Build a biz blog

Understanding the common pitfalls of why blogs fail can go a long way toward ensuring success.

Business blogging is currently a hot topic. Wisely, many organizations are embracing the concept of blogs as essential parts of the communications mix. When it comes to realizing the concept, however, things can sometimes fall apart. If a blog strategy isn't well thought out and properly executed, not even the splashiest of launches can make it a success. Understanding the common pitfalls of why blogs fail can go a long way toward ensuring success. Here are three reasons why business blogs don't reach their true potential.

Lack of a senior champion: Talk of blogging can create controversy inside a company. Blogs have a way of polarizing individuals based on their perceptions of the opportunities and risks inherent in new media. Typically, it's the young guard, at ease with the web and familiar with online communities, who advocate for the company blog. Every day that passes without a blog can seem like another day of missed opportunity for getting the corporate message out there.

Because blogging initiatives often start at a grassroots level, upper management is not likely participating in the early strategy discussions. Once the plan is well underway, and it's countdown till launch, senior management may get fearful and pull the plug because they don't see the strategic fit. Having a senior advocate on the blog-building team will help protect the initiative in its nascent stages. A senior advocate will also ensure that the voice of corporate strategy is properly conveyed, and will bridge the culture gap between those polarized by the benefits and risks of blogging.

A shortfall in commitment: It takes an enormous amount of work to make a blog effective. The investment required to design and program the site is minimal compared to the strategic thinking about how your brand lives and communicates your value in the blogosphere. Ultimately, the biggest factor in determining the success of a blog is the quality of the voice, personality and editorial content. Developing this demands both skill and elbow grease. It also requires the co-ordinated participation of employees across an organization. Some blogs fail once they reach the content-building stage because internally they are still perceived as experimental and are not assigned the proper resources (people or time) to get the job done properly.

Fear of Pandora's Box: Blogs generate dialogue with customer bases and informally gather website performance statistics. Having access to these insights can be compared to opening a Pandora's box. Suddenly, a company is privy to the opinions of some of its most engaged customers. Once in the open, these insights are difficult to ignore.

This feedback loop is one of the core benefits of a corporate blog. If a company is willing to incorporate the information it has garnered into product innovation, future marketing campaigns and overall strategy, then the value of a blog is realized. On the other hand, the truths learned may uncomfortably challenge operating assumptions and practices. A company may learn how out of sync it is with its customers, and it may have to make some painful changes.

Though the road to a successful blog can be bumpy, it's well worth the ride. By actively including senior management in the early strategy discussion, and by thoughtfully investing resources into building quality content, you can navigate the course with clarity and confidence.