Fortune 500 corporate blogging: Boeing, Chevron, Sun and Wal-Mart

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2008/10/07 · 9 comments 1 views

in d business Fortune 500

A company’s website is usually the first calling point for students getting ready to graduate and looking for jobs that they might want to apply for. Some companies may not really use their website for recruiting but, instead, try to improve branding or investor relations.

Whatever the blog tries to address, it certainly takes time and effort for successfully delivering the content your targeted audience is craving for. Most people talk about such things as:

how to make the most of a corporate blog,

which 50% of your marketing dollars are working?

But before we dive into all this important stuff, we have to agree what a corporate blog is and what it is not, as outlined below.

1 What is the difference between a business and a corporate blog?

Business blogs have been defined as those public blogs by company employees about the firm and its products and services (e.g., Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki). But such a definition is a bit too vague for our liking. We would like to use:

A corporate blog is a public blog by company employees about the firm’s products/services whereby copyright belongs to the company

Accordingly, employees running their own blog such as:

Rohit Bhargava ­ Vice President, Ogilvy PR , Jeremiah Owyang ­ Senior Strategist – Forrester Research

do not qualify as corporate blog using our definition. In both the above examples, neither does the firm have the copyright to the postings on these blogs, nor are the URLs/domains those used by the respective employers.

There are corporate blogs on domains different than those generally associated with the brand:

Oracle AppsLab or Mike Critelli, Executive Chairman, Pitney Bowes);

In both the above cases, the copyright is with the company, corporate logos are prominently shown and so forth.

Hence, copyright and corporate logos may be one indication that we are having a corporate blog in front of us.

2 What is the difference between a single event blog and ‘real’ blog?

Nevertheless, just because a blog is sponsored by a corporation does not make the blog a success either. While there is no ‘only way’ to blog, some employees exchange information and ideas with customers. And while one can design them more narrowly as well, a corporate blog covers more than one event, as illustrated with this blog.

Chevron Blog at World Petroleum Congress

The above blog was created for one conference, had numerous postings during the conference — and than it just died. There have been no postings on the above blog for months. One would expect that a corporate blog lives and continues to live. The Chevron example fails.

3 What is the difference between press releases versus a blog with corporate news?

The SEC has already agreed that news released on the corporate blog results in public disclosure

Nevertheless, this does not mean that a corporate blog works like a press release – or a blog is like one-way communication. An example how it should not be done is shown here:

Wal-Mart news – one way

In the above example, Wal-Mart publishes its news via the web and offers an RSS feed. But a blog lives by offering two-way communication. The company and its emploeeys publish interesting material while customers or suppliers can, if they wish, respond by leaving/writing a comment.

Of course, Wal-Mart does know how to do it right as this example shows:

Wal-Mart Checkout Blog

Next week we bring you three more criteria that one should use to determine if one has a corporate blog on one’s screen or a business blog instead.

What do you think? What classifies as a corporate blog and should employees be required to get permission before writing about what goes on at work?

Share your thoughts or work and blogging experiences in the comments below.

Please check out:
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  • Nils Koenig

    Hey Urs, you’re completely right. Most people just throw everything that comes from any company or business person onto the large basket, labelled “corporate blogs”.

    I agree to your definition to diffentiate the real CBs from blogs that are only somewhat related to a company, e.g. because its run by an employee. So how about agreeing to a comprehensive definition that covers the mentioned aspects?

    Here is a start for a definition what a corporate blog is:

      “A corporate blog is run on behalf of a company to promote or discuss the company’s products/services, strategy or processes. As well, the company features prominently as the initiator of the content and has the full copyright to all content published on the weblog. Furthermore, a corporate blog is updated regularly and used as one of the firm’s online communication channels.”
  • Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear Nils

    thanks for the comment. I like your definition a log. Just two things I want to add:

      a) I am not done with the criteria that must be met to qualify as a corporate blog (a few more coming your way in about a week :-) )

    So in part, this post was another attempt to clarify may own thoughts on this and your definition has helped me once again to focus better. Thank you.

  • Nils Koenig

    Ok great :-)

    So we can finetune the definition a bit further. Maybe we should add a “permanent” touch to better exclude event blogs as you described with the Chevron case.

    That might make it “one of the permanent firm’s online communication channels”. What do other readers think about this?

  • Peter

    Urs & Nils

    I don’t think permanent is maybe the word but posting regularly throughout the year might be one way to put it – see bottom of the post below:

    FT Global 500 – what is a corporate blog

    I believe that copyright is an important indicator as well. Moreover, regular posts throughout the year are surely another indicator that separates a corporate blog from others.

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