Uses of Creating a corporate blog

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					      Uses of Creating a corporate blog
      When creating a successful corporate blog, there are a number of
      elements which come together to make it what it is. The content
      itself is key to this, but the words just form the final part of the blog
      and one which is supported by a number of other layers or building
      blocks. Together, they help to determine the blog’s focus and its
      effectiveness.

      The more that I work with companies (large and small) on their
      business blogs, the more I see how these different layers must work
      together to give the right results. This is the case whatever the size
      of the organisation, though the timescales can vary enormously. A
      large corporate blog may take several months to come to fruition, not
      because there are additional elements but due to the number of
      “interested parties” involved. With a small business blog, the
      decisions are often made instantly and so the timeframe is shorter;
      however, the business challenges are similar.

      In both business and corporate blogs, the structure and elements
      involved are made up as shown below.




Philosophy Layer
The foundations of any business blog should include the basic principles of
blogging, which hold true for organisations just as they do for individuals
writing their own personal blogs. These would include openness, two-way
communication, passion, writing with an authentic voice, authority and
personality.
      An organisation intending to establish a blog should consider these
      carefully as well as the business ideals they embrace. If the company
      culture is one which does not have the flexibility and openness to
      accept and apply them, then it is unlikely that it will be able to use
      the blog to its full potential and it may be better served using other
      online marketing media.

Technical Layer
The selection of the blogging software to be used forms an important part of
the technical layer together with how the blog is integrated with the
company website (or set up separately), the internal IT requirements of the
company and the hosting structure required.

      The choice of blogging platform can compromise a corporate blogs
      potential from the outset if it cannot support the elements needed to
      achieve the blogs goals. To help future proof the investment in time
      and money, the platform should therefore not only cover the initial
      requirements but also have the scope to develop over time as the
      business needs of company and blog develop.

      This might also take into consideration the technical aspects of
      Search Engine optimization, for example, which should ensure that
      the blog has the flexibility to allow page level customisation of
      elements such as title tags, blog tags and metatags.

Business Layer
Some of the most important decisions during the preparation phase relate to
the overall business requirements of the blog and how it will be used by the
company. The basis for these decisions will come from the answers to the 3
key questions which need to be answered right at the start of the process,
namely what the aims and goals of the blog are, who its intended audience
is and what it is designed to achieve.

      The answers to these questions will effectively decide the format and
      focus of the blog which in turn will dictate who is the best
      person/people to write it, how often to add posts, how it will be
      marketed and what impact it will make on various departments
      throughout the company. All of these elements form part of the
      business layer.

      Every successful business blog will have a particular business focus
      which will influence the way that it looks, its focus and the content
      that it contains. This focus can take many different forms given that
      the blog could be an internal blog (sometimes called a “dark blog”)
      serving a company, project or team or an external one used for
      branding, customer service, product development or any number of
      customer facing uses. [Some examples of business blog uses.]

Blog Interface & Graphic Layer
The graphics and branding elements are important parts of this, but they do
not make up the whole story. In addition, the layout of the blog needs to be
consistent with the business requirements of the blog so that best use is
made of the space available to promote the elements which will support its
business goals.

      If your business requirements dictate that you are pushing to get
      subscribers then your RSS and email subscription areas will be very
      prominent. If there are special offers or specific service areas which
      are key to achieving the blog’s goals then these should be made
      highly visible within the layout and design. Some of the other
      elements relating to the interface and graphic layer can be found in
      the Business Blog Design Series.

Content Layer
Last but certainly not least, the content itself. This is the most important
single layer because it is the one that the blogs readers are most aware of
and it is the content which will attract them back and turn them from
“passers by” into avid readers. However, the content only comes into its
own because of the interaction and support of the other layers.

      In truth, many companies and businesses tend to concentrate solely
      on this layer. However, the blog’s content needs to build on what was
      outlined in the business layer to achieve the right business focus for
      the company. This content will then be promoted, highlighted and
      pushed by the elements in the other layers.

      One important, yet often overlooked, part of content element is the
      specific use of the individual post titles and specific Search Engine
      oriented elements such as the titles tags, meta tags and general blog
      tags, all of which should be provided for in the technical layer.

      Summary
      A blog needs all of the different components to be working together
      to be really successful and, for a corporate blog, doubly so. A blog
      using a standard template rather than the organisation’s branding will
      be less effective, as will one built on a platform which makes leaving
      comments difficult or one that reads like a sales brochure. Equally, a
      business blog where all the other aspects are in place but which is
      aimed at the wrong audience will not achieve the success that it
      perhaps warrants.
However, with each of these different layers working together, then
the results can be excellent. The day-to-day focus can then be firmly
on maintaining the quality and focus of the content and promoting it
in the right areas to ensure that it can (and will) achieve the business
goals it was designed for.

				
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