The promise of social media marketing, of course, is that it’s easy to get off the ground. The platforms involve little or no cost, and it doesn’t take nearly as long to get them up and running for your company than most technology solutions. The reality, however, is far different. You need to plan, get approvals and make sure you can find people willing to give up some of their time to make your initiative a success. For corporate blogs, this is particularly true, given the commitment necessary to supply the sort of content that will resonate with your target market.
What many people don’t realize is that there are different ways to get a corporate blog off the ground. A full implementation may entail too much overhead, making a “lite” version more appropriate as a proof of concept. Before rushing to get people to give up resources to help make your dream a reality, take a look at the alternatives below. The first step may be a lot easier than you think.
1. Full launch: of course, this is the ideal approach. Plan and design a blog that incorporates your branding, addresses your functional requirements and reflects your company’s mission, vision and values. Then, you can populate it with the content most relevant to your target market and strategic objectives. Your company retains complete control over everything, right down to the servers your blog sits on. This approach tends to be a bit time-consuming and expensive, but the hours and cost contribute to risk mitigation, which can be especially important in large companies (or those in tight regulatory environments).
2. Start small: maybe a full blog that your company owns and runs completely is a tad aggressive given your resources or internal constraints. If this is the case, it might be more effective to start fast, and sacrifice a little bit of control. You can use a tool like Tumblr or WordPress.com. There’s no incremental technology expense, and you’ll be able to cut much of the overhead planning that would be needed for a full launch. Over time, you can evaluate the performance of these environments before graduating up to a fully internal corporate blogging environment.
3. Borrow a venue: if you run into headaches from your IT department or can’t get the budget you need to get your blog off the ground, you might want to consider borrowing one. Business Insider, for example, makes it easy for you to get started as a contributor. Set up an account, and use that as something of a corporate blog in the short term (Vibrant Media does a great job of this). You’ll be contributing content regularly to a section relevant to your business, and you’ll have a built in audience. Even if your content is relegated to the “contributors” sections, the internal content promotion that happens automatically on Business Insider will help you generate pageviews – the first step to building up your own audience. In practice, it looks more like an ongoing PR initiative than corporate blogging, so it might be easier to slip through your internal approval process.