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IDC Direction 08 Panel: What to do about corporate blogs

I was at the IDC Direction 08 panel yesterday to hear what four "prominent" bloggers have to say about the blog-o-sphere.

The four bloggers on the panel saw Kenny Sia of www.kennysia.com, Daryl Tay of Unique Frequency, Victor Issac Cheung of Hong Kong Phooey and eM of thecompulsiveconfessor.

The question that interest me the most was that about corporate blogging and whether it can be cool.

Daryl responded that corporate blogs paid too much emphasis on the message and control. Readers, who wants to read these corporate blogs, want to know the human side of the company.
Kenny Sia gave examples of a cool blog and an uncool blog.

The cool blog belonged to Google whereas the uncool blog belonged to Microsoft.

He found the Microsoft blog like an another online advertisement but he was able to identify with the people on the Google blog.

"Corporate blog is cool if only the company is cool," said Kenny.

I personally don't blame corporates on wanting to control the message.

Corporations have been communicating to their Public without the use of these new web2.0 medium for many years.

Over the past three years, it has dawn to them that the Internet is an effective way to communicate to their Publics.

Blog engines have shifted that paradigm further to let corporate communication better with their Publics.

The problem here is that they are so used to their media1.0 behaviour that it is hard for them to be convinced that a new behaviour is needed and this will bring them benefits.

You put media1.0 behaviour of control into the web2.0 cyberworld of freedom and you get uninterested readers.

So how can corporate put controls on the blogs and yet be opened to their targeted readers?

The solution is to come up with an editorial direction for the blog that focuses on the issue rather than the product or the brand.

You can't go wrong with positioning the designated blogger as a thought leader in that particular issue. By taking this thought leadership approach, you invite debate and debate is a conversation that most blogs look to achieve.

By talking about the issues, you also move away from the self-promotion aspect of starting a blog.

Most PR would go to medium because it has been taught that a message communicated by a third party is more credible than the company doing it themselves.

If a company were to do their own self-promotion, that's call advertising.

Start a blog with the a goal about discussing the issues surrounding the brand or the product.

The trick here is to talk about every thing but the brand or product.

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