Corporate Blogging - Blog exploring new age / new ideas in Marketing and Marcom

Friday, July 01, 2005

Blog Strategy Hosting blogs on company site or 3rd party site

I've already broken the rules.

It has been 6 days since I last made an entry so I've already broken one of the cardinal rules of blogging. You must make frequent blog entries. I've been really busy - really! I'm in the middle of a global team reorganization, I'm moving my entire On Demand Business site from one agency to another, I'm doing blog evangelism around IBM and organizating Blog Enablement Day for Marketing Communications professionals, while keeping the site fresh and interesting and pulling together what I believe is the first business blogs for IBM on ibm.com

Speaking of this, one of the key thoughts I've had in my mind lately is the pro and con of hosting blogs on your own URL. I've come up with a short list but would love to hear some comments on this.

Advantages to building on your company URL:
1) You already have time and money invested in building traffic - if you put them on site outside you will have to work to develop traffic to a new location.
2) Blogs can help with your organic search or Search Engine Optimization of your site
3) Blogs provide new, timely and updated content to your site thus providing more content to your readers and giving them reasons to return frequently.

Disadvantages to building on your company URL.
1) You have to build the blogging capability into your infrastructure where as it is easily available outside.
2) Possibly increased legal exposure for the company?
3) A blogger on your company URL may be considered a company "shill" whereas if they are on an external URL, even though identified with your company they may be considered to have a more "neutral" voice.

What do you think? I would really like some thoughts on this.

Thanks for checking in with me.









3 Old Comments:

Oooh, it is fun to be your first commenter. :>) I recommend using your company url and incorporating MoveableType, TypePad, Wordpress or Drupal into the corporate site. My site, whatsnextonline and my blog, What's Next Blog, are integrated with Moveable Type. In fact my home page and several pages in the site are MT pages that I can easily update. I am sure this is more complex for a site the size of IBM's, but still doable.

Blogger doesn't have trackbacks, which are an important part of building an audience. If, for example, a high profile blogger tracks back to your post from his/her blog, you get benefit of their traffic. You won't have that with Blogger.

Permalinks are equally important and they are not obvious in Blogger, although I am told they are there somewhere.

My US $.02

By Blogger BL, at 5:32 PM  

A committed blogger would be well advised to consider hosting their own blog by renting server space, getting an url and running a platform such as 'Movable Type'. Ironically the issue is control. In an environment like the Internet, at first blush seemingly antithetical to control, resigning one's blog to the wiles of interests like 'Blogger' just seems wrong. Who knows what policy changes will arise in time at Blogger, that will affect your blog? Oh, and Blogger controls your screening process, and collects everyone's email address for God knows what. At least when people give up their email address to you alone, you personally will know it's not going to accidentally going to fall into the hands of a spammer. That is an important and often overlooked aspect of Netiquette. Also if your blog is on your employer's web site, your ability to control your blog really evaporates. Should you leave your employer in the future, it might just disappear. Believe me, you will want control of you blog. Your entries become something of a family heirloom, an album of your thoughts that generations from now may be cherished by no one but your grandchildren. (Or they may become the property of the whole world, but who's to know that now?) If your employer hosts your blog they may remove the files from their server at any time, perhaps just before the HR Department tells you to clean out your office and collect your last check. Who knows? And who cares more about your blog more than you? A blog is a deeply personal thing, even in business. In a sense it is the Internets take on the employer-employee relationship. That relationship as an institution is transforming itself from an emphasis on the long term (a generation ago that could mean lifelong) corporation to much more a question of individuals acting together temporarily. This may sound radical, but Internet technology itself is radical, at least its implications are.

Best wishes,

Ian O'Neill
www.adshift.info

By Blogger Ian, at 9:12 PM  

You should consider more than the URL of the blogs. How about the visual design and the information architecture?

To really get the SEO benefits, the "normal part of the web site" will have to be well integrated with the blogging side. The 2 should link back and forth. If you have a common infrastructure and a good information architecture, you can automate some of this - e.g. a blog entry that mentions a product could be "magically" linked to that product. And vice versa.

And how about the visual identity? Do we want customers to see a different page layout, color scheme, and dare I say - BRAND - for the blogging side? Does the blogging happen within "OneIBM" or does it represent "the other IBM"?

We have all sorts of standards within the company, Sher (I am on our team that manages the UI standards for ibm.com) - how much do you follow them? Should we break many of these "corporate rules" on purpose so that the blogging experience is not confused with the corporate experience?

I have no answers - just lots of questions like you. Gosh, we are simply grappling with the identitfy of our company, so this should not be too hard. (^:

By Blogger Keith Instone, at 9:40 PM