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What makes a successful corporate blog? Northeastern University thorough study

A new study by Northeastern University Professor Walter Carl and John Cass at Backbone Media Inc. answers what makes a successful corporate blog? The full study is lengthy and detailed, making for a great resource for marketing professionals who need materials for a blog proposal being made to law firm or company management.

According to the study, five factors consistently contributed to the success or failure of a blog:

  1. Culture: If a company has particular cultural traits worth revealing or a bad reputation it wants to repudiate, blogging can be an attractive option.
  2. Transparency: Critical to establishing credibility and trust with an audience. People want to see an honest portrayal of a company and know that there are not ulterior motives behind the blog. Blog audiences respect a willingness to disclose all points of view on a subject.
  3. Time: It takes a lot of time to set up, research and write a quality blog. Companies need to identify a person who has the time or whose schedule is freed up to make the time, or need to engage a group of people to share the responsibility.
  4. Dialogue: A company’s ability and willingness to engage in a dialogue with their customer base about topics that the customer base is interested in is critical to its blogging success.
  5. Entertaining writing style and personalization: A blogger’s writing style and how much they are willing to reveal about their life, experience and opinions brings human interest to a blog, helps build a personal connection with readers and will keep people reading.

The study also identified four factors in blog planning that led to success.

  1. Strategic planning: Important to develop clear blogging goals in advance.
  2. Blogger selection: Important to pick someone who is, among other things, open to listening to the audience, has a passion for the topic, is a good writer and has a friendly approach.
  3. Reading other blogs: Critical to read other blogs in your industry to gain understanding of your industry’s blogging community.
  4. Practice with an internal blog before going external: Helps employees become familiar with blogging and makes for a smoother transition to the external community.

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