Corporate narcissism: The single biggest mistake made on corporate blogs?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about corporate blogs recently.

More specifically, I’ve been asking myself how long it will take until corporate blogs are universally recognised and treated as an organisation’s most important external communications channel?

A lot has to happen between now and then, both from a production and perception stand-point, and it starts with the basics.

Yep, corporate blogs will never achieve what they are capable of until we, as communicators, get it right and get more stubborn about what is right and wrong.

To help get a mini-consensus on the most fundamental problems with corporate blogs, I asked a selection of smart cookies including Lee Odden, Jay Baer, Danny Brown, Kelli Schmith, Matt Singley, Trevor Young and Drew Benvie for their input on ‘what is the single biggest mistake made with corporate blogs’.

Here’s what came back…

The single biggest mistake made with corporate blogs is…

I thought I’d try and make this research as useful as possible by splitting this in two parts:

1. Feature the key themes / findings from the question posed (today)
2. Suggest some solutions on getting around these issues and some resources to help (later this week)

So, based on the answers of 30 industry thought-leaders, the single biggest problem with corporate blogs is…

The other popular themes / responses included:

As mentioned earlier, I’ll follow this post up later in the week with some thoughts on how to combat these issues, but in the meantime, enjoy the full responses from the lovely folk who helped make this post happen.

  • “They talk about themselves too much – often it’s like they’ve just re-posted heir press releases.” @TrevorYoung
  • “Treating blog content like advert copy.” @MarketingVeep
  • “A blog has to be authentic. Failing at that is far too common and has to be the biggest mistake.” @DrewB
  • “They aren’t adequately planned and so they dry up after a matter on months. Execs start with a burst of enthusiasm which can be quick to wane.” @Wadds
  • “Failure to acknowledge the work of commentators from outside the organisation.” @JoanneJacobs
  • “Lack of frequency and relevancy.” @WisdomLondon
  • “Faceless marketing messages.” @EmLeary
  • “Corporate narcism. Treating a blog like a distribution channel an engagement platform makes corporate blogs boring. Writing about topics the intended audience is actually interested in as well as making the effort to stimulate conversation attracts more readers/subscribers and opportunity to connect.” @LeeOdden
  • “Assuming people will read them.” @ArunSudhaman
  • “A failure to update with fresh, relevant content.” @Frank_Strong
  • “A lack of planning. You often see company blogs which have been set up without taking the time to think about the objectives and put a content plan in place. This tends to lead to a stream of company news and poorly targeted posts that are not relevant to the audience.” @Beth_Carroll
  • “Overt selling.” @DarylWillcox 
  • “I’ve recently launched a B2B financial services blog for my client, and after copious research, I think the lack of engagement is the biggest “mistake” (if you can call it that) Corporates still tend to use blogs as “broadcast” and still don’t have the hang of writing and publishing content that ignites/triggers response.” @brandguardian
  • “The lack of content guidance, direction and employee involvement.” @Fruchter
  • “Tone – companies often miss the mark and blog like robots – it’s easy to forget people are people whether they are in a suit or on a couch.” @munkyfonkey
  • “Putting up blog posts just isn’t enough; *engaging* with the community is where the real value lies. It’s astonishing how many corp blogs still manage to overlook this fact…” @WhatleyDude
  • “Boring content.” @markwschaefer
  • “Not being personable enough and missing the chance to give your company a more human voice.” @DannyBrown
  • “Not realizing that many of the things your and your corporate colleagues think are boring and banal are actually fascinating to your customers.” @JayBaer
  • “Far too many corporate blogs focus on the company and not on the reader.” @DaveFleet
  • “Not posting content that the audience cares about.” @JasonPeck
  • “Lack of “real” content…too many press releases, not enough behind-the-scenes or real-life engagement topics.” @mattsingley
  • “Without question, focusing too much on themselves and not enough on their customers and potential customers.” @ArikHanson
  • “Not being honest and open or adding corporate spin.” @JeffEspo
  • “Excessive self-centred chatter about the company. Companies spend too much time creating content about their own products and happenings and not enough Time being a resource about the industry.” @Jaxx09
  • “Using it as a one-size-fits-all communications sausage maker. Taking all the leftover content that’s about to go bad, regardless of where it comes from or who that content is created for, grinding it up, and repurposing it in hopes someone else will buy it.” @Steveology
  • “The mistake that I see repeatedly is to use the blog as a sales platform. From a corporate perspective there’s no point in blogging unless it produces a return and it’s very important to remember that. But a blog is not a place to publish press releases or push products/services continually. This approach displays a real lack of understanding of the nature of social media and sharing across the web. The key is balance.” @ThePaulSutton
  • “They are just the same as the corporate websites.” @pgeorgieva
  • “Touting their wares, rather than offering content audiences value.” @Brend_Awareness

Do you think corporate narcissism is the single biggest problem with corporate blogs?

Would you add anything to this list?

COMMScorner.com is the blog from Adam Vincenzini which focuses on social media and PR. Connect with Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his blog.

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