Last month I wrote a piece commenting on Jeramiah Owyang’s The Many Challenges of Corporate Blogging. As one of my most popular posts, I figured that you wanted to hear more on this topic. Therefore, when I read Sally Faulkow’s post reporting on Forrester’s most recent report How To Derive Value From B2B Blogging, I just had to add my own two cents.
Here are some of the reported findings and my comments:
70% write only about business or technical topics
I don’t see this as a bad thing. A corporate blog should talk about business. Why wouldn’t it? In my experience, most companies begin their B2B blogging adventure with an inferiority complex — derived from the “blogging is different than traditional marketing” theme. Newbies to B2B blogging frequently overcompensate and write less about business — that is until nobody reads their blog and they’re forced to go back to the drawing board.
74% rarely get comments
Reader comments are a demonstrable way to gauge audience involvement. Comments offer readers a way to talk back to the author, who has in some way stimulated (agitated?) them enough to grab their keyboard and share a thought. If 74% are not getting comments, it’s time to rethink 74% of the B2B blogs.
I always encourage my B2B bloggers to monitor their comments closely, using them as marketing feedback on their content. I have them review all of their comments, identifying those posts with the most comments and those with goose-eggs. By listening to reader comments, B2B bloggers can fine tune their content — and thus draw a more engaged audience.
55% simply regurgitated press releases or other already-public news
Every writer needs to know their audience. Press Releases are written for journalists, who in turn write for end readers. A blog is written directly for the end reader. Both forms of prose are different — which is the main reason why regurgitation doesn’t make sense.
But that doesn’t mean blogs can’t be used to report news. I recommend that companies experiment with releasing some of their news via a B2B blog. For example, if your company is releasing a new product, spearheading a new community outreach program, or entering into a new partnership, why not have one of your corporate bloggers mention it in a post instead of issuing a Press Release? (Warning: You may need to beat back the Regurgitation Specialists with a big stick!)
53% of B2B marketers say that blogging has marginal significance or is irrelevant to their strategies
This reminds me of the first time corporations started using the web. Hindsight is 20/20 but back then, very few companies understood the web. It’s the same thing with B2B blogging. In my experience, most corporate blogging programs go bad because the company ONLY looks to their PR and Marketing departments for bloggers. I’ve found that the best B2B bloggers won’t come from the ranks of the professional communicators. Rather, they’ll come from the rank and file who deal directly with customers on a day-to-day basis. Those on the front line understand what is “significant” and “relevant.”
This doesn’t mean that your company’s professional communicators are banned from blogging. Just don’t limit the search there. When looking for B2B bloggers, cast the net a little wider. You might be surprised at what you find.