Best Practices in Corporate Blogging

How Your Organization Can Run a Successful Blogging Program

October 30, 2008

While blogging certainly isn't a new communications medium, many companies are still getting the hang of it. Blogging takes commitment, and there are valid concerns about how blogs can amplify undesirable messages. But these issues can be handled through proper planning, sufficient resources, and organizational support. The benefits of blogging are attainable for organizations following best practices such as recruiting the right people, thinking in terms of an ongoing program, knowing what your audience wants to read about, using an appropriate technology platform, developing and enforcing reasonable policies, and analyzing and reporting on trends, insights, and issues.


While blogging certainly isn’t a new communications medium, at least not based on Internet standards, companies are still getting the hang of it. Many corporate blogs are stale at best, due to infrequent updating; you can practically see the tumbleweeds rolling across the screen of a blog whose most recent post was (gasp!) several months ago or more.

For sure, blogging takes planning and commitment; most corporate bloggers understandably focus on the demands of their “day jobs.” And there are valid, though manageable, concerns about how blogs, as a form of social media, can be a lightning rod for undesirable messages.

But these issues can be handled through proper planning, engaging your customers/readers, allocating sufficient resources, and getting support throughout the organization. The many benefits of publishing a successful blog are attainable for any organization following best practices.

This report discusses the key questions “Why blog?,” “Who should blog?,” and how it can be done “right.”

Doing it right includes recruiting the right people and thinking in terms of an ongoing program. It also includes having a solid understanding of what your audience wants to read about, using an appropriate platform that makes it easy for bloggers and for those providing support, developing and enforcing reasonable policies, and analyzing and reporting on trends, insights, and issues.

Wells Fargo CEO Blogs

Wells Fargo CEO Blogs

© 2008 Wells Fargo

Illustration 1. Through the use of design and photographs and the conversational tone of its posts, Wells Fargo’s blogs help convey a friendly, personal image within an industry commonly seen as impersonal.


A blog is both a communications tool and a communications channel. As such, it can be an important component of your organization’s social media toolkit, with a host of potential benefits (see below). Realizing these benefits, though, means taking seriously blogging’s resource and publishing demands.

This report does not try to convince you that your organization should blog; it more or less presupposes you’ve made that decision, or are at least leaning in that direction. But, while we don’t see many reasons not to have a corporate blog of some sort, it should only be done if you can do it well.

(Note that, while this report is primarily about external blogging—i.e., blogging for customers, prospective customers, and others who don’t work at your company—most items apply as well to internal blogs, where the readers are employees within your organization.)

Why Blog?

For many organizations new to the type of direct customer interaction enabled by blogs (as well as, for that matter, discussion forums, wikis, etc.), starting a blog can be an anxiety-provoking step, particularly for marketing and PR executives. Blogs can, indeed, be unchartered territory for such companies. You don’t necessarily know how well received your blog will be, and mistakes can be, not only extremely visible, but also amplified thanks to the pervasiveness of the Internet and the ease and power of social connectedness.

So why take the gamble? Because the benefits—particularly, from our point of view, those relating to enhancing customer relationships—can outweigh the risks. There are many reasons why companies blog, with various benefits to be gained. From a business perspective, many companies blog in order to do the following:

  • Provide information
  • Display thought leadership
  • Get a conversation going with customers (and others) / build relationships
  • Resolve issues / improve customer satisfaction
  • Enhance the brand image / portray the company as forward thinking and customer friendly
  • Generate awareness (marketing and promotion)
  • Find new customers (lead generation)
  • Generate feedback from the outside (float trial balloons, collect ideas, etc.)

There are similarly many reasons why individuals blog. From a personal perspective, many individuals blog in order to:

  • Display subject-matter expertise (show off and share expert knowledge, strut their stuff)
  • Express themselves / provide a creative outlet
  • Do their jobs better, through interacting with (and learning from) customers and other readers
  • Generate visibility / contribute to professional networking

Who Should Blog?

BUSINESS UNITS. Blogs are fundamentally about communication. Any executive or business unit that may want to share their perspective with a given audience should consider blogging. These groups may include:

  • Executive Management (e.g., CEO blog)
  • Corporate Communications
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing/Product Marketing
  • Product Development/R&D
  • Customer Service and Support
  • Content/Editorial
  • Analyst Relations

INDIVIDUALS. There is no well-defined or industry-accepted profile of a corporate blogger, but certain characteristics and skills tend to indicate the likelihood of success. Corporate bloggers should:

  • Genuinely care and are passionate about what they do and what they’ll be writing about
  • Have some degree of expertise and experience in their subject area and with your company’s products and services
  • Bring a unique perspective to the topics they’re writing about
  • Have an interest in engaging directly with readers
  • Not be overly sensitive about criticism
  • Have some writing ability

On this last item, blog writing is typically different from other forms of writing that business professionals tend to engage in. It’s more informal and conversational than technical documents, marketing plans, business proposals, and press releases, and it’s more structured than most business emails. Most people who bring at least moderate writing skills can eventually find their own successful blogging style if they’re engaged, determined, and well supported.

Think Blogging Program

Some say that all you need to start a corporate blog is identify those passionate people in your organization, give them a blog platform, and let them do their stuff. Well, we find that reality is very different. For sure, there may be a few people like that, but for the most part, while they may not go kicking and screaming, many of those who might want to blog (or whom you might want to blog) are either not that into it or not that good at it. In addition, while they might start out gung-ho, once the excitement and newness wear off, blogging can turn into—dare I say it—work.

So, to be successful, you’ll need to...

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