Is a blog right for your company? Establishing a corporate blog can be a valuable investment of time and resources, if it’s done correctly.

According to the Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008 report, more than 50 percent of Internet users in the United States read blogs, making it one of the mostly widely used forms of social media. Blogs are also becoming a more prominent part of the media landscape overall, as a growing number of traditional media outlets cease publication. Yet, popularity isn’t the key reason a company should blog.

Top reasons for corporate blogging:

  • Building thought leadership.
  • Strengthening customer relationships.
  • Reputation management.
  • Testing out ideas, or seeking feedback.

A corporate blog – whether written by one or several employees – isn’t just another communication channel to send out news. It provides a unique opportunity to converse with your target audiences on their terms, where they increasingly spend their time learning, working and socializing – the Internet. In other words, they’ll come to your blog, if you pique their interest. Once you have their ear, keep them coming back with engaging content and discussion. In the end, you and your readers will learn from each other, an immeasurable return on investment.

Here’s a few things that must be in place before your company starts blogging:

  • Top management understands it’s a long-term commitment, and is willing to give the blog author(s) freedom from an onerous editing and approval process.
  • Your company has expertise, industry insight, or other useful information to share with readers that can contribute to their learning, growth, or enjoyment.
  • Your company wants to engage the online community in a constructive two-way dialogue, and can stomach some possible negative comments. (The good outweighs the bad!) Engagement is essential.

In future posts, we’ll offer advice on how to get your company blog started, writing guidelines and tips, and ideas for increasing your readership. Stay tuned.