It takes a lot of work to have a company blog and your approach is not a decision to be taken lightly.  Your blogging strategy will have a powerful impact on the direction of your entire social media effort.

Some of the best blogs in the world have evolved to support a number of corporate strategies.  And that’s where you need to start — assess the strategy, resources. culture, and capabilities of your company.  It’s almost trite to say “start with strategy” but it is ESSENTIAL and will save you a lot of pain later.  Let’s look at the implications of this decision by comparing three different corporate blogging strategies:

The multiple blogger strategy

A team of bloggers contributes content, with or without attribution.

Advantages

  • This is the most common approach because it fits well with traditional organizational structures, i.e. “the blog is run by our PR team.” So it’s usually the easiest route to success … and there is something to be said for that.
  • This strategy can also shine a light on the many voices and talents in your company. MLT Creative does a superb job of this, providing a blog that examines inbound marketing, research, and creative strategy by highlighting various experts on their team.
  • Multiple bloggers also distributes the workload and provides the best opportunity for frequent, consistent content.

Disadvantages

  • When you start a blog, all these people in the company will say “Oh yeah, I’ll contribute once a month.” They are big, fat liars.
  • Managing many moving parts and a content plan can be very complicated.
  • Being wedded to a schedule may make you inherently less flexible and responsive to external opportunities.
  • I have rarely seen a corporate blog with multiple bloggers that has been able to establish a real community.

The single blogger strategy

One person is the “face of the company.”

Advantages

  • If you have a company executive who is a natural communicator and voice of authority, it may represent a unique opportunity to differentiate your brand. What customer would not love getting a first-hand view from a well-known executive?  Bill Marriott blogs for his hotel chain. That is an advantage no other hotel brand can touch.
  • If your goal is to humanize your brand and create customer dialogue, your best bet is to have a dedicated blogger.  People want to connect and converse with a real person.  It is difficult to ask a question or comment when the author is not even identified.
  • It’s easier for a single person to develop a blogging voice and competency than an entire team.
  • Having a single point of responsibility is the most flexible and responsive situation that takes advantage of the rapid and real-time nature of the social web. It also assures that the job is going to get done.

Disadvantages

  • It may be risky putting all your eggs in one blogging basket.  What happens when your celebrity blogger leaves?
  • Funding a dedicated blogger may be impractical for most companies.
  • It may limit the scope and variety of content you deliver.

Hybrid approaches

Multiple, single bloggers — IBM has more than 50 blogs featuring individual superstar scientists and engineers. It is the best of both worlds since it features multiple voices but also creates emotional bonds with individuals.

Blogs segmented by market — An emerging best practice is to have multiple company blogs aimed at different demographics. These may use a combination of individuals and teams depending on the market.

Turn the blog over to stakeholders – Patagonia, Starbucks, and Fiskars famously use customers as their bloggers. This can create compelling content, external validation for your brand message, and a great opportunity for engagement.

The {grow} model — That would be me.  I offer a variety of content options in a format that could also be adopted by larger and more complex companies.  Here is my mix:

  • As the primary blogger, I establish a voice of authority and an emotional connection with readers that enables community.
  • I have several regular, paid contributors who provide diverse points of view.
  • I try to mix it up with guest posts from community members, videos, and cartoons to provide different types of entertaining content and a consistent publishing schedule.

Of course there are lots of other options and approaches and I’d love to hear your take on this in the comment section. What’s working, or not working, for you?

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