My blog is about exchanging ideas and best practices on all things marketing and communications related. I'm interested in your thoughts, feedback, additions, arguments and point of view.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Corporate Blogs- the new breakfast meeting?

Organizations are seeing the value of creating and maintain blogs for their senior management team as an alternative to traditional PR channels. Arguably the most widely used and understood of user generated content types, blogs can be an effective way for execs to carve out a unique voice for their organization and connect with stakeholders – employees, customers and the investor community in a personal, more authentic way.

Blogs have also been used as a way for companies to locate highly engaged company evangelists and loyal product users. Once identified, it`s not uncommon to invite them into the organization for product previews, marketing program feedback and other planning initiatives. These evangelists are then more predisposed to deliver positive key messages to a wider online audience for you.

Business blogs can interact with a target market on a more personal level and build credibility that ultimately can be tied back to the corporate website. Nevertheless, they remain public relations tools that should be carefully, regularly monitored by your PR team. If you`re interested in setting up your own company blog, consider these starting points.

1. Identify important blogs in your industry including influential writers and opinion leaders.

2. Monitor target blogs regularly to understand what people are saying about your company (if anything at all), the market you sell to and leaders in your product category.

3. Ask senior executives to comment on other people's blogs, which can be an effective first step in delivering key messages, stimulate discussion, or reframe a competitive statement.

It`s estimated that 5% of Fortune 500 companies maintain external blogs and the number is growing by approximately 30% every quarter. The ones I've listed here are pretty good – they’re current, regularly updated and well written:

1. Mike Critelli, Executive Chairman, Pitney Bowes, Inc., "Open Mike"

2. Colin Byrne, CEO, Weber Shandwick UK - Byrne Baby Byrne

3. J. Willard Marriott Jr., CEO, Marriott International

4. Rudi Fischer, CEO, Telekom Austria - Rudi Fischer

5. David Armano, Creative VP, Digitas

6. Sab Kanaujia, VP, NBC Digital Media group - Sabk

Consider blogging as a fresh approach to delivering company points of view to key stakeholders with the added bonus of meeting super engaged customers. Could the days of the 7:30am corporate breakfast meeting be numbered?

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