Don’t just jump on the bandwagon â€“ do it right, businesses
I’ve written in this column previously about businesses ignoring blogs at their peril, and how if they didn’t respond to bloggers’ sentiments quickly or smartly enough, they might very quickly have themselves a PR disaster. But the tired adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them”, seems to have been dragged out recently. In September, a blogging conference called BlogAsia 2005 (www.blogasia.biz) was held, where representatives from companies learnt why and how corporations had to blog.
Read more at TODAYonline.
Paul Chaney, a member of the Professional Bloggers Association and principal partner of Radiant Marketing Group, a business blog consultancy, warns against using blogs in a traditional marketeer’s manner. He asserts that “blogs that carry only promotional or ad copy will ultimately fail”.
So what should corporate blogs talk about?
Technology giant Microsoft has its employees blogging about Microsoft technologies in an “informal tone”. A look at the blog of its Internet Explorer team (blogs.msdn.com/ie/default.aspx) shows entries about the development of the web browsing software, the hitches involved, and the steps taken to rectify them.
Aptly named Microsoft Communities, the blog section of its corporate website lets consumers in on the different software divisions, allowing them, if you will, to “own” the software being developed.
For another example of a corporate online community, check out at American organic food producer Stonyfield Farm’s blog (stonyfieldfarm.com/weblog/).
The company attempts to create communities out of its key market segments â€” women and children â€” as well as let them in on the primary producers’ lives in a section called The Bovine Bugle.
But are these companies’ local counterparts catching the blogging wave? Are Singaporean companies brave enough to talk online about the problems they face in making their products?
A friend and fellow blogger once commented that calling something a blog does not make it one. He was referring to The New Paper’s online “blog” section (newpaper.asia1.com.sg/blog) which, in his opinion, was simply a collection of articles and personality profiles left open for comments left by readers.
So, what makes a corporate blog?
Perhaps taking a look at local creative agency Spoon (www.spoon.com.sg) might help. Spoon runs a blog, the top of which reads: “Yes, We Blog â€¦ Coffee Break Scribbles, Musings, Opinion, Fetish, Tricks, Trivia and Miscellanea by the Comrades at Spoon”.
With a writing style described as “unpretentious”, Spoon’s blog features mainly industry issues and sometimes unrelated things.
The Virtual Office, a local company which provides virtual offices for small businesses and start-ups, has a blog by its chief executive officer that introduces itself in the same “unpretentious”, informal style. Peter Tan, the CEO, greets readers by writing: “Hello fellow entrepreneurs, how are you?”
There are entries on The Virtual Office’s website in which Mr Tan shares his thoughts on entrepreneurship and doing business in Singapore, perhaps in the hope of letting potential customers know that he shares their problems and issues.
Even though corporate blogs in Singapore are still scarce, there are quite a few CEOs blogging.
NTUC Income’s Tan Kin Lian (tankinlian.blogspot.com) is one, though it’s been said the blog is more akin to a repository of press statements. (To be fair, however, he does engage readers candidly on issues such as the question of his pay, back when the NKF saga was current.)
Still, it remains to be seen if companies in Singapore will have entry-level employees blogging about their involvement in the company.
Can you imagine, a cleaner blogging about the crap â€” literal and otherwise â€” he encounters in his day?
Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over a year, and would like to see taxi companies making their drivers blog.