Strategic Approach To Biz Blogs


Blogging is complex, and each company approaches blogging differently.
                    - Northeastern University/Backbone Media Blogging Success Study

The quote, from a recent study conducted by Northeastern University/Backbone Media Blogging Success StudyEllington_surveys, is near and dear to my heart. The research validates what I've been talking about and have believed since waaay back in 2004 .. Her passion for blogging is as a marketing tactic. This revealed a different perspective from that of most bloggers we asked." "Naked Conversations - Consultants Who Get It" by Shel Israel & Robert Scoble.

  1. Blogs/social media can be used as a credible marketing strategy
  2. To be successful blogs must incorporate a strategic direction

Within a very short time .. less than 2-years .. the website with the odd little name - "Weblog," better known as "Blog" is becoming a sophisticated, marketing strategy with multiple aspects.

Four Aspects of Business Blogging

  1. Authoring a business/marketing blog
  2. Using blogs as an external promotional tactic
  3. Monitoring blogs as a research tactic
  4. Reading blogs to gain professional development knowledge

Should your organization include a blog strategy? If you're considering stepping into social media I would ask you to answer just two little questions to determine if you're ready to jump into authoring a corporate blog

One: Can your organization support the open, conversational, transparent culture of blogging?

Two: Will blogs help solve a business challenge or support your overall marketing strategy?

If the answers to Both are Yes .. you have a good chance to succeed. If either one is No .. the timing is not right .. yet.

Don't be discouraged or feel badly. Social media is a huge paradigm switch in business attitude. It can be a challenge, and leap of faith, for some people to accept that business as usual is changing. In a world of easy online publishing (blogs, podcasts, vlogs) the marketer's job has morphed from tightly controlling the brand messaging to managing the brand message. Your company will get it .. sooner or later. If not, Girlfriend, you might want to consider creating a living bio blog <wink>.

However, while you're working on internal issues you can begin to participate in the conversation by reading blogs and monitoring the blogosphere for customer buzz about your brands and for industry trends. When you feel comfortable drop a comment on a blog and see where it takes you. Ta da! You are now an active participate in the exciting world wide discussion. Your opinion is part of the the biggest knowledge base ever invented .. the world wide web. But no time to sip an appletini - tho a quick bite of chocolate might be in order to celebrate. There are more blogs to read and more comments to write.

What determines the reasons, conditions and factors that make a blog successful? What criteria should organizations use to assess whether and how they should engage in blogging?

These were the objectives in the Blogging Success Study released Nov 2, 2006 by Dr. Walter Carl, the students in his Advanced Organizational Communications class (Spring 2006) at Northeastern University and John Cass and his colleagues at Backbone Media, Inc.

Toss of a pink boaPink_boa_17 to Dr. Carl and John Cass for providing the research and the background interviews. Not only is this an great start for businesses to begin to understand how to do blogs right but the interview transcripts provide an in-depth look at the lessons learned from the participants who were early adopters to business blogging.  Interesting note: the research/findings report are posted on a blog with each section as a unique post. Comments are open on all posts. You rock!

Blog Brags: My dear friend and client Donna Lynes-Miller, GourmetStation was included in the study. Donna continues to do innovative work in this space. Delicious Destinations includes a series of guest bloggers: an English butler, a Tuscan B&B owner, a wine consultant and a customer who share their experiences about food, travel, wine and the good life.

Rick Short, Indium Corporation (Rick Short's Blog,Dr. Lasky's Blog)and Deb Franke and Jim Cahill, Emerson Process Management (Emerson Process Experts) were participants in the American Marketing Association's Hot Topic Workshop: Blogs Beyond The Website that I had the honor and pleasure of chairing.

Bottom-line .. without a strategic approach and integration into your overall marketing plan a blog is a me too play toy. Which is fine if all you want is to be cool at cocktail parties. 

Sidebar: The graphic is a cartoon that was made for my mom and dad's marketing research biz - Ellington Surveys. As you can tell fashions have changed as has the market research industry.


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I was in the Dr. Carl/ John Cass study too and have been reading the study little by little. There are so many threads of common expereince in it. It does seriously represent, to me, one of the most complete and comprehensive guides to corporate blogging. Even though many of us used different words to describe the things that made our blogs successful, we had very similar experiences- I think that's pretty cool.

Posted by: Tim Jackson on Nov 5, 2006 11:50:24 AM

Tim - your blog is one of the best 'brand' blogs around! Yes, it is interesting that many of the same concepts are found thru out.

Posted by: Toby on Nov 5, 2006 9:42:31 PM

Hi Toby, The AMA Blogs: Marketing Beyond the Website workshop that both Deb and I attended was one of the early instrumental milestones in our path to establishing the DeltaV News RSS feed and the Emerson Process Experts blog.

Any time you embark on something new within a large corporation, there is natural resistance. We learned quite a bit about the the upside of blogging versus the natural fear of the unknown.

Much of what you and the workshop speakers discussed in terms of benefits are exactly what has happened. Our experts at Emerson are getting more visibility for their expertise, and more communication is happening than was happening with traditional marketing efforts.

We've also helped some of our key technologists launch an independent blog, .

Thanks for all your efforts organizing the AMA event which helped get us up to speed to join this exciting world of the blogosphere!

Take it easy,


Posted by: Jim Cahill on Nov 6, 2006 10:35:38 AM

My God - such wealth of knowledge, all at one place. Thanks for sharing and putting it together.



Posted by: Rajesh on Nov 6, 2006 12:26:42 PM

This is some very useful info Toby! Thanks for putting it together.

Might I also suggest a filtering question of

"Will the blog add value for my organization's stake holders?" with customers being central to that question.

Posted by: Hershel Reese on Nov 6, 2006 3:58:51 PM

The learning curve with viral marketing is steep at times. I own an online boutique. We have a blog that is women centric regarding issues and organizations, fashion, lingerie, and the details of what makes our products high-end.
I am not sure if it is really helping. We are planning to grow it with information about designers and brands that we carry, the history of lingerie and its role, as well as some whimsy.
My business is high-end fashion lingerie and is all about buzz.
Thanks for this info. It will be read very thoroughly.
If anybody wants to study my store or blog, contact me through my website. I am very interested in making the most of the tools at hand.

Posted by: Kristina on Nov 8, 2006 8:43:33 PM

It's far from easy to launch a corporate/brand blog ...
Building a community and listening to consumers should be the main objectif of marketers! In France, Danone will launch a new shape of blog : 'the home use blog'- a new way to study consumers behaviours and learn from custormer about Danone's new products - I haven't got any else details about this project ... let me know if you are interested in and I'll give news as soon as possible - In the meaning time, you can read this french article :

Posted by: Christelle on Nov 9, 2006 4:59:28 AM

Thanks Toby for the great post about blogging and mentioning the blogging success study. I was curious as you are already a diva of blogging, was there any surprises in study for you?

Posted by: John Cass on Nov 12, 2006 4:21:15 PM

Hi Diva Marketer!

I thought I'd pass on a blog that's useful for marketers who wish to work on a consultant basis from home. shares how to become a consultant, avoiding work from home scams, and how to set consulting fees (which I’ve found especially helpful).

Posted by: Lauren on Dec 11, 2006 1:12:31 PM

I've found that if done right, a blog can work wonders in connecting to a core group of customers. I look at a great example with a local site:

Posted by: James Bone on May 7, 2007 11:38:09 PM

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