We often talk to clients about being "Thought Leaders" in their space. One CEO Blog that we have always used as an example of delivering Thought Leadership in the Stem Cell Research market is Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (OTCBB: ACTC – News). The Chairman's Blog is now written by Interim-Chairman Gary Rabin.
ACTC is a former client that specializes in the development of cellular therapies for the treatment of rare and common diseases that impact millions of people worldwide. The company applies stem cell-based technologies and other proprietary methods in the area of regenerative medicine to bring patient-specific therapies from the lab to the bedside. So why did we lose them as a client? In a nutshell, the former chairman died suddenly in Boston and we are working to re-engage with the new management team. Regardless, The Chairman's Blog at ACTC is a great example of how a company can reachout to their investors, clients, and stakeholders.
Tom Johansmeyer of Social Times wrote his top 10 most important “ingredients” in a corporate blog:
1. Content: Let’s be realistic: you need a lot of content to make your corporate blog effective as a marketing tool. While you don’t need every post to be world-changing for your clients and prospects, roughly one out of five should be. In an ideal world, I’d suggest running multiple posts a day. Do the math on this. You need solid writing and editing capabilities.
2. Perspectives: how many people are contributing to your blog? While you may only have one writer, you do need many sources of information. Talk to executives and experts all over your organization. Ask them to contribute time for an interview, data for a chart or even bullet points for an article.
3. Talent: not everyone is a writer. It’s sad but true. It’s natural for people to want to express themselves, but a corporate blog isn’t a platform for that. Rather, it’s a tool for communicating a message. Remind your contributors and other corporate blog stakeholders of this fact. Hire (or otherwise engage) a talented writer to do the actual writing. This will make your content more accessible to your target market.
4. Accountability: yes, it’s an ingredient. In fact, it’s probably the most important one. There needs to be one person in charge. This person is ultimately responsible for ensuring that objectives are hit and that the process runs smoothly. Communication by committee is stupid. Process management by consensus is idiotic. At the end of the day, there must be a “single throat to choke” (to borrow the indelicate words of a former client).
5. Design: when I got started in corporate blogging, I downplayed the importance of visual impact. In the five years that have passed, I’ve changed my mind (take a look at this piece I wrote late last year). Include lots of visuals. Charts are best, but reality is such that you probably won’t have the resources to produce an endless supply. Photos and videos are great, too. When in doubt, even a closely related video on YouTube can be useful.
6. Editorial plan/calendar: I don’t care what you call it, as long as you know you need one. It doesn’t need to be etched in stone, but you should have a decent sense of when your major stories will be published. You can be flexible, especially with “filler,” but direction is crucial. Remember that you’ll be vying for the time and brain power of busy executives and experts – your editorial calendar will help you give them sufficient notice to contribute effectively.
7. Innovation and growth: your blog should look different every few years (or sooner) – and that includes functionality. If you have text and images now, plan for audio and video in the near future. Maybe you’ll want to protect some content behind a registration wall. Like your editorial calendar for the content side of your corporate blogging operation, you should have an upgrade/new features roadmap that you’ll use to mature the environment.
8. Public/media relations: you need to get the word out about your blog. You want readers, press pickups and so on. PR can help. Make sure you invest in developing the right (targeted) media contacts. The goal is to get them to see your corporate blog as an excellent source of ongoing story material.
9. Advertising: PR will get you only so far. Invest in some advertising on the likes of Google, LinkedIn and Facebook. Experiment with different environments to see where you get the best results. Over time, you’ll be able to modify your approach to maximize value.
10. Marketing integration: no blog is an island unto itself. As the PR and advertising points above suggest, you need to integrate your corporate blog into your broader marketing operation. Make sure everything is sync’ed up!