This post is concerned with the use of blogs for business purposes (Enterprise 2.0 – blogging). It is important to note that there are two different kinds of blogging for an enterprise: the internal blogging and the external blogging. In this post I’m going to address both of these types of blogging and give some examples of companies who do it well and why the do it well.
Firstly, let’s discuss internal blogging. This kind of blogging is used by a business to help their internal workings and knowledge management. The blog is used by employees usually on an intranet the business has set up. Each employee can have a blog or specific people such as managers could use a blog to broadcast announcements to their workers. Either way the primary use of a blog is to communicate with co-workers about anything and everything. Business plans, news, pictures from work functions, project updates, ideas, thank yous, meeting notes, the list goes on. A good summary of uses for an internal blog can be found here – GoBigAlways.com – How we use blogs internally. Blogs also provide the ability for other co-workers to provide feedback via commenting system built-in to most blogging platforms.
More benefits for blogging can be found here: Seven Reasons for your Company to Start an Internal Blog,
So now that we know what they are used for, lets have a quick look at some good examples of businesses using internal blogging with great success. Check out these videos on the internal blogging communications for Chicago Federal Reserve Bank and Dell (One Dell Way).
What are your thoughts about internal blogging via anonymous user accounts and anonymous commenting? Good or a bad thing? It certainly provides employees with the ability to make their opinions heard without backlash.
Does anyone have any more information on Dell’s internal blogs? One Way Drive sounds interesting. Let me know by adding a comment.
The second, and perhaps more well-known use for Enterprise 2.0 blogs is communicating with the outside world. Companies use corporate blogs to communicate with their customers and the general public about product updates, news, release dates, their day to day doings, funny events, successes, failures, reviews, asking for feedback, commenting and communicating with customers.
Blogging also provides companies with the ability to frequently update and renew their website/brand whereas with the old form of a company website, the content was rather static and never new. Perhaps the best link I’ve ever found with regards to case studies on Enterprise 2.0 is here. This site gives tonnes of great case study examples on external blogging successes. It also provides tips from those who have “been there and done that”.
A very good example of a company who uses a blog effectively is Google. Their blog, although a little shakey at the start (see their first post and second post “Is this thing on?“), is great at getting information out about new products/services while keeping it real and story-based. Reading it isn’t just reading a marketing campaign, it’s about reading a story. For instance:
“My cousin is in first grade and sometimes she writes short stories for class. I try to share the stories with her grandparents, but because Japanese is their first language and they don’t speak English very well, it’s been tough. Today we’re releasing a feature for Google Docs to make this kind of multi-lingual sharing easier — you can now automatically translate documents into 42 different languages,” (Google Blog: Translate Documents – Sharing across languages and generations).
Blogging tips (internal and external blogging)
There are a few things I’ve realised from reading vastly about E2.0 blogging. One is thefear employees have of writing something wrong, or incorrect, or damaging on their blog, Facebook page or so on. There is an interesting article here offering tips on what to keep in mind when using social media.
When communicating to customers and clients via an external blog don’t market your product. Don’t use blogging as a way to spam your followers with advertising. Instead, build a relationship with them, offer support and information that is valuable to them. As a side-effectthis will help your business grow and expand. Your company website is for selling your product, the blog is to compliment the product and help customers. It can be used to disclose information about new products as such but should never be trying to sell the new product. Blogging is a way of communicating on a more personal level with internet users and a good blog will help the word of your product spread through the blogosphere and around the Internet.
Post with a point or for a purpose. Don’t post for no reason. And have a sense of humour. A lot of the attraction of reading a blog is in the style and writing ability of the blogger. Keep things interesting, funny, controversial and leading edge.