How Blogs can help a Corporation

I haven’t been following the data storage blogosphere as closely as I did when it was part of my job, but Anil linked to me, which will cause me to explore. When I was the community manager, Anil remembers how I treated him like a friend and invited him over to HQ, even after some of his critiques –I embraced.

I’m seeing a little exchange between Robin Harris and StorageZilla. If you’re not familiar with the data storage industry, there’s quite a rivarly and distrust between vendors, more so than the web industry that uses the term “frenemy” or “cooperative-competition”. There’s some conversations about the ‘ownership’ of how employees who blog and how far they can go with their words. The rules around EMC’s organic (bloggers that appear on their own, without corporate control) bloggers seem very controlled, I often advise the savvy company to embrace organic bloggers (you can’t stop them) and they are often the most powerful and credible voices of your company.

Robin suggests from his blog that EMC could benefit from being more ‘human‘ a way to tone down the very corporate and dominance branding that EMC currently has. StorageZilla fires back with a volley.

Companies like Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, and others recognize how organic bloggers can be tied into the overall social media (and then marketing) strategy. In a few years, blogs will be issued like email accounts.

We all know that blogs can certainly soften the image of a company, we know the Scoble effect, and what Lionel has done over at Dell, and how other corporate bloggers can either provide a variety of benefits. What benefits?

Here’s how corporate blogs can help a company:

Soften or improve brand
Rapid Response tool
Intelligence gathering
Build better products from two-way conversation
Encourage advocates, embrace detractors
Sales Tools: Education or conversation starter
A living White Paper
Sales lead
One of the ways to evolve the irrelevant corporate website

Hey storage bloggers, take it easy ok? I know that sparring matches are part of the fun, but think bigger and build a better community, one that can grow and learn from each other.