We see it all the time. Companies touting the most useless or incomprehensible information on their blogs:
We just hired a new developer today. Yay us!
Translation: We have nothing to write about.
From the Dell Channel Blog
Microsoft is scheduled to transition XP to EOL status on June 30th, 2008. The last day to order a system pre-installed with XP from Dell will be today, June 26, 2008, in order to allow for building and assembly of the system and stay in accordance with Microsoft’s licensing policies.
Translation: We were in a hurry to post intelligible information, so we just cut and pasted a paragraph from Microsoft's technical sales documentation.
In fact a recent study published by Forester and written up in the Wall Street Journal suggests that most corporate blogs are abysmal failures, generating no interaction with the customer base they are aimed at engaging:
- Forrester found that most B2B blogs are “dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion."
- Seventy percent stuck to business or technical topics,
- 74% rarely get comments
- 56% simply regurgitated press releases or other already-public new
Our advice, if you want to engage your customers, or potential customers with a blog, give them something of value. Tell them about new developments in your industry, or how product decisions were made, or just be entertaining. Heck if you are afraid of straying to far from center, profile your customers with a case study that explains what folks should do in a similar situation.
Why? The whole purpose of a blog is establish a relationship with the community around you. You want people to walk away with the idea that:
- you care about them
- you are an expert in your field
- you are not trying to cram product down their throat without saying hello first
- you are willing to share (which goes back to caring about the people around you)
- your company is made of real people, not mindless automatons, and has a personality of its own.
I mean seriously, would you ever start a conversation with someone at a bar by saying "I bought toilet paper this morning."?
If you want to check out an excellent corporate blog, take a peak at compete.com. Because they provide me with substance, I check them out daily.