Why You Should Publish a Corporate Blog July 23, 2013Best Practices, Web Strategyadminer The benefits of having a corporate blog are countless. Among them are the advantages of building corporate brand, enhancing customer loyalty, getting customer feedback, accumulating an email list for a newsletter, fresh content that generates link love for SEO purposes, crisis management and even the cultivation of your internal corporate culture. Having this type of dynamic presence online is a way for a company to harness the power of the Web for a multitude of purposes and help shape the way the public interacts with your brand. Perhaps the most compelling proof that corporate blogs work is in the fact that many very successful companies have been producing corporate blogs with very positive results. Self Promotion 37 Signals is a textbook example of successful self promotion. While effectively highlighting the company philosophy, it mystically takes otherwise boring subjects and transforms them into engaging content. Here is an example of the writing style that captivates their readers: As we watched Apple unveil iOS7, the 37signals Campfire room quickly turned to awe of what they had achieved. A redesign so shocking and deep bestowed upon a product so popular left many mouths agape. Whether you happened to like the final product wasn’t as relevant as marveling at the vision, drive, and sheer determination to pull it off.” How is that for engaging content? Talk about tooting your own horn by tooting someone else’s! This isn’t just Apple fan boy syndrome; it’s a demonstration that 37 Signals recognizes and appreciates good design, and that they can speak poetically and competently about it. It makes me want to know more about their company and the type of corporate culture that inspires words like this. Personal Interest can Engage Readers One of the best large corporate blogs around is that of Bill Marriot, founder of one of the world’s largest hotel chains. He proves that a corporate blog can talk about unrelated topics and yet still build brand. The key is to make the content dynamic and interesting. One of his latest posts is somewhat of a personal human interest story: “One of the benefits of being an old guy and living in Washington, D.C., is that I have had the privilege of meeting almost every U.S. President since Eisenhower. Each is a remarkable leader in their own way, right for their times, endorsed through election by the American people.” He then goes on to tell about his recent get together with Bill Clinton and many of his wonderful leadership attributes. You have to be careful about this type of name-dropping to not sound like a complete narcissist, but when done right you can establish yourself as a leader and authority; just have something relevant to say other than you’ve met some famous people in your sphere. New Product Development Starbucks has taken the blogging platform and made it into a global focus group. Imagine the power of having a huge brainstorming platform that invites customers to submit their ideas for new product offerings. To date, over 100,000 food, drink and other ideas have been submitted. With each new concept, additional comments from readers are added to refine the idea and test it against a huge audience. They are successfully crowd-sourcing product development through their blog, and probably even harvesting some great corporate talent that way. Getting Inspired and Starting Your Own Corporate Blog Writing a corporate blog can turn a lot of people off at first. This is partly because the content is not just flowing from an individual that is sharing life experiences or information about a specific interest or passion; anyone writing is also acting as a mouthpiece for the company, which carries its own risks. But managing those risks is doable, and worth it in my opinion. One of the best ways to get inspired and to start the creative juices flowing is to analyze what makes other blogs so successful. In addition to the samples provided above, these successful corporate blogs are prime examples of companies who are doing it right: Amazon Whole Foods Ice Cream Journal Zappos Bigelow Tea BMW YouTube Zillow Disney Parks Dell Any Size Company Can Benefit from a Blog Regardless of the size of your company, a blog can be a productive way to communicate internally and externally. Write a few sample posts and run them by trusted associates and even some customers. As you begin to amass a following, the blog will probably take on a life of its own. Who’s to say what it will evolve into? Mike Mann is a serial entrepreneur and author seeking to drive real-world change using profits from his many profitable business ventures. To learn how to make your own business a success, and to hear more about Mike’s charitable vision, read or download his book.