Forrester: Corporate Blogs Fail to Engage Customers

By writing blogs as if they were press releases, corporate blogs, often written by executives, have failed to capture their intended audiences in any meaningful way, Forrester says.

A new report by Forrester Research found that most corporate blogs kept by business-to-business (B2B) firms failed to energize their intended audiences and engage them in meaningful conversations about trends and products.

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The amount of blogs being started also experienced a setback. Back in 2006, Forrester counted 36 firms that had started promoting corporate blogs on their public websites. In 2007, the number of firms introducing a corporate blog dropped to 19.

But the blogs that exist right now are failing to capture an audience, Forrester says, and a big reason could be the content. Of 90 enterprise-sized companies with corporate blogs that Forrester examined, 71 percent of the content was "light company or business topics," with only 16 percent injecting "moderate personal insight" and only 13 percent using personal anecdotes.

About 56 percent of blogs "regurgitate company news or executive views."

The amount comments these corporate blogs received probably reflects customer reaction to such lackluster content. About 58 percent of blogs saw 1 or less comment per post. Sixteen percent received 1 comment and only 13 percent had more than one per post.

Currently, Forrester says, the majority of blogs read like "tired, warmed-over press releases."

To combat this problem, Forrester says, companies should encourage corporate bloggers to start conversations with readers rather than dominate the blog with product launch information. They should also have a clear objective (and "about this blog" area) that explains the blog's overall purpose to readers. Lastly, they should also get outside of text-only interactions, using pictures, videos and other forms of virtual media to engage readers.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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