Friday, March 14, 2008

Should Your Company Blog - A Conversation with AMR

Yesterday I had an analyst briefing with Dana Stiffler and Phil Fersht at AMR Research, along with my company's CEO, talking about the latest trends with "captive R&D centers" in India, China and around the world. Happily, the meeting went very well (at least from my perspective).

After the briefing was over, Dana and I were talking about a few other subjects and blogging came up. Apparently, AMR is contemplating a corporate blog, but there's a lot of concerns internally about the appropriateness of a blog from an analyst firm. Dana asked my advice and I thought I'd share it with everyone.

For almost any company a blog can be a great tool to disseminate thought leadership and market your company. But of course it requires that you have something smart to say and people who can write well. AMR clearly has both. Their analysts are smart and articulate or they wouldn't have a very long shelf life. I mentioned that they much more advantaged than most companies, and certainly my own, where even with almost 3500 people, there are relatively who have an interesting and engaging point of view and even fewer who also have the writing skills to make the posts something that people would want to read and come back for more.

I told Dana that from a marketing perspective I thought the blog could be great -- getting a glimpse of what AMR analysts have to say would make people who aren't customers intrigued about becoming one. Bruce Richardson's "First Thing Monday" column exactly that. Lord knows at least once a week there is "locked" article referenced in FTM that I'd like to read. And now I'm talking to them about signing up for the service.

Secondly, the blog format would allow them to respond to news far more rapidly than having to write a more lengthly, formal report that has to go through AMR's approval process for published content. Interestingly, it seems that the lack of the formal approval process is the key reason behind the resistance to the blog at AMR. Frankly, I think the ability for an analyst to post a 'dissenting opinion' or at least an alternate view from the official AMR pronouncements would be awesome. It would enrich the dialogue and provide additional information and context for readers to assess the impact of the issue in question. I think that if it works for the Supreme Court, it would work for AMR.

So if you're deciding whether to create a blog for your company, the common sense advice is yes -- providing that you will have something engaging to say and that you can keep it up. You need multiple contributors to ensure you're posting at least twice a week. But if you have enough people and can spread out the responsibility, it's pretty easy to sustain.

At the last ITSMA event I had a chance to talk with Larry Weber, founder of W2 Group and Weber PR (pick up Larry's latest book "Marketing to the Social Web"). Given my situation of 3500 engineers in India, I asked what his advice was about who should be allowed to blog. He said to open up the floodgates because you never know who has something smart to say. It may be good advice, but I'm not sure that I'm going to heed it. At least not right out of the box. But depending on your situation, it might be the right move.

There are a million other people who are more qualified than me to give advice on this. Talk to your PR agency, colleagues and peers. Get involved in local groups like the Social Media Club or PRSA.

1 comment:

pfersht said...

Hi Glenn,

Good meeting you also... just posted on the impact blogging is having in the outsourcing industry:

http://fersht.typepad.com/the_outsourcing_bloghorse/2008/03/how-is-the-blog.html

Regards,

Phil.