What first started out as a consumer phenomenon has turned into a growing corporate trend: Blogs now provide opportunities for organizations to interact and share their stories and thoughts online. As of 2007, there were a reported 100 million blogs; and as of July 2008, some 15 percent of Fortune 500 companies maintained one.

Accordingly, many marketers are now wondering how to create even more dynamic content and "stickiness" through this medium. Meanwhile, that next level of intimacy has already started to emerge—via video blogs, or vlogs.

Vlogs provide companies a way to foster a greater connection with their visitors when words tend to fail. These outlets offer an opportunity for customers to put faces, voices, and personality to the content. More importantly, vlogs are successful marketing tools that can increase online traffic and repeat business while also raising brand awareness and affinity even more so than text blogs.

Some companies looking to take the online video plunge may feel that doing so is too expense or time consuming. In fact, organizations of all shapes and sizes can launch a vlog for very little cost, because the quality of personal video production equipment has increased significantly over the past several years without a similar rise in prices. Some may also look toward outside firms for help.

Regardless of how a company goes about it, here are five rules that should be followed in order to create a successful vlog.

1. Be Honest

Business leaders are expected to uphold the highest level of integrity. Any type of posting or claim that a company makes in a vlog must be accurate; once it's posted, there's no turning back.

Be certain that the information conveyed won't cause harm to the organization's reputation afterward. Once lies are uncovered, it's difficult to recover. Should an accidental error in fact surface on a vlog posting, it is imperative to address it immediately.

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Brent Altomare is owner and executive producer of Groovy Like A Movie (www.groovylikeamovie.com), a multi-media production company in San Diego. Reach Brent via brent@groovylikeamovie.com.