NEW YORK: Companies have an opportunity to create meaningful dialogue with customers through corporate blogs, according to a panel of experts who participated in PRWeek?s audio webcast, Guide to Corporate Blogging, last week.
Speakers included Christine Halvorson, chief blogger at Stonyfield Farm, Tim Bray, director of web technologies at Sun Microsystems, and Jonathan Carson, CEO of web analytical firm Buzzmetrics.
Guidelines for getting started were offered, as well as personal perspectives from the participants on their own experiences.
Topics included who in the company should blog, whether comments from readers should be permitted or screened, and how to measure effectiveness of a blog.
One listener asked how to bring unwilling executives around to the idea of a blog.
"I'm not sure you can convince reluctant executives that you should do a blog," Bray said. "There are lots who see what's happening at Sun, and see that that our president gets his message out unmediated, and the online properties of Forbes and hacker websites [pick it up]. But I'm not sure people can be pushed to this."
Of course, some executives embrace the platform. "It's hard for me to imagine a CEO not wanting to do it because ours [Gary Hirshberg] was so enthusiastic about it; he had to convince the lower management that this would be a good thing," Halvorson said.
Carson said business success stories will convince executives to consider blogging. "Executives are going to respond to situations that are analogous to their own working very well for other companies."
The audience also responded to five poll questions. When asked why they read blogs, the majority said it was to get information on industry and cultural trends. Among those who have company or employee blogs, most said the biggest benefit was direct dialogue with customers.
Still, corporate blogging is far from ubiquitous, with over 75% of audience saying their company does not have a blog or a structure that allows employee blogging. But 57% percent of respondents planned to launch one soon.
Check out the free archived webcast here.