Should you blog?

The growth of blogs has been astronomical. Is it worthwhile for your organization to be part of it?

There are more than 100 million blogs out there in cyberspace.

These, of course, cover everything from intense computer coding to pictures of kittens. But more and more of them are focused on the activities of corporations.

Which means that blogs are, for many people, serious marketing tools.

Some companies, like Southwest Airlines, Lenovo, and Starbucks, have sophisticated corporate blog strategies and multiple staffers who contribute. Ad Age now estimates that 20% of the Fortune 500 have a blogging strategy in place. And blogs can offer a number of communications benefits that may not be available from other sources.

Blogging about your business or industry can help position your organization as an expert in the field, particularly if you focus your blog on offering research, tips, and other resources. Many companies have also discovered that internal blogging is a way for groups to keep members updated on projects faster than by reports or e-mail.

Blogs are also a valuable public relations tool, and many top blogs are routinely quoted by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and other major news sources. (Here at BrainPosse, we were very flattered when a prestigious trade publication picked up information from one of our posts to be used in an article.)

And perhaps most importantly, blogs are a source for two-way communications between an organization and its audiences. As well as dispensing information, blogs can track reaction to products, ideas, and outside news reports. Starbucks, as part of its recent “reinvention” process, has a blog called “My Starbucks Idea” that invites suggestions from customers and then reports on how the company is acting upon them (most frequent suggestion: Free WiFi).

Blogging provides a remarkably fast way to gather comments, typically from more outspoken people who would be telling their friends what they like/don’t like, rather than telling the company itself.

This interaction can have its risks, however. During hearings about airline safety in April, Southwest Airlines was raked over the coals by congress for its plane inspection policies. The Southwest blog was lit up by people writing in to say how the hearings had destroyed their faith in the company, and many signed their posts as “ex-customers.”

However, a number of people noted their admiration of the airline for keeping the posts live and taking the heat, and a number of still-loyal customers also wrote in to express support for the company.

The comments about safety are still there, along with not-always-flattering news clips from ABC, CNN, and others. The most current postings are back to covering new flights, music in Austin, and ground crew efficiency.

Did Southwest blunt some of the force of the negative news with the candid and transparent approach of its blog? Likely so, because news reporting is very different in the internet age.

Traditional public relations wisdom suggests that when a negative news story appears, one of the worst things that a company can do is respond to it, because it prolongs the life of the story. When a negative story runs, it impacts the people who see it that day, but gets buried under the mass of messages that come the next day.

But with YouTube, newspaper and magazine archives online, and other sources, a negative story can remain alive for months or years, replayed or re-read at any time. Which means that the rules of the game have changed. You can’t ignore a negative story and expect it to go away.

People now seek out what the company’s response might be to the negative report. And that’s also a game changer—because with blogging and other tools, the organization has the opportunity to provide detailed information about a situation, rather than what the reporter might have been able to get just as the story was breaking. Blogs are helping Southwest, Starbucks, and others better manage messages by getting more of their story told.

Since most companies aren’t involved in a major news story, a blog has the simpler function of being a faster, often more personal, version of its newsletters and other communication. The one key difference is that unlike a quarterly newsletter, blogs require constant attention to remain relevant.

Remember our figure of blogs in existence—100 million? It’s estimated by Technorati that only about 15 million of those are updated with enough regularity to be considered active.

So if you’re going to blog, here are a few things to consider:

1. Plan your updates. A blog is a publication. Successful publications don’t work from week to week—they have long-term editorial calendars that allow them to work on stories months in advance, so they’re not staring at a deadline with nothing to say. And if a blog isn’t updated regularly, people simply stop visiting.

In fact, if you don’t think you can regularly contribute, don’t blog. And remember, once you start, it's a regular part of your job.

2. Understand that you’re opening yourself up to criticism. Many organizations struggle with messages that aren’t under their control. But part of the value of blogging is that the messages are more credible if people from different sides weigh in.

3. Have multiple people post. Again, blogging is contributing to a marketing conversation. Different voices add interest.

4. Remember you have more flexibility than conventional journalism. Because people are continually posting and the messages are getting adjusted and updated, blogs are great for floating ideas and getting feedback. It’s not just about news.

5. Use the tools that have already been created, but give your blog its own custom look. There are plenty of free blogging tools available, but avoid using a standard template if possible. Customize graphics so that your voice has its own unique feel and reflects your organization.

6. Watch what the experienced bloggers are doing. If you’re not used to the open, conversational approach to blogging, you’ll have to learn. Look at what others are doing. You’ll get ideas—and the hang of this new form of communications.

Is it worth it? We think so. In fact, we’ve been blogging with BrainPosse for more than a year, and have a resource of more than 150 articles on marketing that are now instantly available to our clients and prospects. We refer to them regularly, and they provide proven information to help our clients’ business.


  1. Anonymous says

    Hello !.
    You re, I guess , probably very interested to know how one can collect a huge starting capital .
    There is no initial capital needed You may commense to get income with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

    AimTrust is what you haven`t ever dreamt of such a chance to become rich
    AimTrust incorporates an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

    Its head office is in Panama with structures around the world.
    Do you want to become a happy investor?
    That`s your chance That`s what you really need!

    I`m happy and lucky, I began to take up real money with the help of this company,
    and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to choose a proper partner who uses your savings in a right way - that`s AimTrust!.
    I earn US$2,000 per day, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
    It`s easy to join , just click this link
    and lucky you`re! Let`s take this option together to feel the smell of real money