In my various retrospective pieces leading up to my 20th anniversary party of Web Informant, ironically one topic that I didn’t dive into was the evolution of the art form of the blog itself. I guess I take it for granted that blogs are here to stay.
But then a reader reminded me of an article that I wrote nine years ago for Computerworld about the best practices for corporate blogging. And as I reread the piece, I realized that not much has changed in those nine years, at least when it comes to blogging. “Everything you recommended in that piece is still applicable today,” said my former podcasting partner and B2B social media strategist Paul Gillin. “This means you’re either psychic or common sense really is the best guidance.”
Maybe you could chalk it up to my being so prescient, but I don’t want to take all the credit. Doing a great blog really comes down to doing just a few things well: telling a series of great stories, being true to your corporate voices, and delivering great and compelling content that will keep your audience coming back for more.
I spoke to Lionel Menchaca last week when I was in Austin. He was the original blogger for Dell, now no longer with the company, but still writing about business blogging. “Focus on making [your blog post] content useful to anyone who reads it,” he says in a current post. He and I bemoaned how some business bloggers don’t understand these basic tenets, still.
What a great corporate blog is NOT about is “controlling the message” or putting onerous workflow conditions in the way of the publishing process. I have written for many of these types of blogs over the years, and many of them have died because they tried too hard to toe the corporate line and forget these basics. But rather than be depressed by these failures, it shows that there is still lots of life left in blogging, even in 2015.
Sure, a lot has happened in the past decade: social media, Instagram, and Twitter, just to name a few. But blogging is still the heart and center of any business communication strategy, and can help amplify these other tools.
One final piece of advice from Jeremiah Owyang that didn’t make it into my original story: “Don’t accept blog advice from people that are not bloggers.”
So take a moment to review my nine-year old article in Computerworld. It isn’t often that something that I wrote so long is still very much in force today. It is ironic, though, that a technology that has been around for so long is still so relevant.