Monday, February 9, 2009

Can Your Corporate Blog be Trusted?

Because it represents your brand, your business blog needs to be trustworthy. A widely-quoted report by Forrester puts corporate blogs far down on the trustworthiness scale; (download the Forrester report here). I’ve written about creating a trusted corporate blog previously, but a new article on Marketing Profs makes it worth returning to. It’s a subscriber-only article; let me give you a quick summary.

According to Kimberly Smith, writing for Marketing Profs:
• Provide real value for your readers
• Be transparent to a fault
• Be direct and write in an engaging, personal style
• Welcome reader involvement. That requires moderation and a policy to guide it; I’ve written about that before also.
• Make it clear that it is an official corporate blog and what the policies are.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that many blogs that appear to be “corporate” are actually personal blogs and have the required disclaimers. Which is the right approach for your company? Or should you encourage a mix of “official corporate” blogs and personal blogs from corporate executives? Both, in fact, have value.

If you are pondering these issues, you might want to invest in Marketing Profs Smart Tools: Blog Marketing publication. It gives some step-by-step guidance that could be helpful. I’d suggest that the first recommendation is the most important; “Define blog objectives and profile your blog’s target audience.”

Your corporate blog is a communications tool, and it must be planned and managed like one. You have to build trust in the information it provides, just like you’ve worked to build trust in your brand.

But I keep asking—can you afford not to communicate with your customers? to communicate directly and without filters and artifice? That’s the way the world is moving. More important, I’m willing to bet that it’s the way the expectations of your customers are evolving. If you doubt that, ask them!

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