Corporate blogs: Are multiple or single bloggers best?

Should one person run the blog, or a team? Is it smart to let customers write posts? Read on to find which format is best for you.

It takes a lot of work to have a company blog, and choosing your approach is not a decision you should make lightly. Your blogging strategy will have a powerful impact on the direction of your entire social media effort.

Some of the best blogs in the world have evolved to support a number of corporate strategies. For your blog, start by assessing the strategy, resources, culture and capabilities of your company. It’s almost trite to say “start with strategy,” but it is essential and will save you a lot of pain later. Let’s look at the implications of this decision by comparing three different corporate blogging strategies:

1. The multiple blogger strategy

A team of bloggers contributes content, with or without attribution.

Advantages:

  • This is the most common approach because it fits well with traditional organizational structures. For example, putting your PR team in charge of the blog. This is usually the easiest route to success.
  • This strategy can shine a light on the many voices and talents in your company. MLT Creative does a superb job of this, providing a blog that examines inbound marketing, research and creative strategy by highlighting various experts on the team.
  • Multiple bloggers distribute the workload, which provides the best opportunity for frequent, consistent content.

Disadvantages:

  • When you start a blog, people in the company will say, “Oh yeah, I’ll contribute once a month.” They are big, fat liars.
  • Managing many moving parts and a content plan can be very complicated.
  • Being wedded to a schedule may make you inherently less flexible and responsive to external opportunities.
  • I have rarely seen a corporate blog with multiple bloggers that has been able to establish a real community.

2. The single blogger strategy

One person is the face of the company.

Advantages:

  • If you have a company executive who is a natural communicator and voice of authority, having him or her represent the company is a good opportunity to differentiate your brand. What customer wouldn’t love getting a first-hand view from a well-known executive? Bill Marriott blogs for his hotel chain. That is an advantage no other hotel brand can touch.
  • If your goal is to humanize your brand and create customer dialogue, your best bet is to have a dedicated blogger. People want to connect and converse with a real person. It is difficult to ask a question or comment when it’s not clear who the author is.
  • It’s easier for a single person to develop a blogging voice and competency than an entire team.
  • Having a single point of responsibility is the most flexible and responsive way to take advantage of the rapid, real-time nature of the social Web. It also assures that there is someone to get the job done.

Disadvantages:

  • It may be risky to put all your eggs into one basket. What happens when your celebrity blogger leaves?
  • Funding a dedicated blogger may be impractical for most companies.
  • It may limit the scope and variety of the content you deliver.

3. Hybrid approaches

Multiple, single bloggers: IBM has more than 50 blogs featuring individual superstar scientists and engineers. It is the best of both worlds since it features multiple voices but creates emotional bonds with individuals.

Blogs segmented by market: An emerging best practice is to have multiple company blogs aimed at different demographics. These may use a combination of individuals and teams, depending on the market.

Turn the blog over to stakeholders: Patagonia, Starbucks and Fiskars famously use customers as their bloggers. This can create compelling content, external validation for your brand message, and a great opportunity for engagement.

The {grow} model: That would be me. I offer a variety of content options in a format that larger, more complex companies could also adopt. Here is my mix:

  • As the primary blogger, I establish a voice of authority and an emotional connection with readers that fosters a community.
  • I have several regular, paid contributors who provide diverse points of view.
  • I try to mix it up with guest posts from community members, videos and cartoons to provide different types of entertaining content and a consistent publishing schedule.

Of course there are a lot of other options and approaches for company blogs. I’d love to hear your take. What’s working-or not-for you?

Mark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He blogs at grow, where a version of this article originally ran.

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