• A blogging question

    Naturally, I follow many blogs. More than that, I pay attention to blogging–how blogs are used, what they do, how they relate, and what this blog has done for me.

    From all this observation, it’s clear that blogs can enhance the visibility, reputation, and influence (a little) of individuals. They can meaningfully support the mission of media organizations.

    My question is, how can blogs best be put to use by non-media firms and organizations? Many foundations and companies have blogs. From what I’ve seen they mostly don’t get much attention. Their content often seems not linked in to what’s important RIGHT NOW. They’re stodgy. Am I wrong?

    Can blogs be a useful component of non-media organizations? If so, how? Anybody noticed what I’ve noticed? Anybody thought about this? Anybody have answers?

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    • They can be stodgy. I think the real problem is that they lack follow through once a company understands how demanding blogging can be. It’s not something to be added to another employee’s job description; it’s going to take a separate commitment. That’s why they should hire me to do it for them. 🙂

      A not-for-profit group can really endear a following by keeping readers up on the specifics of their efforts. Funding will follow. A company can introduce a product, steer the message, suggests new uses for that product, and effectively manage any product or service complaints.

    • All I can say is that I greatly appreciatee the time and effort that you invest in this blog. Thought provoking, for sure, and my scientific background resonates with the emphasis on data. Thank you, thank you!

    • I second David above, Thanks.

    • I believe Mint (mint.com/blog/) is an excellent example of how a blog can be used for dual functions of advertising & driving customers to their primary product. They’re out there. Generally newer companies though, with an concentration in the online/web 2.0+ segment.

    • I went to Forbes for the Top 25 most admired companies for 2009. My rationale was that folks with trust in entities on the commercial side will most likely invest time and loyalty in their blog, assuming they have one.

      Here is their list:
      1 Apple
      2 Google
      3 Berkshire Hathaway
      4 Johnson & Johnson
      5 Amazon.com
      6 Procter & Gamble
      7 Toyota Motor
      8 Goldman Sachs Group
      9 Wal-Mart Stores
      10 Coca-Cola
      11 Microsoft
      12 Southwest Airlines
      13 FedEx
      14 McDonald’s
      15 IBM
      16 General Electric
      17 3M
      18 J.P. Morgan Chase
      19 Walt Disney
      20 Cisco Systems
      21 Costco Wholesale
      22* BMW
      22* Target
      24 Nike
      25 PepsiCo

      You would think Apple would have a blog brand. Disney or Nike? They all exist i would think, but perhaps we as blog consumers feel that scope of conversation too myopic, or even with the trust factor, there is a hidden bias or stealth eyes embedded in the content.

      Brad

      • I didn’t make it very clear in my post that I was mostly thinking about companies and foundations that focus on research or consulting. That is, organizations that do something close to what I do or are trying to be relevant to policy. My sense is that they aren’t perceived as independent enough. Moreover, their content is not plugged into the current debate enough.

        As for other types of companies, I can’t even imagine the point of reading a Coca-Cola blog, for example.

    • I think that what you describe is more common in the field of health care policy. If you look at foreign policy, there is more blog action, with much of it very current. There are active blogs on energy, agricultural issues and immigration, or at least blogs that frequently cover those topics. Given how much of our economy is taken up with health care, there are surprisingly few seriously blogging about it. Not sure why. I am disappointed that a rather small percentage of docs are engaged.

      Steve

    • At my firm, I am trying to start a research blog for healthcare policy issues. I work in R&D and i noticed there was a lack of blog content when it comes to healthcare topics. So, at least there will be one healthcare company blog coming online!

    • My guess would be Marginal Revolution has enhanced the reputation of GMU’s economics department. The blog would have to have a large following and in a field that the company was not already among the cream of the crop for anybody to tell much difference. I can’t really think of any blogs that meet those standards besides MR.