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How to be a better blogger -- and still keep your day job

Take these tips from top corporate bloggers

By David Strom
May 29, 2006 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Blogs are everywhere these days, to be sure. So when I posted on Computerworld's blog a request for tips from the pros, I got flooded with information and plenty of tips -- not unlike what happens in the real world with blogs themselves.

"[It] is a new media, and we are all pioneers in this corporate/social experiment," said Y.F. Juan, director of product marketing at Accellion Inc., a computer vendor. How true.

"Blogs have the power to introduce new voices into the mix," said former IBM executive John Patrick. "Say you're a CIO who wants to develop some thought leadership around the need to rethink the company's approach to mobile workforce strategies. Blogs can give you access to the grass roots and to your peers that you might not otherwise have had." Patrick compared the precision and value of blogs to the free-for-all corporate intranet by labeling intranets as "the data dumpster -- everything is there, but you can't find what you want."

So while there are still no hard and fast rules, there is some general consensus on what to do and what not to do. Let's hear from the best corporate bloggers and what they've learned.

First, tell the truth

The first rule about blogging is that you need to be upfront and honest about all things good and bad. Search engines never forget. "If you make a mistake, admit it, learn from it, vow to do better next time, move on and keep on blogging," said one corporate blogger.

Part of being honest is how you talk about your competitors. Don't dis the competition, but don't be afraid to link to them if and when it is appropriate. Demonstrate that you are aware of the world around you and that you don't live in a bubble.

Another part of honesty is how you respond to attacks. "[A] company that can accept public criticism with grace and dignity looks good to current customers and prospects," said Peter Cervieri of ScribeStudio, a computer services vendor. "Be prepared for negativity. Develop a thick skin, be prepared to respond to attacks and help to clarify the root issue and corporate commitment to resolving issues -- do so quickly and sincerely," said Jeremiah Owyang, who writes a blog about corporate marketing called Jeremiah the Web Prophet.

Second, find your voice and stick to it

All of our bloggers agreed that they stay current by reading plenty of blogs themselves, and some even have the time to go to blogging conferences to meet with their peers. But it all starts with the written word.

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