Sunday, February 26, 2006

Corporate Blogs: The Art Of Storytelling

It's really not that complicated.

Just about everyone on the planet reads things that interest them, or that pique their interest. In the world of blogs, it's the same. So the first and foremost job of the business blog writer is to tell an interesting story. But it's my contention that few people can do that well. Blog writers need to be great storytellers. For instance:

"Marketers" generally don't make good bloggers because they only write about things that research says their market is interested in. Anything outside of that is extraneous. "Marketing" blogs are generally just a recitation of "appropriate" facts.

"Advertisers" generally make the worst bloggers because you and everyone else know they're trying to sell you something. They talk about "features and benefits", and try to build a complex smokescreen to hide the fact that what you're reading is a sales pitch. "Advertising" blogs are the easiest to flag as insincere. And that's death in the blogosphere.

"Lawyers"...well, without making this sound too much like a lawyer joke, let's just say that a blog written by a lawyer would be heavy on content, but essentially not say a thing. Lawyers are risk-adverse, so honest, open communication with company stakeholders would be impossible. Carefully crafted entries designed to eliminate liability would be the mainstay. The blogosphere would ridicule it into submission.

"Competitive" blogs simply designed to mirror competitors efforts will be seen in short order to be insincere. There will not be the necessary corporate "will" to see the blog through any challenging times. It will most likely be "ignored" to death.

"Short-sighted" blogs are usually focused around the bottom line. Management will get behind it with sometimes amazing enthusiasm. Money, personnel and technology will be plentiful. The initial send-off will be breathtaking. But, in no time, meetings and memos will become more terse and threatening. "Where is our ROI?" "I thought you said we'd have x times more website traffic?" "Why aren't our on-line sales increasing?" It's kind of like the lottery mentality. Management thought they'd capture lightning in a bottle, and when it ends up being work just like everything else, the blush will come off in a hurry.

Obviously this is just an overview based on my experience and the experiences of others, but it's also based on what many of us are already observing in the blogosphere. There is much more, but as an overview, this is a good "satellite view" of things. Your experience may vary (Lawyer blog disclaimer?).

Just tell your story well. And be in it for the long haul.

Let's talk about this more. ghostblogging@veritymedia.com.

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