One of the biggest areas that most company blogs seem to struggle with, is how to position its content. The natural inclination for many companies is to use a blog as strictly a promotional vehicle. But of course, readers are looking for information and content that will inform and entertain them.
And that usually means they expect a blog to be something more than simply a company's online brochure.
I recently spent some time examining Dell's blog Direct2Dell for my latest Company Blog Checkup.
In examining Direct2Dell, I found the blog did a fair job of positioning its content with the reader in mind. A decent mix of posts about the company, the technologies behind its products, and larger industry issues.
But I also noticed that Direct2Dell links to IdeaStorm on its sidebar. IdeaStorm is a site that Dell launched earlier this year that gives visitors the ability to post ideas on how Dell can improve its existing products and processes, as well thoughts on what the company should be offering. Users then vote each idea up or down in a fashion very similar to Digg. It's a wonderful idea, and a great way for Dell to give its current and potential customers a way to give the company invaluable feedback.
So why isn't Dell incorporating entries from IdeaStorm, into its blog? Since IdeaStorm is formed by reader submissions, doesn't it just make sense for Dell to post those ideas on its blog?
Dell could publish the most popular ideas on its blog, or even bring some of the most popular contributors in as writers for Direct2Dell. Who would better know what content Dell's blog readers want to read, than the readers themselves?
I think this all goes back to having the mindset of positioning a blog's content from the reader's point of view. Giving IdeaStorm contributors the chance to post their ideas on Direct2Dell would suddenly make the blog much more popular and relevant to its readers. And it would help give the blog some of the personality that it seems to be lacking, currently.
Many companies are struggling with this same problem, how to make their blogs more popular and useful to its readers. Often times, the road to solving this problem starts by asking the question, "Who are you blogging for?"
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