To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

Peppercom just released its first survey on corporate blogging, which offers insights from the marketing community on the benefits and risks for companies that are experimenting with this medium.

Although the vast majority of respondents were positive about the potential for corporate blogs as a communications channel, there was a considerable amount of concern about how companies should go about entering the blogosphere.

With the growing hype around blogging, marketing executives are trying hard to figure out how to step into the blogosphere without getting burned. And I don’t blame them. For many companies, the idea of creating an open dialogue with its customers’ is a scary proposition. What if they bash our products? What if we disclose something that comes back to haunt us?

These are all valid concerns, but I urge companies to take a step back and think about why they even want to start blogging in the first place. Too often companies dive into the blogosphere with an agenda, which is a bad move. You wouldn’t go to your high school reunion with a bullhorn and flyers talking about your company. Companies cannot assume they can jump in and exploit the blogosphere in the same way.

To be successful in this space, you need to be much more down-to-earth and transparent. First and foremost, corporations must slow down and listen to the ongoing conversation enabled by blogs. By simply listening to the debates, concerns, and praises, companies will be able to fine-tune their products and messaging. Second, companies can join the conversation as long as they engage their customers. What’s the point of blogging if you insist on keeping the walls up? Third, and probably most important, do not attempt to control the conversation with bullhorn marketing communications methods of old. Don’t treat your customer as a "target." Talk to them honestly and openly, because chances are, they probably know more about your products than you do.

2 thoughts on “To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

  1. Your post makes sense to me. I’d also add that listening to your customers, and engaging them for their ideas can really work very well for a company. Blogging is so much more than PR, online marketing and journalism. I think its also product development. Look at Microsoft and Macromedia, or for that matter Intuit, those companies are actually using their blogs for product ideas and feedback.