Wednesday, May 16, 2007

There’s No Business Like a Blogging Business

Company-generated blogs are so hot right now, we have decided to give you some more CBO insight on this topic!

Credibility is a huge issue for corporations moving into the blogosphere. As a result they need to focus on topics that are both interesting for their audience and that can create conversation in a transparent and trustworthy manner.

In his blog titled “Micro Persuasion,” popular blogger and Edelman executive Steve Rubel discusses corporate blogging in relation to its effect on public relations. In his words, “the blog boom gives the communicator a channel to listen to and engage directly with people, a subset of whom, are inherently interested in their products, company and initiatives.”

It is also important for companies to decide whether corporate blogs should come from the CEO or an employee that may be more credible due to their proximity to and knowledge of company processes. In the case of Sun Microsystems, the company is represented in cyberspace by both its CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, and one of its software experts, Tim Bray.

Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz was the first Fortune 500 CEO blogger ever. In “Jonathan’s Blog,” he writes about Sun’s mission, competitors and industry issues. And because Schwartz is well aware that his messages must have a global reach, his blog can be translated into 11 languages!

Sun employee and software/tech expert Tim Bray blogs about truth, business and technology, and often blogs about blogging. In a recent post, Bray reflected on the anniversary of his blog and listed the following five reasons for its success:

1) It’s helped improve Sun’s image. Three years ago we were seen as a big faceless lawyer-bound monolith; now the world sees that this is in fact an unruly tribe of people, many of them really bright, maniacally focused on the tech and biz of IT.

2) Executives love being able to get their message out without having to route it through a journalist’s or analyst’s filtering function.

3) We keep hearing anecdotal stories from salespeople about being able to get in front of some prospect, or route around some obstacle, because of something someone read on one of the blogs.

4) We listen better. Like Bill Joy said, “Wherever you work, most of the smart people are somewhere else.” If I’m a smart person in Cleveland or Shanghai or Warsaw or Lima and I get a bright idea about something Sun should be doing, or notice with horror that Sun is doing something stupid, there’s no obvious way for an individual to talk to a big California computer company. On the other hand, if I’m reading some Sun blogger who writes about what I care about and I know the rule, it’s the work of minutes to fire off an email. I get these all the time and I bet there are a hundred or two a month in aggregate across the bloggers.

5) The morale-boost has been tremendous. Right at the moment, less than 10% of the workforce is actually committed bloggers to the extent of posting once a week or more; but the uplift from knowing that if you have something to say, it’s OK with the company for you to just go and say it to the world, that’s huge. Ask anyone who works here.

Can’t wait to get started on that corporate blog? Here are some business blogging best practices from our favorite blogology expert, Debbie Weil. Her blog is “BlogWrite for CEOs.”

Until Next Time…
Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and entrepreneur extraordinaire, is one blogger worth checking out. His blog “Blog Maverick” focuses on business, tech and sports, and often creates quite a buzz – both positive and negative.


Bob Cox said...

As an executive with a "traditional" company, I appreciate hearing how blogging can open channels of communication with customers, suppliers and the media. Thanks for your "toolbox" on blogging.

Anonymous said...

I never thought about translating a blog into many languages. As a CEO/corporate company that is something to keep in mind--who are your readers and can you reach them all?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of Mark Cuban, but the fact that he takes the time to discuss his company and basketball team on a blog is quite impressive. And the number of comments his blog generates is pretty ridiculous...