Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

5 Best Practices on Corporate Blogging – Tried & Tested

So, it’s been a year since we started the LinkedIn blog! To commemorate the occasion I actually just posted the Top 10 blog posts, Top 10 videos and Top 10 photos we published this past year. In addition to it being quite an essential tool in helping us educate as well as engage with users, it did teach us a few lessons on best practices on business blogging.


That’s Kay and I. Kay runs corp. communications at LinkedIn.

Given below are 5 tips on business blogging (via Planet Domain Blog) and I used that as a launchpad to outline some of the corporate blogging practices we’ve followed at LinkedIn.

1. Plan ahead and post regularly

So, when you start a blog it’s all about topics you’re passionate about but for a corporate blog, the best way to get some traction is to chart out a calendar schedule asap and adhere to it. When we started the blog we had roughly 3 posts a week and when there were no product releases (maybe 2), but then the frequency has considerably ramped up since then bringing our average posts/week to 4.

Total # of posts: 170

Average posts/week: 4

2. Be original and fresh

One of the best sources of content for a corporate blog (as hard as it may seem) is the cool stuff that’s happening internally in a company that the external world is not privy to. There are two broad streams of content that’ll make any corporate blog unique.

* Breaking News on product announcements

* Internal workings of your company (photos, videos, etc…)

My favorite original content on the blog is this blooper reel I shot w/ Elliot (Hilarious!)

3. Personality counts

And, for a corporate blog – personalities count. In LinkedIn’s case, thus far 40 personalities (my colleagues) count themselves as contributors to the blog. From the management team to a broad slew of product managers, engineers and designers. Make sure everyone is counted and continue courting different groups within your company to be a part of the blog. The blog is NOT about a single individual, but rather everyone who makes up the company.

Did you know: 18% of our workforce have contributed to the LinkedIn Blog

4. Social media means “social”

To comment or not to. Believe it or not, that was one of the first questions we had to wrestle with, although the answer was an overwhelming “Yes”. But if you’re debating within your organization whether to activate comments for a blog, think about this – it’s NOT a blog if you don’t foster two-way communication. If you don’t allow comments (as many corporate blogs do these days) reduces a blog’s value to being a press release machine! And, don’t forget to make sure that all the feedback provided on your blog is re-routed to the right product/design/engineering teams to enable that infinite feedback loop.

Total # of comments received: 1500

Average comments/post: 9

Maximum comments received for any post: 82

5. Write well, or find someone you can

Well, hire a blogger (like Kay did when she brought me into LinkedIn) or find someone within the company who has the necessary traits (if you don’t, the users will find their blogger as was the case with Scoble when he was at Microsoft). More importantly, I think being a blogger is an essential prerequisite to be a community manager (check out Chris Brogan’s recent post on finding the right community manager).

These are just a few. Feel free to leave a comment on other best practices on corporate blogging.

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Filed under: Business Blogging

14 Responses

  1. chrisbrogan says:

    This is some great stuff, Mario, and thanks for the link. I love that you approach it with a lot of the “be human” aspects of corporate blogging. Strategy comes second to ensuring that people understand this is all about being a human. Great pointers, and I’m appreciative of your work with LinkedIn. They’re lucky to have you.

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  2. Mario Sundar says:

    @chris,

    Great post on community managers. A starting point for anyone involved with community. And, of course, thanks for the kind words.

    I know you were in the Bay Area last week. Too bad, we couldn’t meet up. Maybe, next time? 🙂

    Like

  3. […] Here are the 5 best practices: […]

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  4. Jeff Nolan says:

    With all due respect to you Chris and Mario, the “get human” angle get a lot of play but it’s a consequence of doing marketing by doing anti-marketing. I’ve been doing this a long time, going back to my work at SAP and I can tell you emphatically that the one thing that matters more than anything else is that your target market identify with you as a person in front of the brand, as opposed to a surrogate for the brand. While this may be construed as “get human” it is not entirely that, it’s more about trust.

    As a corporate blogger you have to be very deliberate about what you will write about critically and what you will not. In large companies this is more true than anywhere else, pick your battles carefully because credibility as a consequence of speaking truthfully can come at the price of losing political support internally. Having said that, if the only thing you are doing is promoting what your company is doing, or attempting to achieve thought leadership, your audience will intuitively sense it and discount you.

    Mario, the 5 things you write about above are all very sound tactics but they don’t get to the heart of the strategic direction a company takes when they go down this path, and that’s why a lot of company blogs suck, because they are simply marketing exercises with a new coat of paint.

    Chris, you say get human comes first, strategy second. I say a strategy for engaging the marketplace in a fundamentally different way comes first, get human is an element of that.

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  5. tim says:

    Mario:
    Thanks for the useful steps in a nutshell. It may seem rudimentary, but there is a lot of power in step, especially for the newbie. It does make sense, once it all sinks in.

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  6. Mario Sundar says:

    @Jeff,

    As the title mentions it, these are but five tactics/best practices to run a business blog. Strategy will be dictated by a company’s larger goals, marketing and otherwise, while social media itself is but a tool to achieve those goals.

    “Get Human” on the other hand is a radically different way by which companies relate or should relate to their users. The good news is that in the process of reaching out to users via social media, goals should also be met. For e.g. one of the fundamental areas I advocate to anyone contemplating corporate blogs is the ROI (http://tinyurl.com/2xxlny), which can be measured far better than traditional PR/marketing.

    Thanks for your $0.02. I added you on twitter. Feel free to do likewise.

    Like

  7. Mario Sundar says:

    @tim,

    …hence the blog post. I know there are many startups and companies starting a blog, who are clueless what to expect and what are the first steps.

    First thing, I’d advise them is – think twice whether you really need a blog. If you’re sure you do, follow these steps.

    Glad it helped.

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  8. chrisbrogan says:

    @Jeff – okay okay, you’re right. Human has to be part of the strategy. Very interesting point about burning internal bridges. When I often site Robert Scoble crapping on IE as what endeared me to him while he was blogging at Microsoft, I never considered (much) what that did to his internal stock. How did other groups close off? What did he lose as part of that transaction? (Robert? Listening?)

    But it’s interesting to see that perspective, Jeff. You’re right that it’s not all fun and kumbaya.

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  9. Tracy says:

    Mario, great insights and tips regarding corporate blogging. What I have noticed in much of what’s been said about corporate blogging is that one needs to be authentic. This is a difficult one for companies that are rigid and strategic. The human element means that flaws will be present but I think that as a CEO, you need to be willing to be open, allowing the communication to take place naturally.

    Jeff – is it not a double-edged sword? You mentioned that companies need to be deliberate and strategic (which I completely agree with) but on the other hand to be authentic means that we must be open to constantly changing communications. Although we would like to, we do not have an answer for every possible response. Wouldn’t that make us “non-human”?

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  10. […] learned so the next batch of corporate bloggers (wherever they are) can read and learn. Recently, I posted the 5 lessons learned in corporate blogging upon the 1 year anniversary of LinkedIn’s corporate blog and so I was […]

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  11. […] learned in corporate blogging from LinkedIn’s corporate blogger, who also links to a post by a blogger at EMC Corp. about their lessons […]

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  12. […] 5 Best Practices on Corporate Blogging (April […]

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  13. […] learned in corporate blogging from LinkedIn’s corporate blogger, who also links to a post by a blogger at EMC Corp. about their lessons […]

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  14. Mike Cormack says:

    Great post, thanks. I’m just trying to make sense of it all for our own corporate blog, so it’s nice to get some ideas on it!

    Like

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