... and not thinly veiled PR.
Since blogs became the next big thing, an increasing number of companies have come to see them as the next great public relations vehicle—a way for executives to demonstrate their casual, interactive side.
But, of course, the executives do nothing of the sort. Their attempts at hip, guerrilla-style blogging are often pained—and painful.
Rebecca Blood says:
Repositing marketing materials on a blog is a waste of time. I would advise them to just stop right now. Those materials already exist. The blog that is powerful is when it is real.
As has been said so many times on this blog and elsewhere, blogs can provide companies with a connection they don’t otherwise have with the public, employees and clients. But it may take some time before executives figure out how to best use them. David Weinberger goes back to the nature of blogging - it is a conversation:
Success in blogging is exactly the same as success in conversation, where if you stay on message, you’re being a bore. It’s very hard to wean yourself. You stay on message then congratulate yourself for staying on message. Then what you do is alienate readers.
Amy Joyce of Washington post seems to imply that unless company bloggers disclose something that they should not, the blogs are not worth the read.
Although corporate blogging gives many readers what they want from a company—an avenue to listen to and talk to decision makers—it also loses that edgy, voyeuristic feel of personal blogs about bad bosses, annoying roommates and flings. As much as personal bloggers blithely ignore the conventional boundaries of etiquette, corporate bloggers edit themselves to avoid disclosing a company secret or representing an organization in a way not intended by the marketing department.
Well, if the only way for company blogs to attract readership is to titillate them into visiting the blog, business blogging does not have much future. Fortunately, this is totally unnecessary as the reason why people read a blog is that they get something out of it. And it isn’t necessarily the same thing you get out of reading tabloids. Personal does not mean, indiscreet or under the company radar. It certainly is not necessary for Tinbasher or La Fraise… or indeed for Scoble.
Company in trouble? Chief executive in the middle of some scandal? Don’t expect anyone to be emoting about it on a corporate blog. No mention on Lutz’s blog, for instance, that GM’s stock fell to its lowest level in more than a decade this week. The day Boeing’s board announced its chief executive had resigned after an investigation uncovered that he had an affair with a female employee, Baseler wrote about competition from Airbus SAS.
Actually, I would expect an executive with a blog to emote or at least address anything that is happening to his company and is already public, positive or negative. That is the whole point of a blog - a medium for those who have something to say and are willing to do so in a genuine conversation. Then it works just fine.