Effective corporate blogging has much in common with other forms of blogging, but there are some important differences.
With corporate blogging, what you chose to publish should be viewed through the lens of how it advances the corporation's position while still being relevant and useful to the target audience.
Consider these five tips for taking your corporate blogging efforts to the next level.
1. Make Time To Blog (even when you're busy)
Blogging is different from writing a white paper or an application note. It's about writing up your thoughts from a situation you've been in for the benefit of others who might be working in the same domain.
When you take too much time to refine a piece to make it "just right" it often ends up being too long and unnecessarily polished. Keep it real, knock it out, and keep moving- even if the result seems too short.
The most common reason given for not blogging? "I don't have time." Nobody I know has extra time on their hands. Corporate blogging is all about leverage. Instead of repeatedly putting out fires in one-on-one situations use your blogging to help users solve issues themselves before they become full-on emergencies.
2. Consult with Marketing (but speak with your own voice)
When you're writing a blog as a hobby, it's common to get press releases from businesses in your topic asking you to write about their endeavor. In corporate blogging, the equivalent is when marketing asks you to write about something that is really more of a press release. Don't subject your readers to a re-purposed press release masquerading as a blog entry.
However, do consult with marketing when appropriate. Before publishing a blog entry on a touchy competitive subject ask for their advice on how to shape the story effectively. Make sure your ambitious blogging and social media efforts align with the company's overall strategy. We're all on the same team and we need to be working together to advance corporate goals.
3. Share Useful Tips (even if it doesn't paint a pretty picture)
Users know your software isn't perfect, so why pretend like it is? If you find yourself offering up the same clunky but effective workaround while the mainstream product is being refined it's probably worth letting users know about it. Sometimes it's as useful for users to know what the software can't do (and how they can get it to do what they want) as what it can do.
4. Compile Information
Chances are you know and read more about your solution than your customers do. Help raise awareness of useful content by assembling lists for quick consumption. For example, considering writing a post on "Five Important Forum Posts You May Have Missed". Or "Three Things Our Engineers Are Talking About This Week."
Not only will you be performing a useful service but you'll be raising awareness of other portions of your community.
5. Leverage Screencasting
Text with embedded images is still the most bandwidth and consumer-friendly way to get your point across, but when you're demonstrating how to perform an action in a GUI screencasting can be very effective.
Programs like TechSmith's Camtasia make it easy to capture on-screen activity and overlay your voice to convey your message. Give it a try next time you want to describe a point and written text is feeling cumbersome.
By Bob Dwyer
Bob is an applications engineer with Cadence Design Systems. He blogs in the Cadence.com Digital Implementation Community and helps users be more effective with the company's design tools. You can connect with him on Twitter: @RobertDwyer.