Weblogs now seem to be finding commercial applications as marketing tools, and the business press is starting to pay attention to it – it is claimed to be the new market research, the new branding and the new R&D rolled into one. There’s a debate raging as to whether blogging should be done by journalists, copywriters, PR agencies or in-house staff. Of course, there’s another group who could be doing it – technical communicators. They can write clearly and they understand the organisation and the users.
We have always run the front page of our Web site and this newsletter as a hybrid blog (without a comment facility), and this month we have implemented a Cherryleaf Blog in order to complement this newsletter.
Blogging may also offer a better way for sharing knowledge *internally* around an organisation. Blogging is quick, easy, often informal, and collaborative. Microsoft has been an early pioneer of this approach, and it will be interesting to see if it is adopted by others.
What do you think of the future for blogs?
Blogging is undoubtedly “cool” at the moment (and I think we in the UK are only just beginning to tune into the idea). However, in contrast to so many “cool” ideas, I suspect there is a lot of genuine usefulness there too. In my day to day casual browsing, I find that more and more web content that I would class as “useful” is being present via a blog, rather than via a “traditional” web site. Though I haven’t used blog in a business sense myself, it has often struck me that the potential for collaborative work using blogs is immense. With so many opportunities for independently hosted blogs (such as blogger, which this blog and my own both use), I think this only increases the potential for business use: being able to share work related information without having to fight for the resources to do it within your own organisation is very powerful.
Not too long ago one of my friends warned me not to start blogging, joking that he thought it a cult. Certainly it is a very popular form of communication these days and effective, not only for individuals but companies as well. Blogs are an ideal place to relate news, discuss issues related to the industry, and to communicate with associates, clients and/or customers in real-time. Rather than talking at one’s audience via a traditional website, blogs invite dialogue, which can only be of benefit to companies interested in meeting customer need.