9 keys to the perfect corporate blog

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Corporate blogs are a dime a dozen. These days, most brands have something that at least looks like a blog somewhere on their website. Some brands even update those blogs on a fairly regular basis. But simply having a blog isn't the end of the story. In fact, it's just the beginning, because whether your brand deals in entertainment, consumer-packed goods, services, or some other product, blogs must have one thing in common if they are to succeed: They must be compelling.

But what makes a blog compelling?

While the details are going to vary by brand, the key is to talk to your audience in an approachable way, says Deborah Ng, a professional blogger and part-time community manager for BlogTalkRadio.com.

"The purpose of using blogs and social media for businesses is to build up a community around a product or service," Ng says, adding that she is often hired for her "voice," which she describes as more casual than that of traditional corporate communications or a news story.

But highlighting that "less formal" voice isn't easy, and striking a balance between a casual discussion and a brand message is always a challenge. In fact, it's a constant balancing act, but one that will be aided by employing some of the following tips and keeping a close eye on brand blogs that are taking corporate blogging to a new level.
1. Smile
It may sound strange, but most corporate blogs miss an obvious detail right off the bat, says Doug Lowell, a partner and executive creative director at ID Branding, who advises his clients to post pictures of the blogger with each post so that users know who's talking to them.

Lowell points to Kodak's "A Thousand Words" blog as an example of corporate communications with a great personal touch.

While the tone of the blog may best be described as corporate/friendly, the pictures of the bloggers (members of Kodak's marketing team) don't wreak of the standard sales pitch. Of course, one added touch is that the bloggers often share personal stories and photos, giving the site a feeling of community.

I just took a trip to the beach with my family and had the bright idea of sending a kite up into the air with a video camera on it. I looked at my Kodak Zi6 and my Kodak Zx1... and then I looked at the ocean... and all I could picture was losing one of them forever if the kite took a dive bomb. The Zx1 is weather proof, but that's no help if a big fish eats it.

After many, many attempts that involved my Dad using massive amounts of duct tape, and my sister running down the beach like a nut -- we had liftoff.

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