Mario Sundar

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

To (Business) blog or not to blog; that is NOT the question

Count me surprised when I stumbled upon a post on corporate blogging by Rex (Fimoculous), only to realize later that he’s now taking a break from blogging and has some of his friends guest blog for a while. But, I digress. Guest author ADM refers to an Inc post by Joel Spolsky: “Let’s take this offline“, which is surprisingly – you guessed right – not online! Bah! [Update: the post seems to be live right now]

The blog post focuses on the pros and cons of corporate blogging and most importantly its deficiencies, but unfortunately all I’ve access to are ADM’s post. So, here’s the gist from that source. I quote:

Blogging as a medium seems so personal, and often it is. But when you’re using a blog to promote a business, that blog can’t be about you, Sierra said. It has to be about your readers, who will, it’s hoped, become your customers… So, for example, if you’re selling a clever attachment to a camera that diffuses harsh flash light, don’t talk about the technical features or about your holiday sale (10 percent off!). Make a list of 10 tips for being a better photographer. If you’re opening a restaurant, don’t blog about your menu. Blog about great food. You’ll attract foodies who don’t care about your restaurant yet.

ADM doubts if corporate blogs are necessary these days but does go on to suggest that Joel may have gained a ton from running his blog for the past 10 years. (it seems to me that companies who lack a large customer base and name recognition could gain a lot by blogging the way he did.) True dat.

Of course, my answer to that question (to blog or not to blog) is biased, but I strongly feel that the question’s NOT, “should a company have a blog?”, but rather “how should a company blog?” (in today’s age of social networking). I’ve a couple more posts brewing on this topic. Plus, I’m currently working on making LinkedIn’s very own corporate blog better for our readers. So, I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what makes a corporate blog great? And, what makes it SUCK!? Comment away.

And, in the meanwhile, if you guys can ferret out that Inc post by Joel, please let me know.

Filed under: Business Blogging

6 Responses

  1. Ric says:

    What is absolutely HILARIOUS to me is Joel has such a succinct and cogent understanding of what made his business successful. So much so that this brilliant article is the result and he turns around and cant think outside the box enough to generate a new channel for his valued insight and marketable commentary.

    It utterly amazes me how entrepreneurs and out of the box thinkers get stuck back in a box when their business gets to a certain size or success level. Then, they become, automatons like everyone else. You should be ashamed Joel! If you dont sell out on what works, you just make it happen. I like to think of something I heard once from an innovator. “Why doesnt everyone do this? Because its Hard.” Perhaps its time to take it easy huh Joel. Thanks for the example of what not to do! 🙂

    Like

  2. my take says:

    First and foremost, a startup needs a good product. No amount of blogging is going to attract customers if your product sucks.

    If a startup needs to decide between spending time and money refining or innovating their product or service or blogging, ditch the blog and keep making the product better. Case in point: Smugmug and Zynga. Their products rock. They are constantly innovating. Their blogs are terrible.

    When a startup transitions to a mid sized company, a blog should become a replacement for press releases.

    Like

  3. growmygarden says:

    I blog for our business. It takes a lot of time and commitment but it has certainly created business for us and increased traffic to all of our websites.

    I see a lot of people start blogs but, a year later, very few are still at it.

    For us, it is important and I plan to continue.

    http://www.KarensPersepctive.com

    Like

  4. Mario Sundar says:

    @Ric,

    Once you grow to a certain size you figure your corporate blog should have a purpose – meaning, is it a product blog, or a customer service blog, etc.

    I guess when you’re dealing with an increase in demand and have only a finite # of hours, you’ve to decide what to cut down on?

    I bet it’s a tough choice he made.

    Like

  5. Mario Sundar says:

    @my take (it’d be good to leave a comment with your name, btw 🙂

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I’d actually be a tad concerned should CEOs start blogging (and have said so many times in the past about Sun CEO blogging)

    Agreed, on the 2nd count as well. A blog is definitely a great alternative and IMO (the wave of the future) as far as press releases are concerned.

    Like

  6. Mario Sundar says:

    @Karen, thanks for your perspective,

    Couldn’t agree more. SEO benefits of your blog are definitely noteworthy, but in today’s social world you’ve got to understand how best to optimize your blog with a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook (for e.g.)

    Thanks to all for your comments. Keep em coming.

    Like

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