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Corporate Blogging Strategy



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  • was hoped to be achieved by the corporate websites in the 1990s.The quickly became boring advertising billboardsDifficult to manage thousands of responsesConcerns remained that anonymous posts would effect company
  • This includes executives, and high-ranking executives.


  • 1. Corporate Blogging Strategy of the Fortune 500 companiesSang Lee, TaewonHwang and Hong-Hee Lee,Department of Management, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Jessica Roberts | @thefullreport | COM 597 Summer 09 | 7.14.09
  • 2. The Research
    How Fortune 500 Companies “maintain control” of blogs while also giving employees support to begin dialogue
    ChoseBlogs from2005 Fortune 500 Firms
    • Blogs chosen from Corporate Blog List & CEO Blogs List as well as key word search on Google
    • 3. 18 Companies -- 3.6% of firms who blog
    • 4. 50 blogs were reviewed
  • Why Blogs Emerged on the Scene
    Corporate Websites failed to be open line of communication & transparency
    Blogs emerged as another attempt at speaking with customers, promotion and thought leadership, to increase corporate transparency
    • “Net-geners”, a tech-savvy generation, flooded the workforce & were seen as assets to firms
  • Why Blogs?
    As websites showed their limitations, blogs emerged as another attempt at speaking with customers, promotion and thought leadership
    “Net-geners”, a tech-savvy generation flooded the workforce & were seen as assets to firms
    Also, “demanded independence” and sought “meaning and community in workplace
    This merged with self-management theories
  • 5. The “Wild West” -- Benefits
    As “citizens” of an organization, they could also be used as brand ambassadors
    Celebrity bloggers emerged, as Robert Scoble
    Online evangelists and critics
    Can promote products, criticize and explain from an insider’s perspective
  • 6. The “Wild West” -- Downside
    Disagreements about appropriate content
    Employees crossed internal lines & were fired
    Microsoft employee who discussed Apple G5
    Delta employee wearing uniform in racy pictures
    Google employee who blogged about low pay
  • 7. Control vs. Autonomy
    Striking a balance between control and autonomy
    “Shed light on how organizations are addressing the issues of control while supporting autonomy”
    Developed five corporate blogging strategies in terms of control mechanisms and categorize corporate blogs launched by Fortune 500
    Analyzed content of each blog
  • 8. Five Types Blogging Strategies
    Employee Blog Maintained by one ‘rank-and-file’ employee
    Executive C-suite author
    Individual Select group from across company
    Group Blog Experts in a field, technical focus
    Promotion Buzz generator
    Newsletter Company messages in a formal tone
  • 9. Trends that emerged
    • Bottom-up
    • 10. Employee written, initially hosted on outside site, some on internal servers
    • 11. Tend to focus on product development & customer service
    • 12. Top-down
    Assign or allow a small number of employees to blog inside the company-owned domain
    Provide a directory page that contains links to those bloggers on third-party sites; or
    Have corporate blogs other than employee blogs
    Tend to focus on thought leadership & promotional content
  • 13. Bottom-Up (Company Wide)
    Bottom-up strategy formally allows employees to blog individually or on their site
    Pattern and extent of use
    Company has blog sites and several types of blogs
    Develop customer service, thought leadership
  • 14. Pros &Cons Bottom-up (Company Wide)
    More effective & timely means of customer service and product development
    Provides a ‘human side’ to large companies (ex. Robert Scoble)
    Platform to create outside relationships
    Can place blogger and company in a vulnerable situations (proprietary information, internal gossip)
  • 15. Top-Down I (Top Management)
    Primary Blogger is C-suite executive
    Company does not host employee blog but has several of its own internal blogs, which use conversational tone , but written by high-level executives
    Uses blog for thought leadership and communication with stakeholders
  • 16. Pros & ConsTop-Down (Top Management)
    Can bring a great deal of media attention
    Speak directly to audience without media
    Help squelch rumors directly and quickly
    Executives must be cautious about content
    Difficult to be as transparent as audience demands
    Posts must be timely and follow online etiquette to be taken seriously
  • 17. Top-Down II (Individual)
    Select department heads blog
    Company hosts several internal blogs, each written by a single author
    Thought leadership is primary goal
  • 18. Pros & ConsTop-Down II (Individual)
    Thoughtful essays on the company and products
    Content is not as relevant because it isn’t considered “insider” info – Not “in the trenches” or “from the top”
    Fewer act as online evangelists
    Dialogue is minimal
    Low readership
  • 19. Top-Down III (Group)
    Selected group of employees from all areas and levels
    Company operates one type of blog, but numerous experts serve as authors
    One area of expertise
    Can provide quality content
  • 20. Pros & Cons Top-Down III (Group)
    Content is seen as valuable because it comes from the company’s most innovative opinion leaders
    Reduces risks associated with personal blogs
  • 21. Top-Down IV (Promotional)
    Primary blogger isn’t known and lacks original, human voice
    Company operates one type of blog
    Complaint that there no authentic voice because purpose is only promotion or customer feedback,
  • 22. Pros & ConsTop-DownIV (Promotional)
    When done well, can create an original community around a new product
    Nike focused “Art of Speed” took a new approach and showcased short films on the theme of speed
    Typically, content is lacking
    Blogs aren’t always actively maintained
  • 23. Current Corporate Blogging Practices
    Top-Down is more popular form of blogging
    High levels of control over corporate blogs
    The risk of employee blogs as advocates out-weights the benefits
    Have created guidelines for outside blogs
    “If your blog is self-hosted, use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and don ‘t represent the official views of IBM (IBM’s Employee Blogging Guidelines)
    Creation of intranet to keep comments internal
    Rely on other bloggers and community watchers
  • 24. Conclusions
    No matter who is blogging, a human voice sharing authentic, useful content is required to engage an audience