Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When it is better not to have a corporate Blog

Today blogging is ubiquitous. Marketing experts, the media and books on business blogging give the impression that we should all do it, or be thinking about doing it. As with every business decision, One needs to decide whether a blog is worth its time and resources. Is it always a wise use of resources and an asset?

In my earlier blog, I had written on how a firm can use blog as a marketing tool. Being an active blogger - I took a deep look on the pros & cons of corporate blogging and in this blog, I am writing about when it is better for companies not to have a blog.

Case-1: When the blog becomes a one sided communication medium

Blog is a great tool to get the corporate messages across. But blog is not a one-way communication tool. It has to be a two way messaging system. If the company does not want to read any negative comments on its blog, then it must not have a blog.

Case-2: Blogging can leak company secrets

Every organization has confidential information. This information is often shared between employees - and there is likely potential that some of this information may unintentionally leak out through the blog.

Loss of confidential information can be prevented by having the blog contents go through a review process before being published. But this leads to another problem - Blogging takes too much time.

Case-3: Blogging Takes Time

It takes time and effort by company employees to publish & post contents on the blog. Often times employees are hard pressed for time. This makes the blog content being not updated regularly or the quality of the postings drops to a low level that it reflects badly on the firm. Committing resources for maintaining the blog should be a well thought out decision.

Case-4: Key market segments cannot be reached by Blog

Not all customers are Internet savvy. If your customer are not reading your blog, then there is no point in maintaining the blog. A clearly segmented customer base that can be touched through a blog deserves a corporate blog. If not, then there is little value in having a corporate blog.

Case-5: Blog needs to be on a interesting topic

People will read your blog if the contents are relevant to them and if its interesting. It is easy to start a blog, but keeping its content lively and interesting to its readers over a long period of time is a challenge. Often times, blogs do not have new content added regularly or have the same old topics recycled through - or some dull content. A dull blog is a sure way to turnoff readers and reflects poorly on the firm.

Closing thoughts

Corporate blog is a great way to reach out to the customers. But it must be treated like any other marketing communications tool - like advertising/pamplets/handouts etc. The decision to build and maintain a corporate blog must be well thought out one. I have outlined five reasons for not having a corporate blog. If the company plans to have a blog - but after the initial zeal, if the blog begins to flog, One must not hesitate to kill the blog.

Think of Blog as a marketing tool. Like all marketing communication mediums, there must be a well defined budget, objectives, road map and an exit plan in place before launching the blog.

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