Mario Sundar

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

Is Posterous ready for Corporate Blogging?

There were a couple of blog posts earlier today on Posterous now making it easier for management of group blogs. This is a welcome development for multiple author business blogs (like Tweetdeck’s for e.g.) on Posterous. But, before I go any further. For those of you wondering what Posterous is, here’s a starting point:

What is Posterous? Those of you wondering what Posterous is, here goes: “Posterous is the dead simple place to post everything. Just email us.”

Mashable writes that Posterous has now made it easier than ever for companies to adopt Posterous as purveyor of their social media goodness across the web. Given the past few years of research and practice (as blog editor for LinkedIn), I thought I’ll put Posterous to the test. Let’s figure out if the platform is ready for corporate blogging primetime.

As I’ve suggested in an earlier post of mine, corporate blogging has evolved from its ancestor – the static corporate website, to a far more complex, living, breathing social media portal these days. Take the Top 10 corporate blogs today, you’ll see that nearly half of them have a social media presence that extends far beyond a blog. Even the more traditional, larger Fortune 500 companies are testing the waters, with nearly 30% of them even having a Twitter account.

Eighty-one Fortune 500 companies sponsor public blogs, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Chevron Corp. and General Motors Corp., according to the Society for New Communications Research. Of those blogs, 23 link to corporate Twitter accounts.

To recap: in an effort to reach out and engage with their users, businesses now publish a slew of multimedia content – faster than ever. These include images (flickr, picasa, etc.), video (youtube, vimeo, etc.), microblogging (twitter, friendfeed, etc.), social networks (linkedin, facebook, etc.) that constitute the different sides of a company’s social media presence these days. Enter Posterous.

Five criteria to compare blogging platforms for a business blog

Posterous aims to mitigate the pain of managing these disparate multimedia streams of corporate content and as someone who has a personal Posterous account, I can attest to the fact that they do keep it real simple, so that anyone with an email address could get a blog up and running. Moving  forward, it looks like they’d like to extends that ease of usage to business brands who increasingly have a presence on social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and / or Facebook.

While managing LinkedIn’s corporate blog, I’ve stumbled upon certain basic functionality a business blog must possess. Why don’t we run this checklist through Posterous’ capabilities today:

1. Multiple authors / Review system:

The primary challenge of any corporate blog is the need for a simple system that will allow any or all of the company’s employees to blog and the ability for a blog editor to review that post. The review process is doubly important for many reasons, chief among which is that companies have to be doubly careful about publishing content, especially in today’s world of SEC regulations.

With today’s announcement, Posterous allows company brands to associate their official twitter account (twitter.com/companyname) to a company blog hosted on posterous (blog.companyname.com). So, if you’ve 3 contributors to your company blog, all three can post to the company’s posterous blog via email. This will then be automatically published to your Twitter company pages (for e.g.) if you’d like to. Not sure if it allows auto-population of your company’s Facebook page though. Leave a comment if you know the answer to that.

Multiple Authors posting to company group blog / twitter / facebook accounts: YES
Reviewing posts: NO

2. Ease of programmed publishing (Scheduled Posts, URLs, Scheduled tweets):

One of the most important features for brands using social media is the ability to schedule posts at different times, create custom URLs to enhance SEO and publish tweets from the brand’s twitter account. Currently, I do that using a combination of WordPress (for the blog) and Hootsuite (for Twitter). If your company uses Co-tweet as a customer service management dashboard, you can schedule tweets as well.


Ease of programmed publishing: NO

5. Ease of sharing across different platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook):

This is one of the strengths of Posterous. Its ability to come packaged with auto-publishing capability to a plethora of different multi-media sites is invaluable. Basically, you can hook up your Posterous accounts to your other social media accounts (could be your company’s official Flickr, Youtube, or Twitter account, etc.) to auto-publish to one or all of these platforms at the same time. Posterous also allows you to do the same to your (let’s say WordPress blog), but I did try that for Marketing Nirvana in the past and it sucked.

Ease of sharing: YES

4. Social Commenting Systems:

This would be an extension of the #3. Most blogs today have incorporated the ability for readers to submit comments through one of three ways: Disqus, Facebook or your Twitter id. Posterous is set up so that every blog has this capability. I’d love for them to add LinkedIn as the fourth way to comment on Posterous. Given their recent integration with the LinkedIn API (for status updates), I’m hoping they’ll consider this feature request as well.

Commenting systems: YES

5. Stats

This is the most important dashboard for any corporate blog, since it allows you to monitor the effectiveness of content and craft your blog schedule and content accordingly. Most companies can use a free tool like Google Analytics that lets you drill down into different stats (from visits, pageviews, pages / visit, etc.).

All that Posterous provides are the number of clicks for each post. This may be sufficient for small businesses but the larger companies have the need to integrate social media monitoring into their wider marketing strategy and in that case, this may not be as effective.

Analytics: NO (but provides basic data)

Conclusion. Are they ready?

So, is Posterous ready for corporate blogging? I think the ease of setup and commenting and sharing across multimedia platforms makes Posterous a viable alternative for small businesses and startups getting started on social media, but for larger companies; the need for enhanced analytics and programmed publishing may hinder adoption at this point in time.

That said, I’d guess this is but a first step from Posterous as they continue courting that segment of the market as well. What do you think?

Filed under: Business Blogging

12 Responses

  1. Suhit says:

    Mario:

    Good one. I expect Posterous to make more improvements taking advice from people like you.

    On the analytics, you can connect Posterous blogs to Google Analytics on the settings page.

    Cheers
    Suhit

    Like

  2. Steve says:

    The true drawback of Posterous, I find, is the need to post ‘original’ content on different social media sites in order for SEO to recognise it and take it into account. Posterous does not allow you to do this…..I have to post the same message on all social media networks. The convenience is fab, I’ve even posted from a Spanish tapas bar over a vino or two, but have since limited the networks to which I post 😦

    Like

  3. Bryan says:

    You can add Google Analytics code to your Posterous blog, it is in Manage » Settings » Analytics to set your Google Analytics Domain ID.

    More info:
    http://posterous.com/help/analytics

    Like

  4. Paul Kim says:

    Both WordPress.com (our hosted service) and WordPress.org (self-hosted blogging) have supported Post by Email for some time now – check it out for WordPress.com here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/post-by-email/ and for WordPress.org: http://codex.wordpress.org/Post_to_your_blog_using_email

    Like

  5. Alex says:

    Thank you for the wealth of information provided in this post. I recently engaged in the social media world and have found it somewhat difficult to keep up with the various social media tools. I have been enlighten and will definitely look into Posterous. Thanks again!

    Like

  6. I’ve looked into integrating Posterous into our blogging as not the main blogging component but just an easier way for our corporate staff to contribute more and easier. Playing around with it still right now but I like what it offers! The integration between social media sites is really cool

    Like

  7. Dara Bell says:

    Right they are based in San Francisco like you, I used it periodically finding it is good for subcribtions, though it really is just a light blogging platform. The other comments are uselful, from Steve,it is easy to operate.

    WordPress still hard to beat for commenting and engagement.

    Like

  8. Sukanya says:

    Thank you very much for your article. I thinks it ok.

    Like

  9. 1-Year Posterous User says:

    Posterous could be great but there are several serious problems that are still ongoing. I understand they are still fairly new (what, 3 years now?), so maybe they will eventually get their act together, but it definitely is still not a good heavy-weight platform…

    1. Because their blogs are “email specific” rather than “blog name specific” (as most other blog platforms are), if you have several blogs & you add all your email addys to all of your blogs (so you can email to any of your blogs from any of your email addys), their system cannot handle it but will send your emails criss-crossing all over the place to all the wrong blogs. Total disaster. I wasted the last quarter of 2009 trying to make it work & it just wouldn’t. I finally deleted all email addys from all blogs & only re-entered a few separate emails for each blogs (which means I have to go “approve” posts from certain addys first before they will post. A real pain). As far as I am concerned, they built Posterous wrong from the ground up. The foundation is wrong. Blogs should be blog-site specific vs. email specific.

    2. If you are a serious email-blogger (vs. web posting), the major flaws still ongoing are:
    a. You can only send originally-typed content in emails if you want to be 100% sure they show up.
    b. You cannot include in your emails any copied/cut/pasted snips or quotes or paragraphs, etc. that you copied from:
    b1. Word docs,
    b2. Notes apps,
    b3. Websites, articles, etc.
    b4. “Forwarded” emails, newsletters, etc.
    b5. Arrows in your email,
    b6. Brackets around quoted text, etc.
    If you include any of the above in your email, you may end up with a headline-only post with all body content missing, or with big chunks missing, etc.

    Posterous’ official answer to this problem is to only type original text in your email! Sorry, but that doesn’t work for the type of blogging/sharing that I do. :-/

    The problem has grown worse since Spring of 2010. Emails with assorted external content copied/pasted into emails previously posted correctly. I do not know what changed but I’ve got dozens of aborted disaster headline-only posts across my several blogs over the past few months. Very frustrating.

    Their explanation is that their system cannot as yet handle:
    1. Differences in Formatting;
    2. Text Conversions.

    Yet strangely enough, the antiquated Yahoogroups (which I have used since 2001 for email groups), has no problem posting copies of the very same emails that I also send to Posterous blogs. Yahoogroups has no problems with “Differences in Formatting” nor “Text Conversions” with whatever you include in your emails. So why does the “newer, better, modern” Posterous have such a problem?

    What does Posterous need to be able to handle any type of emailed content? (Not being a techie, I have no idea.) Whatever it is, I hope they get it soon. I have put a year’s worth of effort into email-blogging there & it seems to get worse, not better.

    Bottom Line: It depends on your style (email blogger? Or website blogger?) & what the content of your emails will be (originally typed content only? Or external content included?) & whether you want one blog or several with the same email addys registered with all blogs, etc.

    Like

  10. We have been looking into implement Posterous. I rally think it will be much easier for people to contribute into the blogs. I really like how it is connects with social media.

    Like

  11. I am a recent user on Posterous. I used both WordPress and Posterous so far. I see WordPress.org being limited in many capabilities a hosted WordPress site could have. Regarding Posterous, I am excited about the ease of use and elegance, but disappointed about not having the ability to connect my blog with LinkedIn profile. I am not talking about posting a blog on LinkedIn as my status message. I believe it is already there. It would be great to have the capability to connect to a posteorus blog with a LinkedIn profile.

    Like

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