CALGARY, AB, Oct. 17, 2011/Troy Media
Corporate blogging done wrong can be like news releases.
News releases have evolved, or maybe devolved, to painful, boring, sanitized affairs. This is why only the hardiest journalist reads more than the opening paragraph. It’s not the medium (newswires are fine disseminators) it’s the writing.
News release faux pas
Good stories should pull you in, catching your attention in the lead and drawing you down into the body, sentence by sentence. Journalists hone this skill over decades. So do good PR people, but too often news releases written and edited by committee rarely even meet the lowest standards of readability.
For example, take a look at this gem I plucked off the wire today (redacted to protect the guilty):
Redacted Corporation announced today the launch of their new corporate website, www.redacted.ca. This site, complete with an introduction video on the home page, provides information about the company’s values, people, business partners and more.
Oh goody, a website. Thank goodness, I think we were running short. Worse, when I arrived at this website, I was greeted with:
We are a group of companies with a unified vision to create and pursue. In essence, we put all of our drive, passion and expertise into making anything possible.
Which brings me to my point – good business blogging needs to be newsworthy, not snooze-worthy. Where it usually goes wrong is when corporations write what they want to say (we launched our website!) versus what their audience wants to hear (this new site will help you . . .). It’s literary narcissism, the textual equivalent of begging for attention.
Given this predilection for self-centeredness, corporations are often ill equipped to blog, post or tweet.
The recent widespread BlackBerry outage provides a timely example. While the tweeting public was busy complaining about the malfunctioning BlackBerry service, the BlackBerry team was busy tweeting happy Monday thoughts. From David Amerland on Social Media Today:
. . . over three hours later their tech team @BlackBerryHelp, oblivious to the social media disaster they were facing, were adding fuel to the pyre by cheerfully chirping from their account: “Hey #teamblackberry happy Monday everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend we are back to answer your questions stay tuned for answers.”
Stay tuned for answers indeed.
The not-so-smart phone
This revealed more than a disconnect with their audience, angry BlackBerry users holding not-so-smart-phones, but also a lack of preparation.
For content marketing to work, the business has to discern what customers, investors, staff, communities and politicians want to hear and publish that. Only by being audience-centric will interest and dialog follow.
And isn’t that the point of blogging, to talk with people not at them?