It's sad to read a headline like this one, but not unexpected. Readers bored rigid by corporate blogs, finds study. Yes, it's a real article. It's based on a research study conducted by Forrester Research.
In 2006, 36 companies were promoting corporate blogs on their public websites. In 2007, that number dropped to 19. "Of 90 enterprise-sized companies with
corporate blogs that Forrester examined, 71 percent of the content was 'light company or business topics,' with only 16 percent injecting
"moderate personal insight" and only 13 percent using personal
Additionally, Forrester found that 56% of these blogs are just regurgitating corporate news or product information.
Sheesh. Do you blame your readers for being bored?
One thing I'm not quite sure I agree with is Forrester's opinion about comments. More people read than share or participate. So, if your readership is up and returning visitor ratios are good, you can figure that your blog readers are not bored stiff. They wouldn't come back if there was no value. There can be a lot of reasons why people don't comment on blogs, but as long as they're reading consistently, you're doing something right.
If your company wants to publish a corporate blog, consider these 5 tips:
- Define your purpose. What's the point of the blog. Pick a theme that readers you want to attract will be interested in. Stick with it. Think of it as an expertise showcase on that topic.
- Resist the urge to restate information found on your company's website. Unless you can add new information and then link to the piece that prompted you to write that blog post, please don't give readers things you're already telling them somewhere else.
- Do not write in corporate speak. Write conversationally. Loosen up. A blog gives potential and existing customers a way to get to know you and your company.
- Every blog post should provide insight about something important to your readers. Every single one.
- Don't talk about your products - talk about what they enable. Talk about industry issues, challenges and opportunities. If your readers want product information, they'll go to that section of your website.
Blogs can be excellent forums and platforms for sharing expertise. But, they are also time intensive commitments that take a lot of thought and effort. They look easier than they are. It's the relevance thing coupled with the already overloaded work schedules on people's desks.
While you're thinking about this whole bored stiff finding, you might want to think about your websites too. If readers are bored with your corporate blog, and that blog is representative of your public website, how fast are they falling asleep while reading said website?
Just makes me wonder...
Update 7/10/08: I stumbled across this post on Alan Weiss' blog today. He takes a contrarian stance about the validity of blogs as a way for consultants to generate business. I disagree, but what's interesting is the comments and emotion that happened in response, including the attention he received from a group of pretty influential and connected bloggers.
One thing that's evident, Alan is definitely Contrarian! Personally, I think he just loves to stir the pot and watch what happens. And in fair warning - don't follow this link unless you have some time to burn. It's fascinating, in a strange sort of way. To each their own, I say.