Corporate Blog: Friend or Foe?

Joe Thornley has a great post about corporate blogging today. As an employee in the communications department rather than at a PR firm (large or small), this issue is quite important to me. As one of the greatest advocates of social media that I know, Joe is understandably in favor of corporate blogging. "Blogs are like a hammer," he writes. "You can build virtually anything with it."

While I agree that blogs can be incredibly versatile in the communications industry, I don't necessarily believe that they have their place in a corporation. I feel that there are many corporations and organizations that can certainly benefit from a corporate blog (either external or internal), but there are equally as many that would suffer from implementing a blog.

"Culture is the key issue in introducing blogs into a corporation," Joe goes on to write, and this is where I begin to agree with him. When I mention above that many corporations would suffer from blog implementation, what I mean is that the culture is not quite there yet.

Where Joe focuses on the internal culture of the company, my view is that quite often the external culture, that surrounding a company or organization, that will determine how successful a corporate blog will be. PR companies like Edelman can get away with a corporate blog because their is a general interest in blogging and communications within the industry. Likewise, Dell was able to blog due to an interest in blogging within the computer industry. In the latter case, the blog was also probably seen as a good way to defend criticism.

But for other companies who are not in the public eye as much, is it worth blogging? Does your company have a blog? Either way, how many blog mentions does your company or organization get?

Even those pet food companies that got pummeled so heavily could have probably done without their half-hearted blog attempts. A public-facing website with a way of collecting information could have done the job just as well without needing it to be in the style-de-jour of a blog.

So my quickly-reached conclusion at the end of the day is that corporate blogs are not for everyone, nor are they the evil that some C-levels might think that they are. Rather, it should be evaluated on a case by case basis, taking careful note of the external and internal culture surrounding the organization.