Content Marketing, Social Media Strategy, Blogging and Content Creation, Social Media Marketing

Make it Bigger – The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs

Is your blog broad enough?

Despite all the hoopla and teeth gnashing about micro-blogging like Twitter, and medium-blogging like Posterous, the good old blog isn’t going anywhere.

For many social media objectives, the blog just works better. It’s more searchable, more convincing, and more flexible. But often, it’s also too narrow.

Yes, I’ve advocated strongly that your company blog needs to be about something specific. Blogging experts like Mack Collier and Michael Gass say the same thing.

But, specific and narrow are not synonymous. To generate the most reader engagement, blogs about something bigger work best.

There are four types of company blogs, which one is you?

1. Corporate Blogchrysler blog 300x209 Make it Bigger   The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs
This blog, epitomized by the Chrysler effort seeks to provide interesting information about the company and its operations. Typically group written, the corporate blog typically includes very few pictures of people, mentions of competitors, or discussions of larger issues. Most posts generate zero comments.

2. Humanization BlogThe Sip  The Sweet Leaf Tea Blog 300x281 Make it Bigger   The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs
This type of blog, represented below by Sweet Leaf Tea’s “The Sip” isn’t about the company per se, but about the people of the company. Also group written, this type of blog serves to make the company more approachable and relatable by focusing on its employees as “real people.” While the humanization blog of course talks about the company, it does so in an indirect way, and often features posts about employees’ adventures outside of work.

3. Category Blog
This type of blog requires more courage. As you’ll see in the Network Performance Daily blog, the category approach covers the company itself, as well as other happening in the broader industry, including competitors, etc. In this case, the blog is run by NetQoS, but takes a much broader approach. Network Performance Blog Network Performance Management News Tutorials Resources Network Performance Blog 300x188 Make it Bigger   The 4 Types of Corporate BlogsThe tagline for the blog describes this approach well: “Anything and everything that affects network performance, from the mundane to the bizarre.”

This type of blog can be either group or individually authored, often includes substantial content frequency (to cover the whole category well), and can generate significant comments due to the breadth of content.

4. Roll Your Own Blog
Perhaps the most interesting blog option are those that redefine or reinvent categories, bringing together a mix of people that are not necessarily tied by occupation or geography. This gives you the opportunity to generate significant, meaningful dialog and community because the blog readers are helping to build and architect a category from scratch.

Work Shifting 300x222 Make it Bigger   The 4 Types of Corporate BlogsChris Brogan‘s efforts in this area set the standard. The Workshifting blog created and managed for Citrix took what could have been a plain vanilla corporate blog for Web meeting software, and made it about something bigger. It’s not about software. Or about the category. It’s about “workshifting” – the ability to work successfully where and when you want to. The blog is about freedom.

While not a blog per se, Chris and Julien Smith‘s Trust Agents group on Facebook sings the same tune. Now 2,716 strong, it’s not a Facebook group about a book. Or even about Chris and Julien. It’s about the nature of trust and how it is bestowed and protected and extended.

The broader your blog, the more interaction it will generate (assuming the content is solid and consistent, and you work to create a community).

blog chart 300x230 Make it Bigger   The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs

Take a look at your blog. How can you make it about something bigger?

  • http://www.ioncorporation.com/blog Mark Ivey

    Jay–good breakdown, and I agree companies need to really be focused on what type of blog they’re launching…We’ve had the best luck with “category” type blogs. One question: did you miss “executive blogs,” usually written by CEOs? (ex: Sun Micro, GM, etc). These have a whole different personality, of course, driven by the executive’s views, ego, making them different (in my mind) from your run-of-the-mill corp. blogs
    .-= Mark Ivey´s last blog ..Tweet This: Why You Should Read Twitterville =-.

  • http://www.ioncorporation.com/blog Mark Ivey

    Jay–good breakdown, and I agree companies need to really be focused on what type of blog they’re launching…We’ve had the best luck with “category” type blogs. One question: did you miss “executive blogs,” usually written by CEOs? (ex: Sun Micro, GM, etc). These have a whole different personality, of course, driven by the executive’s views, ego, making them different (in my mind) from your run-of-the-mill corp. blogs
    .-= Mark Ivey´s last blog ..Tweet This: Why You Should Read Twitterville =-.

  • Jay Baer

    Is your blog big enough? Specificity doesn’t always win. http://bit.ly/o1a1e

  • http://blog.digitalingredients.co.uk/ Stefano Maggi

    Very nice categorization. I liked it very much, so I tried to look at it in a different way: what if we consider “narrow” or “broad” as indicators about distance from consumer centric topics? If you look at definitions and examples for te 4 categories you see that “broader” ones might be more successful not because they talk about more topics, but because they’re nearer to consimer’s view of a topic. Niche could work too (and Seth Godin would probably say only niches work as a target) as long as consumers are central to topics, engagement an discussion.
    Chrisler blog is about a company, workshifting blog is about people. This makes it broader: people usually don’t have such a narrowed down set of topics that they find interesting.
    Probably the most effective blogs are ones that choose a target (even niche) and set up a coherent list of themes that can work for it.
    Nice post, thank you.

  • http://blog.digitalingredients.co.uk Stefano Maggi

    Very nice categorization. I liked it very much, so I tried to look at it in a different way: what if we consider “narrow” or “broad” as indicators about distance from consumer centric topics? If you look at definitions and examples for te 4 categories you see that “broader” ones might be more successful not because they talk about more topics, but because they’re nearer to consimer’s view of a topic. Niche could work too (and Seth Godin would probably say only niches work as a target) as long as consumers are central to topics, engagement an discussion.
    Chrisler blog is about a company, workshifting blog is about people. This makes it broader: people usually don’t have such a narrowed down set of topics that they find interesting.
    Probably the most effective blogs are ones that choose a target (even niche) and set up a coherent list of themes that can work for it.
    Nice post, thank you.

  • http://www.heidicool.com/blog Heidi Cool

    I think the trick to a corporate blog is to come up with an editorial policy that positions the blog as a destination–someplace visitors will go for information, entertainment or whatever–even when they aren’t ready to buy.

    For that one needs a niche that is specific enough to serve a particular need and attract one’s target audience, but broad enough to offer sufficient variety. For example a dog food company might not want to blog about it’s product line, but it could easily build an audience of dog lovers around the topic of dogs in general. If said company becomes known as a helpful resource for information ranging from dog training to the history of dogs, etc. then dog owners have a reason to subscribe and read regularly.

    If in turn this builds their trust in the company, then readers are more likely to use its product than that of a competitor they don’t know as well.

    Additionally the blog can be the backbone of a social media campaign, as a destination that can be referenced on Facebook, in Tweets, on LinkedIn, etc.
    .-= Heidi Cool´s last blog ..SEO and reality: ranking first for ’subaqueous auto racing’ is only impressive if people actually search on that phrase =-.

  • http://www.heidicool.com/blog Heidi Cool

    I think the trick to a corporate blog is to come up with an editorial policy that positions the blog as a destination–someplace visitors will go for information, entertainment or whatever–even when they aren’t ready to buy.

    For that one needs a niche that is specific enough to serve a particular need and attract one’s target audience, but broad enough to offer sufficient variety. For example a dog food company might not want to blog about it’s product line, but it could easily build an audience of dog lovers around the topic of dogs in general. If said company becomes known as a helpful resource for information ranging from dog training to the history of dogs, etc. then dog owners have a reason to subscribe and read regularly.

    If in turn this builds their trust in the company, then readers are more likely to use its product than that of a competitor they don’t know as well.

    Additionally the blog can be the backbone of a social media campaign, as a destination that can be referenced on Facebook, in Tweets, on LinkedIn, etc.
    .-= Heidi Cool´s last blog ..SEO and reality: ranking first for ’subaqueous auto racing’ is only impressive if people actually search on that phrase =-.

  • http://twitter.com/sjoerdblauw/status/4050548989 sjoerdblauw

    Reading: The 4 types of corporate blogs: http://twurl.nl/ywbfgx

  • http://twitter.com/mpranikoff/status/4061788721 Michael Pranikoff

    Great read on the 4 Types of Corporate Blogs from @jaybaer http://budurl.com/fp85

  • http://twitter.com/gypsealeah/status/4063952061 Leah Kaiz

    Make it Bigger – The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Consulting – Co… http://bit.ly/B9GOe

  • http://twitter.com/dbabicz/status/4077518555 David Babicz

    RT @tweetmeme Make it Bigger – The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs: http://bit.ly/B9GOe #sc

  • http://twitter.com/shellykramer/status/4140206792 Shelly Kramer

    RT @tweetmeme Make it Bigger -The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs | http://bit.ly/B9GOe <good stuff!>

  • http://twitter.com/epwait/status/4140235119 Eric Wait

    RT @ShellyKramer: RT @tweetmeme Make it Bigger -The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs | http://bit.ly/B9GOe <good stuff!>

  • http://twitter.com/groupfriends/status/4143746497 The Group

    According to @jaybaer there are four types of corporate blogs http://bit.ly/689kK Is that it?

  • http://twitter.com/jeffhurt/status/4150413535 Jeff Hurt

    Make it Bigger – The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs by @jaybaer http://ow.ly/qflS

  • http://twitter.com/effectwebagency/status/4296309797 Effect Web Agency

    The four types of corporate blogs http://ow.ly/qyBs

  • http://twitter.com/crmtrends/status/4299505267 CRMTrends

    4 Types of Corporate Blogs – Which One Is Right For You? (#blogs #socialmedia #CRM): http://tinyurl.com/mqpna5

  • http://twitter.com/timbay/status/4307045938 Tim Bay

    Make it Bigger – The 4 Types of Corporate Blogs http://ow.ly/qC0X

  • http://www.pinnacledisplays.com/ steve

    hi Jay,
    You are right there are different styles of corporate blogs, and a corporation should chose one (and stick with it). The biggest problem that I see with corporate blogs are the ones that stumble back and forth and can’t make up their minds…
    PS. I am impressed by the sheer number of twitter comments you get. I’ve not seen that before. cool. steve

  • http://www.pinnacledisplays.com steve

    hi Jay,
    You are right there are different styles of corporate blogs, and a corporation should chose one (and stick with it). The biggest problem that I see with corporate blogs are the ones that stumble back and forth and can’t make up their minds…
    PS. I am impressed by the sheer number of twitter comments you get. I’ve not seen that before. cool. steve

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  • http://www.corporateshootingstars.com.au/ gleedaniel

    My blog is belong to Humanization blog. I really like talking people within the company. Their reaction is very important to help the company grows more stronger.

  • http://www.corporateshootingstars.com.au/ gleedaniel

    Yes, I agree that blogs plays a very important role of the company’s website. This will serve as the fuel for company’s success.