"Since blogs became the next big thing, an increasing number of companies have come to see them as the next great public relations vehicle -- a way for executives to demonstrate their casual, interactive side. But, of course, the executives do nothing of the sort. Their attempts at hip, guerrilla-style blogging are often pained -- and painful."
"Over the past year or two, a new kind of web-log has emerged: the employee blog. Maintained on company servers and open to the public, these blogs are used by many high-tech workers for debate, free association, and collecting input about projects."
"It's hard not to admire a corporate blog that can spark that kind of passion. Fast Lane works because GM has found the right public voice. Lutz is an auto-industry rock star who, over a 42-year career, has held senior executive positions with GM, Ford, and Chrysler. The man can talk the talk because he's a real car guy, not a bean counter from GM's all-powerful finance department, where it grooms top execs."
"Small business owners can use the same inexpensive, low-maintenance technology to market their companies — with no HTML coding required. By creating a blog, you can boost buzz for your brand in ways advertising can't, and do it for as little as $15 a month."
"How five executives got blog religion and are using it to their professional and personal advantage." Profiled in the article: Phil Windley (former CIO of Utah), Michael Pusateri (VP of engineering, Disney ABC Cable Networks Group), Grady Booch (chief scientist, IBM Rational), Michael Hyatt (president and CEO, Thomas Nelson Inc.), and Alan Meckler (CEO, Jupitermedia Corp.).
Anil Dash, vice president of the professional network at Six Apart, estimates that his company's business blogs have grown by as much as 500 percent in the past 18 months. "It goes all the way from the Fortune 500 companies that are doing their first real approachable conversations this way, all the way to small companies that are legitimizing themselves by being able to talk about what they are doing," Dash said.
"Before we talk about corporate weblogs, we first need to understand how the internet has changed, and why blogs will be important in the near term for companies relationships with their customers. To do that I'll explain my Internet Bias theory, and why we're in the third wave of the internet."
"One-to-one marketing is a false trail for marketing. It is, in fact, built on a base of lies, and the consumer knows it. Therefore, it cannot work (explanation for this claim in a minute). Blogging, on the other hand, is one-to-many. It uses the blog as a lever, an amplifier, enabling one voice to reach many, yet in a personal manner. Done well, blogs create credibility, trust. One-to-one marketing is never personal, and it never creates trust."
"Rex Hammock had become one of a growing list of CEOs? to discover the strange and persuasive power of the weblog. When blogs first started appearing, they were largely the domain of tech-savvy diarists [...] Today, they are slowly being joined by a much smarter set of corporate "bloggers" - CEOs?, consultants, venture capitalists, analysts, other senior executives - many of whom, like Mr Hammock, discovered the power of blogging almost by accident."
The question by some is, "Do companies need a full-blown marketing or PR department when the employees themselves and the conversations they have on these blogs are getting the corporate info out more effectively?"
With readers flocking to their Web postings, execs are finding blogs useful for plugging not just their products but their points of view. Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer of server maker Sun Microsystems (SUNW ): a blog is a must-have tool for every executive. "It'll be no more mandatory that they have blogs than that they have a phone and an e-mail account," Schwartz says. "If they don't, they're going to look foolish."
"The Wall Street Journal Online is promoting one story per day outside its subscription wall to bloggers. NYTimes?.com is boosting the number of RSS feeds it offers. Media companies are starting to work with -- instead of against -- the blogosphere."
Andy Lark, Sun's vice president of marketing: ďDonít try to fight the blogs. Unleash them. Give employees the printing press. Itís going to be much easier to manage if itís your press. Organisations with septic cultures are going to have a real hard time not changing. Employees will lay them bare.Ē
The President of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz, does it. Nike too. Microsoft’s Bill Gates is thinking about it. And they are in good company – corporate blogging is growing as a tool for corporate communications. Blogging, a geek thing just a few years ago, has become a serious alternative for organisations that wants to strengthen both external and internal relationships.
The blogs you're going to see from within most traditional companies will be either uninformative snoozes or desperate attempts at butt-covering and -kissing. Not because people don't have great stories to tell -- but because telling the truth has too high a cost.
Blogs are exciting many people in the business world, including many PR practitioners. In PR and b2b circles, blogs are a combination of many things: a kind of online networking cocktail reception where everyone seems to have a copy of the article they were referencing handy in their purse or briefcase, an easier and less-intrusive form of boosterism, and, as many will claim, an opportunity to further public discourse on the industry.
Another new phenomenon that connects into this is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS.
In an effort to improve its communications with the outside world, Sun has now set up a blogging system that lets any employee create a blog on the Sun.com site. More than just a bold experiment in vanity publishing, Sun sees its Blogs.sun.com Web site as a possible model for a new type of grassroots corporate communication, according to Tim Bray, one of the creators of XML who was hired by Sun earlier this year and has been driving its blogging effort.
This white paper looks at the rise of the weblog phenomenon and examines its potential effect on business, and how businesses can harness this realignment of technology and communication. Weblogs will give rise to a new ?generation? of authorities by making it easy to share meaningful information and content as needed, and at the fast-paced and often irregular speed of business.
Instituted properly, the potential business and workforce benefits of blogs can be significant. Innovative decision makers and early adopters will avoid the mistakes of the past (underestimating the impact of the Web) by allocating discretionary funding in 2004 for blog pilots as part of an iterative effort to construct a broader business case for social computing.
(Blog's) emphasis on authenticity, and personal engagement with the audience, leads many blogging experts to be deeply sceptical about the prospects for blogging in the corporate world. Weblogs are personal, passionate and opinionated - all attributes rarely found in corporate communications.
New strategies, mostly aimed at building trust, must be put in place. But don't fake it, spin or fib. In the transparent society, you've really got to be as good as you say you are, because it's getting harder and harder to control the fallout when conflicts with your story arise.
It is important to understand that the purpose of a blog is not always to get the largest and widest readership possible. The purpose is usually to communicate with interested individuals. Even in business, the number of those individuals may be very few, but the impact of the communications can have economic impact far beyond its cost.
Basic K-Log info, John Robb, Knowledge Management Weblogs Yahoo! Group, February 18, 2002
Viral marketing is not going to save mediocre businesses from extinction. It is the scourge of the stupid and the slow, because it only rewards companies that offer great service and have the strength to allow and even encourage their customers to publicly pass judgment on that service every single day.