In putting together a presentation on corporate blogging for the BizTimes #BizTech conference, I decided to do an audit and scorecard on the blogs of the top 50 private Milwaukee companies. I’ll be sharing thoughts on how to be a blogging “Do” instead of a blogging “Don’t” on Wednesday, May 11th at 9:45AM; and mid-way through the audit now, I’m feeling good about my ability to rant well on this topic ; ) Most of the blogs so far are scoring painfully “average”, with a few above and below that line. But one challenge that they almost all share? Very few to zero comments.
From what I’ve read, about 10% of Fortune 500 blogs don’t even accept comments…that shouldn’t even be allowed to be called a blog. Some corporate blogs make it evident that they don’t really want comments; one example I saw today buried a tiny little “feedback” button at the bottom of the post. So they can say they’re accepting comments, without actually having to deal with much pesky feedback. In a word: weaksauce (is that one word, or two?). But even those that appropriately welcome comments have a solid amount of difficulty drumming up actual conversation.
Much of this ties back to other factors in the blogging scorecard, which I’ll share during and after the presentation on Wednesday, measuring factors such as the bigger idea surrounding blog content, utility, personality, and honesty aka lack of corporate spin job. Obviously if no one cares about the topic, and its just a regurgitation of your press release, and its not useful at all or doesn’t share an insight or entertain, no one’s going to comment (or read).
For a second opinion, I turned to Mack Collier, founder and master of #blogchat, where I’ve learned a good chunk of what I know about blogging, and posed the question, “what is the key to getting more comments on a corporate blog?”. Mack responded that much of it is in your mindset and your approach to blogging…”we are sharing our story” (DO), versus “we are promoting ourselves” (DON’T). He shared an example of the HomeGoods OpenHouse blog which has great content and an unusual number of comments. They generate interaction through details like pictures of the bloggers everywhere, referring to commenters by their first name, and writing as though they are writing a LETTER to their readers. All great stuff. I would add, though, that you could do these things and still not get comments. Much of it comes down to the STRENGTH or MAGNITUDE of the personality your blog exudes. Blogs can have – or not have – magnetic personalities, just like people. In fact, Mack’s got a great, related post up today, “Your blog should be a passion project.” I definitely agree that if you approach your blog as a passion project, you have a much better chance of success.
I’m assuming for the purposes of this conversation that you care about comments. Because if you don’t, you should. Do you care, or do you blog corporately for other reasons, like SEO or to try to drive website traffic? (we’ll talk about that on Wednesday) Have you found it difficult to get conversation going? What have you found to be effective?