Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang has devised a "health check" to establish whether your corporate blog has the right stuff – the only problem being that you don’t have a corporate blog. Probably. No, almost certainly.
Owyang’s checklist is worth reading if you do, however, and it vicariously points out what’s missing from most corporate blogs – that is, trust. But the elephant on the table is the absence of industry leaders prepared to discuss in open forum what’s really going on inside their heads.
The PR folks at Sun Microsystems did a tremendous job in persuading CEO Jonathan Schwartz to start a blog that helped make the firm appear less dot-com relic and more relevant computing company, at least for a while. Schwartz lived up to the promise that Robert Scoble and Shel Israel outlined in their book Naked Conversations – that blogging can bring firms closer to customers, removing the fangs and even (gasp!) humanising the business by providing direct links to the people behind the decisions.
For a while, corporate blogging – or ‘clogging’, as was demanded by the relentless search for neologisms on the web – was du jour and all the rage but it seems to me that its fling was short-lived. The business blogging community now lacks big names and depends on the egotistical and the occasional. The groundswell was just that, and the big names almost never joined in apart from a select, and perhaps self-serving, few from within the tech sector.
I learned this as part of researching a commission for a forthcoming piece about CIO bloggers (and, by the way, there are too few of those also, although enough to make a feature).
It’s not like Twitter or other micro-blah services have replaced the cloggers. It’s just that firms seem to have decided that blogging is not worth the candle when it comes to describing what’s going on in boardroom and executive decision-making salon.
Call me old-media dinosaur but I’m struggling to find useful naked conversations out there when it comes to blue-chip entities. I love blogging for its access to specialist areas but its effect on the visibility of top people at name-brand companies is negligible. I call that a shame but if I’m being unfair and you know blogs that are business-orientated, written by the bylined author and useful, do let me know and I’ll take it all back.