Is your company ready to blog?

In an interview for the Bacon’s Navigator, Sally Falkow writes that Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO of Sun Microsystems said that blogging had played a major role in the revitalization of Sun’s reputation. Sun has gone from the 99th to the 6th most popular server company, largely because it has embraced authenticity and transparency in its communication initiatives, according to the piece.

Among the benefits of corporate blogging (according to the Falkow piece):

  • Increases search engine visibility and thus brand awareness
  • Offers a direct communication channel to the public
  • Builds credibility and trust
  • Allows you to tell your story, uncensored by the media
  • Makes your organization more “real” to the public

Is your company ready to blog? Check the culture of your organization:

  • Can you let go of the controlled ‘messaging’?
  • Are you willing to be authentic and transparent?
  • Do you have the resources – writers, time, budget – to create the content for a blog that others will find compelling?

I remember (many years ago) pleading with our CEO to get computers for the newsroom. And lots of heated meetings on why we did (or did not) need to network our computers. The idea of email seemed silly at one time. I remember all of this like it was yesterday. I get the same blank, puzzled looks from some of our top folks when the subject of blogs comes up. What possible value could a corporate blog have?

Can we let go of controlled ‘messaging?’ Not entirely.
Are we willing to be transparent? Up to a point.
Will our company ever have a corporate blog? I expect we will, and it will probably happen like this:

Somebody in senior management will be at a meeting or conference and someone they know and trust will talk about their experience with blogging and ask if we are using this tool. Fortunately, when they return to the Mother Ship, they’ll find a cadre of experienced bloggers ready to help.

Postscript: (24 hours later) Not every company is ready to blog. I happen to think most companies should not attempt this. This only works if everybody (top to bottom) is jumping in with great enthusiasm. If there’s any doubt about whether this is a good thing for your organization… don’t do it.