When you hear the expression “all the cool kids are doing it”, do you think of snap bracelets and Vanilla Ice? Maybe even Thundercats and Punky Brewster? (If so, you’ve just been dated, as well as me). But for companies all the “cool” ones have blogs. If this was a party, it would be Apple, GoDaddy, Southwest, and many more, we can even make an exception for Ford Motor Company (think Wooderson from Dazed and Confused). It’s one of the simplest tools each company can use is the blog. This handy little piece of communication allows companies the opportunity to reach customers, industry leaders, employees and the almighty media. It allows sharing your vision of the company, looking for potential feedback, best practices and even can help battle negative perception.
Before you rush into setting up your company blog (slow down there Ricky Bobby), it wouldn’t hurt to do a little research on your competitors blogs (if they are smart enough to have one), maybe pick up a book about blogging from Amazon (or Borders-they need the sales) and even looking at Technorati to see who has the best blogs out there to give yourself something to aim for (besides Sarah Palin). Your blog is only as good as writer(s) though (I grant myself an exception), so you will want to make sure the person (or people) contributing are knowledgeable about your company and the industry. Your CEO is probably the best primary voice of your blog. Take into consideration Southwest Airlines, their CEO Gary Kelly, posted a question on the Southwest Blog about possibly changing the seating arrangements which “die-hard” Southwest customers came to love. This possible change erupted into hundreds of comments ultimately resulting in the company keeping their current seating policy. This was smart, take the idea to the people, the ones who in the end are putting dinner on your employees table and paying for that Ice Rink of a engagement ring (did you go to Jared?) you just bought your future ex-wife.
It’s a medium that allows you to be yourself and candid, share your thoughts and expect feedback. You may not like all of it but if you can’t learn from your customers you’re doomed to fail (I’m looking at you NBC-your time is a ticking). Speaking of NBC, blogs and their viral appeal helped bring back Chuck (I was one of the many –according to the ratings- who never seen it). It was a grassroots movement started by those who embraced the show and fought for it. We live in a time where this is going to happen every day and products that were once gone are back because of the revolution of the devoted followers that took to their blogs and bitched long enough and loud enough for the change to work. So…what do you want to blog about in hopes of bringing back? (And do not say George W. Bush or New Coke).