Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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April 13, 2006

Assessing Whether You Should Blog

In the mid 90's I used to work for BioData in San Mateo. The company had four web designers in 1995, a lot in those days. We eventually let them go to concentrate on providing computer networking services to biotechnology companies in the San Francisco bay area and San Diego; in hindsight not the best of moves at the time.

When the folks at BioData first met with a new prospect we'd open up the conversation by explaining our assessment process.

Before we could estimate how much time it would take to manage a company's network and servers, we'd have to understand the extent of the network and what problems needed to be fixed. To understand a client's network we'd propose BioData should initially conduct an assessment of a company's computer network.

Often customers had additional goals beyond the simple management of their network; there might have been a move, expansion or change in network operating system.

Surprisingly for me a lot of biotechnology companies ran Apple networks. In those days a lot of software for the medical/biotech industry ran on Mac's. But people were switching to PC networks.

With the BioData assessment clients received a report on the state of their network, and solid estimates as to how long it would take to manage their networks. We'd highlight problems with the network that needed to be fixed. Clients purchased the assessment but did not have to commit to a long-term contract. The approach worked out well for both clients and BioData. Less commitment to a new vendor and we got to work with client on a small project. And if a client chose not to go with BioData for the work, our assessment would be a great tool for the next vendor.

Just as any company needs to assess their computer networking system when it comes to deciding how to manage the network, when you ask the question if your company should blog? You should assess the opportunity to blog by conducting a blogging assessment. Here are some tips on conducting an assessment for your company:

1) Company Goals: Start off by writing down your company goals; list your PR, Communications and SEO goals. Understanding your goals will help you to determine if blogging is a strategy that will help you to achieve your overall marketing goals.

2) Outcomes: Develop a list of outcomes that will be produced by starting a blog. Base the outcomes on the your assessment of your industry's blogging community, the ability of your company to blog and what's happening with your competition. List traffic potential, which goals you expect to achieve through a blogging strategy and how you expect your industry's blogosphere to develop.

3) Keywords: Research the keywords that will help you to target your audience for search engines and RSS feed search engines.

4) Blog Audit: Develop a list of bloggers in your community. Assess each blogger's level of influence and impact.

5) Blogosphere Profile: Take the themes being discussed in your community's blogosphere and assess how your company can enter into the discussion. What unique characteristics about your product/service will elicit discussion and demonstrate leadership.

6) Blog Costs: Describe how much time will it take to blog. Assess the cultural norms of interaction within your community; for example do bloggers send trackbacks. Estimate the costs of not blogging against the dangers of blogging for your company.

7) Justification for the blog: What results will the blog produce, estimate the traffic, SEO results and PR outcomes. Use these results for your CEO presentation.

8) Commit or pull the plug: Review your research and based on the overview give a fair estimate of whether your company should blog or not blog.

Want more on blog assessments, here's some of the research I found on the subject:

Blog Assessment - Are You Ready?

Corporate Blog Evaluation Strategy

Posted by johncass at April 13, 2006 8:59 AM

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