Garrison Keillor Harks Back For The Anointed Writer
History Of Corporate Blogging - Updated

Community Beats Celebrity In Social Media & Corporate Blogging

In figuring out how to run a successful social media practice and corporate blog at companies I've come to several conclusions over the years. That the Cluetrain Manifesto was right when it stated that people are on the web and talking with one another using publishing tools, but the manifesto was wrong when it came to suggesting individual employees want to talk with customers using social media channels. Well, actually I think they do, but if you expect an employee to become a writer over night with out direction, then I think you are headed for trouble.

Instead I think we have to think about what makes a successful community; peer pressure and the desire for social recognition, the opportunity for an individual to make a name for themselves and a connection with their colleagues. When an employee starts writing and there's no feedback from the wider community, motivation and morale go down, they don't see the immediate value, and often the corporate blog or social networking activity falls off. But if you have ever run a blog or any social media site, you'll know social media is about building relationships and an ongoing conversation with the wider community. It just takes time to build those relationships.

Don't leave content development to subject matter experts alone, instead build a mechanism for them to write together on topic, build a series of articles on a topic, and have several people contribute. Instead of thinking of individual contributions think about how your team of experts can contribute collectively. If you do that, even if a following in the audience has not developed, the social cohesion between the employees will keep motivation going so you will get to the place where your audience will have developed.

Best Buy's Twelpforce is a great example of this type of collective activity, the twitter account is, "A collective force of Best Buy technology pros offering tech advice in Tweet form." The Twitter account is supported by the BBYFeed website where you can search on questions and answers. The site works because you have a group of individuals discussing individual problems.

Instead of making a blog with multiple authors, develop a blog where the authors write on the same topics together, I think you will find community will help to keep motivation high.

My company, Pace Communications, is currently doing this with a series of reviews of the top newsstand magazines in the country.