I always choose the red jelly beans first – it’s less of a risk than a green jellybean. A green one could be delicious kiwifruit flavour or not so-nice vaguely broccoli flavoured. Organisations may be choosing a blogging (or micro-blogging) strategy in order to achieve their goals or because they’re communications advisor has told them they have to. The stakes are higher, but these organisations are doing what we all do when faced with choices, we assess the risks (might it be broccoli flavoured? will I inadvertantly release confidential information?) and weigh them against the benefits (delicious sugary rush? create greater connection and engagement with my audience?).
Like a bag of jelly-beans, there’s a multitude of approaches and strategies for internal facing and customer or investor facing blogs. This is the research I’ve collated so far.
Corporate Blogging Strategies of the Fortune 500 Companies: Research paper by Lee, Hwan and Lee from 2006
When examining the blogs of Fortune 500 companies, researches found .
- Bottom-up (company wide): Each blog is for a distinct purpose, and all blogs are being aggregated into a common site. eg Microsoft.
- Top-down I (top management commitment): Executives are providing thought leadership or communicating to stakeholders but there are no hosted employee blogs. eg Boeing.
- Top-down II (individual): A few select individuals are providing thought leadership, and most blogs are inside company owned domains. eg IBM
- Top-down III (group): A group of employees collaborate to author one blog that is focused on a specific niche. eg HPs next big thing blog
- Top-down IV (promotion): Company operations on official blog for promotional purposes or customer feedback. eg Maytag’s Skybox blog
They found that bottom-up blogging companies tend to docus on products and customer service, while most top-down companies tend to focus on thought leadership or promotional content strategy.
There are other strategies to consider, such as how employees can and should participate in other blogs outside the company blogs. As we can see through the blogs we consume and interact with, it’s the comments and discussions that add value to blog posts. Employees could be encouraged to participate, and given guidelines for how they should represent themselves when commenting on their employee.
Moving into 2012 it’s interesting to consider the place that a brand’s Facebook page can have in their social media strategy. Has the facility to have a brand page on Facebook mean there’s no place for a ‘promotion’ type of blog’? Is blogging the wrong medium for promotion to customers? Does this explain why a lot of companies abandon their blogs if they adopt this strategy? Does a Facebook brand page count as a type of blog?