Many companies today are getting into corporate blogging, although for most corporate cultures allowing just anyone or everyone to blog is not a reality. (Although I guarantee in a few years blogs will be issued like email accounts to each and every employee).
Selecting the right corporate blogger is a daunting task, as it will make (or break) your blogging program. By selecting the wrong blogger, it could end up in disaster, or worse yet, boring and ineffective.
Also, I strongly recommend providing individual blogs rather than faceless teamblogs –yes there’s more risk, however the benefits can be greater to building a real relationship.
Here’s some criteria that I’ve found that makes a good corporate blogger, some of these are from my own experience as well as sipping wine with business blog expert and author Shel Israel in his backyard. Here are some characteristics to seek in a corporate blogger:
1) A Domain Expert
Your blogger needs to be a subject matter expert at the company, product, or customer need. Shel observes that some of the best bloggers are often Product Managers –I’m suprised by seeing a great CEO blogger at a larger corporation.
2) Conversational and an Effective Writer
Blogs are really conversations, as they are two-way dialogues (even if you don’t enable comments) so understanding that the content is not a monologue/speach is key. An effective blogger will be able to compose their own content, spell check and write sensibly and effectively. They analyze what is being said and respond to other bloggers and readers. They synthesize their personal experience and compose onto a blog.
The blogger must be very interested in their subject matter, product, or even passionate about customers –if they are not, it’ll show in the quality, frequency, and folks simply won’t read it. I hope my passion for web comes across.
4) Chatty and Vocal
Great bloggers are chatty –it’s true, I’ve met many of the greats, they love to chat, converse, learn, explore and grow. This doesn’t just mean by voice, but they may often respond quickly and frequently to email. It’s possible this person may already be a public face to the company but if they can’t be ‘transparent’ then seek other places.
5) A Web User
A great blogger is already using the web a lot, not just because they’ll be using a webtool to publish, but because they’ll need to be reading what others are saying. You’ll need to teach them how to listen –and they’ll be proactive at doing it themselves.
6) Transparent, Real, and Open
A good blogger will say when he’s right, a great blogger will admit when he’s wrong, and when the company and it’s products need help. This is the age of un-marketing –so they’ll need to be real, be transparent and naked.
I recommend that anyone who wants to blog start a personal blog on the side (an unrelated topic is fine) and experiment. Also, it makes sense (if you’re the one finding the corporate blogger) to request potential bloggers to submit draft posts once a week via email for a month. This will give time to analyze time, commitment, and writing style. Since this individual will become a corporate asset, you need to select an individual(s) that is committed to the company. I strongly discourage ghost writing, when customers find out, and credibility will be lost –it’s not worth the risk.
The blogosphere is real, and customers will voice their honest opinions. It’s not all good, and that’s part of the game. Embracing the criticism and harnessing them to build better products takes fortitude and will. Your blogger should also know when not to engage detractors –as some bloggers and commenters will be ‘baiting’
Feel free to add some points in the comments –what should you look in for a great corporate blogger?