Companies have to blog regularly

Why companies shouldn't blog

Every business should start blogging now. And as quickly as possible, was the statement made by my colleague Gero Pflüger in his article "ECJ makes Facebook pages unusable for entrepreneurs" when the report became public that the operators of Facebook pages were liable for data protection violations by Facebook.

Of course, this message has turned the online world upside down. It is clear that this will result in new challenges. What I think is very questionable, however, is asking companies and entrepreneurs to start a blog for the devil. But on the contrary. As with everything in life: Think before you act. In this article I would like to help you answer the question of whether a blog is worthwhile for your own company or not.

Blogs offer unique advantages

In principle, corporate blogs and blogs offer excellent opportunities to support your own communication strategy as a marketing and communication channel. Specifically, they are their own

  • for search engine optimization in order to be found on the net,
  • to generate leads,
  • To operate employer branding,
  • to make yourself independent of social networks and the press,
  • to enter into a dialogue with the community as well
  • to express one's own opinion and initiate discussions.

Those are the hard facts. As a platform of its own, a blog offers opportunities that are difficult or impossible to implement with social networks on this scale.

For example, Twitter has a limit of 280 characters. Try posting a blog post there. Or have you already tried to integrate several media formats such as a podcast, a video and pictures from the Instagram feed into a Facebook or Instagram post? Exactly that doesn't work. On a blog, however, it does. I wrote more about this in the article “Blogs are dead, blogs long live”, which sheds light on the whole thing.

A blog is only as successful as its purpose

The prerequisite for a blog to achieve its goals is that the blog provides answers to the questions of the readers. A blog should always solve readers' problems. If this is not the case, neither the most beautiful blog design nor an SEO optimization or permanent publication is of any use. Anyone who publishes content by advertising their services and products or publishes contentless articles about employees and work in the company does not have a good blog, but rather a lot of crap. And EXACTLY THEN is worth it a blog for a company NOT.

A good blog to be successful requires:

  1. a strategy of where to go,
  2. Resources in the form of employees and budget,
  3. a topic and editorial plan as well
  4. Time to grow.

Four little points that determine whether a blog is worthwhile for a company or not. If you are not ready to invest, you should stay away from a blog. I know companies that have a blog but don't care. Staff publish articles, but nobody pays attention to the content and whether it is useful, helpful, entertaining, or relevant. Articles with just 3 lines are published there. In all honesty, work, impact and commitment are wasted here for quite a lot of money. The company even admits the blog is bad. Why? Because personal interests matter.

If you don't feel like dealing with a platform, you won't care for it either. Instead, the social networks are pushed and the budget is used there. That is not wrong per se, on the contrary. We need Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Co. to spread our content. Content distribution is an important factor in reaching our target groups on the channels they prefer. But the current data protection conference and the tightening of the data protection conference show how fragile the use of third-party platforms has become for us. What was normal yesterday can be punishable or expensive tomorrow.

I spoke to some colleagues and asked them for their opinion on when companies should stop blogging. Meike Leopold is an expert in blogs, she publishes on Start Talking and I appreciate her very much. In your experience there is 5 caseswhere she advises organizations to start blogs:

  1. You don't want to put any brains into the strategy: You can do it, but only a good communication concept ensures that the blog starts with the right focus!
  2. You plan zero resources for editing: How do you want to create good content on a regular basis without someone in charge that draws readers to the blog?
  3. Authenticity is not for your company: What a shame, because the courage to use your own tonality ensures strong reader loyalty and high recognition value!
  4. Measuring success is too annoying for them: Suboptimal, because a regular check of what has been achieved on the basis of the goals keeps you on track!
  5. Why PR for the blog, the readers will come by themselves: It's a mistake, careful and long-term networking and marketing is critical to the success of a blog!

Christian Müller from social-pr sees it similarly. He goes one step further and recommends that you consider whether a content hub might be the right thing. In response to my initial question for this article, he said:

“Should companies blog? Not necessarily. A blog has an enormous long-term effect, makes you less dependent on social networks and can be the center of online communication. But it is also a lot of work and - in addition to a clear strategy - takes a lot of time. In addition: the classic blog with chronological and regularly published articles is not always the best format. Companies often do better with a content hub - as colleague Kerstin Hoffmann and colleague Klaus Eck describe it again and again. So no, a classic corporate blog doesn't always make sense. Especially not if the basics of the community work are not done yet. But the targeted construction of a content hub is a good strategic approach - if the community is in other networks and the basis is laid there. "

My colleague Frank Feil has been a blogger himself for 12 years and has blogged for companies such as LG Germany, CeBIT and Audible. He is now the owner of the Netzoptimisten agency and has the following opinion:

“A corporate blog can be an important part of the communication strategy for both large and small companies - provided it is operated with the necessary commitment. This primarily means the passion and competence for blogging itself. The owner of a carpenter's workshop who blogs about furniture design and enjoys it himself may achieve more with his blog than a large company that invests money in the implementation of a corporate blog by external service providers. However, one thing is important in both cases: perseverance. A blog is always a long-term investment that does not lead to success overnight, but only over time. "

And just like me, Sascha Theobald is critical of the statement “Companies have to blog now”. As a sparring partner for strategic communication, I think he has a very healthy attitude towards such general statements:

“Everyone must…” is rarely good advice. Starting a company blog is an important, strategic decision. Even if some consultants promise bloggers Google Heaven and thus success, wealth and 11 virgins. It's not that easy.

Before you decide to blog as a company, you should address three crucial areas and answer these questions honestly.

1. Attitude: Do we want to open the virtual office door, give insights and generously share knowledge? Do we want to be visible and tangible? Are boss and employees ready to show their faces?

2. Resources: Can we blog regularly? Can we ensure the exchange with readers - also on other platforms? Are we ready to invest time or money?

3. Fun: Can we and do we want to write ourselves? Do we enjoy exchanging ideas with people - especially online? If you are working against internal resistance, communicate with the handbrake on.

Contrary to what many think, the issues are not the crux of the matter. They can always be found - if in doubt, with external help. But if you see serious problems with just one of the three areas mentioned, you'd better say no to the blog. A lifeless blog devours unnecessary resources and, in the worst case scenario, damages your reputation.

Conclusion

I think it's becoming clear when companies shouldn't blog. Namely when they are not ready to invest work, budget and time. If you are not ready to produce and publish content that interests the readers, that also require them to take an attitude and reveal knowledge. And if they are not prepared to forego penetrating self-promotion.

A blog is not a monologue, not a communicative one-way street, but a dialogue. If that is clear, then a good basis for a blog has been created. And if it's not a blog but a magazine, that's good too. Only one thing is important: First the reader, then the company. In this sense: Happy blogging!

Note: My colleague called himself by name in his comment and so I have added this to this article after consultation. Also that I link it. Gero subsequently revised the article so that it is no longer available in its original version, to which I refer in this article.