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Editorial Guide To Corporate Blogging

Social PR or marketing seems to be picking up in the second half of 2009. Maybe by 2010, it will be part of the overall marketing strategy.

Whatever the possibility, I would dare say that corporate blogs has to be the the anchor for any social PR or marketing strategy.

But why do most corporate blogs start off with a big bang, only to crash and burn a few months later?

It is probably due to the lack of direction and planning.

Also, most PR and corporate comms teams also lack the publishing experience. Keeping a magazine or newspaper running a long period of time isn’t as easy as most would think.

At a MNC that delivers networking products and solutions, I started a print newsletter targeted at the channel partners then.

A print newsletter costs more than a blog to start, but I gave it an editorial calendar which informed the other product, sales and marketing department how they too can play a part in the newsletter.

The first step is to have a theme for each issue and highlight them in the editorial calendar.

For example, for the first quarter, the first theme was on the Channel Rewards program that I headed.

With that as the theme, I looked at how the other departments could be part of the inaugural newsletter but had to link back to the Rewards program.

What is a newsletter without ads? As this was a corporate newsletter, I used the concept of ads to include content not related to the Rewards program. This allowed more departments to be part of the newsletter.

The first issue was so well received that there were demands for it be translated into Simplified Chinese and Korean. Mind you, print isn’t that cheap.

There second issue looked at the theme of Security. Using the same content/ad concept, I was able to sneak in the Rewards program an ad, while focusing on security related issues throughout the newsletter.

While other marketing programs saw budget cuts, this newsletter proved to be very popular with the channel managers and their channel partners. The budget for this newsletter continued with no cuts.

The same approach can be used for a corporate blog.

Create an editorial calendar that matches that of your marketing/sales plan, rather than look at blogging at an ad hoc activity.

However, if you can’t be sure of the direction you should take for the corporate blog, I recommend using the "three rules of epidemics" as described in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

I recommend that you look at using a combination of these three rules instead of a standalone.

The Mavens – Malcolm described Mavens as “information specialists”.  You could be the information specialist, or the blog could be made up of several information specialists.

As a information specialist, you “accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others”.

Wouldn’t the blog be the best medium for you to accumulate knowledge and share it with others?

Salesmen – Am I suggesting that you sell your products or solutions on your blog? Not really.

Malcolm positioned Salesmen as the ultimate influencer and you could position your blog to influence existing and future customers towards using your solutions.

An example is to put up corporate video case studies from your customers. What else can be more powerful than having your customers talking about you in a video?

You could also blog about analysts’ comments about your position, quoting and linking them as you go along.

Connectors – If, for some reason, feel that you are an ineffective maven or salesmen for your blog, why not connect Mavens and Salesmen with your audience via the corporate blog?

Take on the role of a journalist and look around your office for Mavens and Salesmen. Interview them and create content from these interviews.

Or you could go beyond your office and search your industry for these Mavens and Salesmen.

Once you have a blog as an anchor, this is where your other social media tools come in.

Whether it is Twitter or Facebook fanpage, use them as a distribution channel to the blog and an interaction tool with your followers.

Remember, social media isn’t just about the media, it is about being social!

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