Why Hello There
Hi, I’m Lauren, the newest addition to the Room 214 team. As the company’s new research maven, I’ll frequently share my thoughts about all things social media and WOM. I’m looking forward to opening up some conversations with our readers about the way that you and I view and understand the ever-changing online world.
As this is my first proper post for Room 214, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the concept of voice in a company blog. I’ve spent the whole week obsessing over this post. What should I say? What do you, the reader, feel like reading? Will you connect with me? Will you comment? How does one begin the practice of being a consistent, passionate blogger for her company? I began to search around.
Forming a Relationship
Spend some time Googling best practices for corporate blogs and you’ll find an overwhelming amount of information. You’ll also find this depressing study from Forrester, which says that in 2008 only 16% of those who read corporate blogs trusted them. Yikes. People think corporate blogs lack honesty.
Knowing that stumbling block, it’s important to consider why successful corporate blogs create a sense of trust with their readers. Jason Keath compiled a list of great examples of corporate blogs that I spent some time looking through. The radically different styles of each of those blogs reminds me of the importance of knowing your audience as a basis for forming trust. So do you know your audience? How is it that you come to understand your audience?
Jeremiah Owyang took the time to poll his blog readers and was kind enough to share the results here, which gave not only him but also his readers a chance to understand why people chose to connect with his website. Here at Room 214, we do this on a much larger scale, asking who, what, where, when, why and how as a basis for shaping communication with our clients’ consumers.
Creating Space for Dialogue
But it’s not just about knowing your audience. It’s about having a conversation with them, a notion that Jason Cormier explained as the top of the Conversation Maturity Model. Marriott shared a lovely, simple detail on hosting Cleveland’s 18th annual Polka Festival, letting me know about their engagement in the local community. Zappos taught me the best way to wrap a package for return, which is helpful to both me and them. All the blogs on this top ten list, because they are blogs, are clearly sharing with me. But, as explicitly clear with the Zappos example, they let me know that they are listening to me or, rather, the collective “me” that makes up their blog consumer. I enjoy this. I feel empowered to let them know what is on my mind.
Where Do We Go From Here?
It’s funny to me that, on a high level, the basic tenets of a good corporate blog sound like the same basic tenets of a healthy romantic relationship: establish trust, listen, create a forum for open dialogue. Interesting. So here I am, pondering what to do with all this and hoping that I can begin a conversation. In the coming weeks I’ll spend some time highlighting interesting conversations I find online. To kick it off, I’d love to hear of the ones you think are most interesting, whether that means successful, bizarre, failed, or other.