth the effort to read.
It’s true. Make a run through some of the brands that you admire most. Most of them have blogs. Some of them have abandoned ship. Some of them have slowed down on their publishing frequency. Most of them are not fresh. Most of them are self-serving. Most of them are nothing more than a slightly personalized press release.
Corporate leaders need to make a completely different commitment: to invest the time and energy (ahem, money) to research the critical trends and market conditions that are of importance to their clients and the company. From that commitment content flows at relatively low cost.
How’d did we get here, despite the fact that companies would like to have a strong interaction with clients and community, and to position themselves as thought leaders? Chris Brogan nails it in No One Reads Your Corporate Blog Because It’s Boring:
The attempt at a solution for most companies was to either outsource their content creation or to assign the task to someone internally. In both cases, the person usually tasked with creating the material just isn’t all that into the company, the customers, and the space that they’re covering. Meaning, they don’t really talk about anything useful or interesting to the person hoping to learn more and get involved in some way with what the company does or sells. Plus, they’re writing ‘me too’ and boring content.
The reality is that companies made the wrong sort of commitment at the outset of starting a corporate blog. Some are simply painting by the numbers, creating a blog because it’s what every companies does, like giving employees titles, or buying toilet paper. They sign up to doing as little as possible.
The CEO is willing to be interviewed once a quarter, and the head of marketing pens an article about a company offsite, or someone from HR writes about the customer support staff member of the month. Maybe this is reasonable for an internal company blog (although I think it’s too small bore even for that purpose), but it’s about as important as the pattern on the rug in the lobby: no one cares.
Corporate leaders need to make a completely different commitment: to invest the time and energy (ahem, money) to research the critical trends and market conditions that are of importance to their clients and the company. From that commitment content flows at relatively low cost. It’s easy to write when you have compelling research to share, that has already been paid for by the strategic needs of the company.
So the company isn’t confronted with the choice of investing heavily in content development, when its leadership has already decided to make the existentially imperative commitment to being as smart as possible about the market, and the needs, concerns, and fears of the clients. Once you’re committed to thought leadership, content comes almost for free.