Blogging is considered to be the newswire of the digital revolution. It is a powerful tool for communicating company business stories. It is a way to engage new audiences and build relationships with existing customers and positions it as a thought leader in its field.
Blogs, short for web logs, are online platforms to create specific types of content, share them and interact with audiences. They may have a number of common features such as comment possibilities, trackbacks, and a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) technology. Generally, business blogs are non – commercial and non-promotional in nature and regularly updates the current information in content entries.
Today, every company and individual write blogs which helps them to express their ideas, perceptions, and information to their target audience. It is a platform of expression. It helps to generate customer value.
Defining Corporate Blogs:-
Corporate blogging can be defined as “the use of blogs to further accomplish company goals”. (Wiley)
Technopedia defines A business blog (b-blog) is a blog of published, informal online articles that are either included in a company’s internal communications system (intranet) or posted on the Internet for the public to read. Business blogs use a more personal tone than corporate websites and are primarily used for public relations purposes. A business blog may also be referred to as a corporate blog or corporate Weblog.
According to Technopedia website, there are two types of business Blogs:- Internal and External
An internal business blog generally uses RSS feeds to promulgate content to employees. Internal blogs are often used to promote employee participation and discussion, to foster a sense of community and to direct communication between various layers of a corporation.
The external blog is a publicly available and for public views and information. This is being done by any company employees or PR spokesperson to announce any new products, to clarify and explain policies or to react or respond to public issues. It is being treated more often the informal one than the formal press release. According to Hoffman Agency, Corporate blogs should not be about me but should be a platform to show thought leadership and communicate views on industry issues.
Business blogs have the advantage of offering a glimpse into the inner workings of a company that might not be found on its corporate website. Whether business blogs are external or internal, they are a familiar part of the corporate world.
Types of Business Blogs:-
John Saddington in his blog identified five types of Blogs:-
Senior Leadership, Founder, CEO
This one is obvious – it’s a blog where the CEO/Founder of the organization is providing most of the perspective and voice for the blog and the company. Perhaps it’s other senior leaders within their own area of expertise or role and responsibility. It comes from the top so it is a powerful perspective to consider.Of course, the challenge is that the leader of the company may not have enough time to blog consistently or regularly and that can really hurt the blog’s potential. There are a few examples of senior leader’s blogging regularly but it’s few and far between which makes this gem of a type extremely precious and rare.
General Company Blog, Multi-Author
This is the next most typical type of blog where you have one general blog where one or more authors contribute. Sometimes these are full-time roles within the company or a rotating publishing schedule from key influencers within the organization (or those that can simply blog and write well).
This can be good to help provide a well-rounded perspective on the business as a whole and help pass the responsibility around so that no one person is at fault for not publishing consistently. This works really well for smaller organizations that have only a few people on staff but it can also work well for larger ones as well. This might be a good place to “get your feet wet,” so to speak, and for your company to try adding a blog to your social communication strategy.
Specific Team or Department Blog
Your organization may be large enough to have department specific blogs that focus their content on what that specific department is responsible for. Examples would include the Information Technology (IT) team having a blog sharing their thoughts on infrastructure and database management or the software development team is honest about their approach and struggles with shipping their product.
Perhaps it’s even the HR department sharing their solutions of hiring well or the customer service organization engaging in the conversation and even taking help requests from the comment layer. All these can be included in the specific team or department type.
4. Product, Service, Marketing Blog
Most businesses would take this type and roll it into one of the other types as a sub-type but the better business blogs that I’ve seen strategically focus their content on talking about one of their products, most likely their flagship product, and making that the blog channel that becomes marquee.
For example, if your entire business is centered around a specific web application then having a blog that’s dedicated to sharing the details of the product, the team behind it, the challenges, the updates, the “behind the scenes” look would be pretty neat. A lot of great business blogs take this strategy and work in soft-marketing approaches to entice new customers.
And guess what? It works. By sharing the details of the product/service it becomes a viable marketing tool that people talk about.
5. Employee Blog
Finally, the last type of business blog would be a specific employee blog or perhaps a network of employee blogs that are powered by individual employees. Perhaps it’s a blog that is company branded or perhaps it’s their independent blog that just becomes the “voice” for the business. In either case, this can work well if the employee understands their responsibility to the organization as a whole and that the specific expectations are laid out.
Characteristics of a Blog:-
Blogbasics.com has listed the characteristics of a blog which are as follows:-
- a blog has some form of navigation, usual menus
- a blog’s layout contains a header, footer, and content. Usually, there is at least one sidebar running beside the content.
- categories of posts
- that readers can access the archives, previous posts
- that a post can contain text and images, (and often video and other media)
- that posts can contain links to other posts, both within a blog and to the entire web
- should contain a contact page and form
- should contain an about page
- It may also display of recent posts, a plugin that automatically sends a new post details to Twitter or Facebook, image galleries and the ability to turn the post into an easy to print a document.
- Also, for writing a blog no technical knowledge is required. Only basics and understanding about the subject helps to create effective blogs.
- Instant distribution of information to millions of masses across the globe
- Systematically organized
- Search engine magnets to find the types of content required
- Permalinks means any author who writes a blog also has a link to his bio, other articles details etc. so, a reader gets a chance to connect with the author directly
Role of Corporate Blogs in Public Relations:-
By writing about your industry, reviewing products, providing company news, and commenting on various business and economics issues, your blog is a ready source of news stories. By writing in a style that reflects your personality, along with your expertise in the industry, journalists will consider you to be an industry expert.
As competition for available media coverage tightens in a sea of press releases and attention-stealing publicity stunts, it is harder than ever for a business to gain much-needed publicity. A business person is often at a complete loss as to how to get media coverage of a worthwhile business story.
Getting someone to hear the message is half the battle. Having the members of the media consider it newsworthy is the other half. Somewhere, there must be another vehicle that can gain the attention of an already swamped news editor. Help for the publicity-seeking business person has arrived in the form of the blog.
Should a disaster happen either to the business or its customers, a business blog provides an immediate and personalized vehicle to discuss the issue with the public. Instead of the “spin” usually associated with public relations, the blog can serve as an honest and concerned pipeline directly to the public. By addressing the issues openly and honestly, the business can regain and even increase the public’s trust. Concerned customers and the general public will view the blog as giving the straight answers. Such trust will only help enhance the business’s reputation, both in the short and long run.
Perhaps the single most powerful aspect of blogs, in the area of public relations, is the personalization aspect. A writer is a real person, putting a human face on what might otherwise be perceived as an unknown and distant company. By developing trust among the various readership groups, the blog writer provides a personal link to the company. If the goal of a public relations effort is to work in coordination with sales and marketing, a blog will establish trust with current and prospective customers and clients. It’s a well-known truism that people will buy from their friends and people whose word they trust. The development of a blog component to the company website will go far in achieving those trust based goals.
Blogging as a public opinion medium gives up that tight control and presents a message in a conversation with the reader. In that sense, the blog cultivates public opinion. With increasing transparency, inside and outside of organizations, the best approach is one of open discussion. A blog is the ideal delivery vehicle.
Many people have begun to mistrust the traditional canned public relations approach as lacking honesty. The openness of a blog changes that perception entirely. As the philosopher, Marshall McLuhan stated, “Perception is reality”. In other words, what we perceive to be true is real in our own thoughts. A blog can enhance that perception of honesty by delivering the straight goods on an issue. With that open approach, lacking the traditional tightly controlled message, trust in the company is enhanced. In both the short and longer terms, that trust translates into more lifelong customers and clients.
Making a Business Blog:-
There are a number of issues that need to be addressed when it comes to improving corporate blogs, but here, we have few important list or key elements which need to be focused when we define the aspects of corporate blogs. They are:-
Blog plan of approach: – once a company decides to publish their blog, they need to first develop a comprehensive plan of approach wherein they need to decide about the focal topic on which they want to focus. They also need to understand that what kind of audiences they are looking for and what communication they would like to make with their target audiences. The company should have a clear agenda on what subjects they want to focus their blog at one time it could be about business, economy, finance, company philosophy, consumer awareness, discussion on any current subjects etc. while doing all these, a company should never ever forget to be ethical in their approach. It is important for an organization to be honest, truthful and accurate while talking with their audiences and setting the objectives with them. The blog is a useful and powerful medium to enhance customer relationship, customer engagement, driving purchase intent, educate, aware them about new changes and role of an organization in it.
Blog Design:-Experts suggest that blog design should be little different from the conventional design of a website. It helps to find an easy identification and define the purpose. Blog design like all design is the discipline of studying content, interpreting personality, anticipating needs, and translating unspoken hope and desire. Blog design is about adding the gestures and modulation one would find in a face to face conversation. Blog design supports and adds value to the text. Blog design also adds or subtracts credibility. The key design features for corporate blogs are:-
- Proactively promote having people sign up for the newsletter. A company should be more proactive in finalizing the design or to attract the people to visit on their blog page. “Subscribe to our blog posts” will not do many changes. A company should follow the more engaging approach might sound like “Like what you are reading?” etc.
- There are many blog designs use the right-hand navigation but to create a difference left-hand navigation should be used.
- A company should also share a permalink which is connected to all.
- It is also recommended to create a widget so that most liked post or popular post is visible easily to visitors and read the best blogs on the products or services that have to offer.
Blog content:-Corporate blogging is the practice of creating content that addresses industry updates, expert tips or best practices and company news from the perspective of a brand. It is used by businesses of all sizes as a means of content marketing. The blog may be written by the executive within a business or by professional SEO and content writers with industry expertise on behalf of the business.
Choose the right topic and find your voice: – a blogger should always choose the relevant topic based on business backgrounds and articulate thoughts systematically.
Link the professional sites link: – it is important for an author to get connect with their audience, therefore, they should create a link which can direct the audience to visit on the page of author profile and interest details.
Good corporate blog posts are about 400-1,000 words:-Blog posts should be easily digestible during a coffee break. Readers will give up if they need to scroll down endlessly. If you’re getting upwards of 1,000 words, consider breaking your post into two parts, or tightening up your ideas and language.
- http://www.theblogstudio.com/2005/06/what-is-blog-design/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- https://www.brafton.com/glossary/corporate-blogging/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- https://john.do/types-business-blogs/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- https://thinkbonfire.com/blog/blog-services-5-types-of-business-blogs/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- https://blogbasics.com/characteristics-of-a-blog/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- http://184.108.40.206:8080/dspace/bitstream/123456789/489/1/Corporate%20Blogs%20as%20a%20Public%20Relations%20Tool.pdf/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- http://www.seochat.com/c/a/website-promotion-help/blogs-as-excellent-public-relations-tools/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- https://www.sibm.edu/pdf/samvad8/powerfulpublicrelation.pdf/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
- http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/10/10-tips-for-corporate-bloggers/ retrieved on 25th Feb 2018
Kavita Mishra Pandey
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