Best practice

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Financial Times When it comes to blogging, Best Practice represents “Practices worth replicating.” Practices worth replicating are those that should be considered for adaptation by others with a reasoned adjustment to satisfy local circumstances, the regulatory framework and corporate governance (see also good practice or best practice?)

We have outlined some of the ropes you need to skip here:

examples of these mistakes see the good, the bad and the ugly)
for FT ComMetrics Blog Index – the winners are NOT …

We have also outlined some factors that you should keep in mind when benchmarking a blog or trying to copy best practice from other more successful blogs:

Measuring blogging performance: Comparisons that make sense
CEO-blogger, Facebook, Furl, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter – warning

All else being equal, developing the FT ComMetrics Blog Index and looking at the indicators as well as some additional measures we track we suggest you consider these best practices that we believe are worth copying for corporate blogs:

    post regularly (e.g., once every week on Tue – Thu – if possible same day),
    – offer an RSS feed as well as an option for people to get posts via e-mail ,
    – include content written by three or more employees (e.g., human resource expert posts on career, recruiting and training issues, another person posts on R&D matters or else all three address human resource matters),
    – secure succinctly written content that is perceived as valuable by your target audience,
    encourage commenting to make sure you join the conversation and treat commenters with great respect,
    don’t publish press releases on your blog, instead write a story and link to them,
    – find a personal voice for writing the content,
    – don’t just post about products but instead, address issues that help or are of value to your audience,
    – provide hyperlinks to additional material for downloading including research reports (e.g., from your R&D deptartment, universities and international agencies), and
    use multimedia wisely – graphics that tell me more than 1,000 words could are great but do not believe everybody wants to watch a short video

Who does stuff I may want to copy?
Glad you asked. Here are just some examples. In summer 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that US companies are permitted to use their websites to distribute market-sensitive information. In November, GE became one of the first to use a specific domain for a blog targeted at investors, shareholders and analysts (see www.gereports.com/). The site is sometimes updated several times during the workday and is the only source that provides unique information about cost-cutting efforts (for example at GE Capital). The site also features responses to articles that appear in traditional media.

Several car companies reported grim quarterly earnings, including Daimler (e.g., net loss of €1.3 billion [$ 1.7 billion]), which used its blog to better inform workers, suppliers and employees about the firm’s strategy to weather the storm (see blog.daimler.de/2009/04/28/ for details [in German]). Nissan has tried to do the same with its blog.

As the current economic crisis continues, more and more students with half-completed degrees are asking themselves if they should change their plans. What will happen to the very clever students who were headed for investment banking? Some companies use blogs to point out the opportunities they have to offer those looking to start or continue their careers. One successful example is Oracle’s oraclerecruiter.blogspot.com/, while Norwegian-based telecom group Telenor maintains trainee-blog.telenor.com/. Both blogs try to capitalize on students’ go-getter spirit during these recessionary times and try to get them to consider these companies as possible launch-pads for their careers.

The recession has taken a toll on real economy and financial firms around the globe. However, US bank Wells Fargo was probably the first ever company to launch a corporate blog putting the spotlight on its takeover of another firm, in this case Wachovia. The blog addressed issues such as how the takeover and revamp of operations would pay off for the firm, employees and shareholders. Moreover, its tone carefully avoids touting the end of the credit crisis and explains why earnings could remain volatile this year while nevertheless expressing cautious optimism (see blog.wellsfargo.com/wachovia/). The blog has slightly shifted its focus over time to remain relevant, from takeover effects on job security to Earth Day, corporate outreach and even discussing product innovations.

In this case, best practice means offering readers a blog with information that makes it easier to understand what changes follow a takeover. As importantly, why and how things will improve for employees and customers is also explained.

Bottom line
What matters most is whether you are reaching your target audience, which can be narrow and very focused. This does not necessarily mean large numbers of people read your posts, however. Engaging with the audience you want to have a relationship with is smart strategy.

Find out more about the  FT ComMetrics Blog Index using these links: Leaders by metric, What is top class, Methodology, Good and best practice, Lessons learned, Trends to watch, Your own index report, Free download: pdf report


Financial Times Relevant blog metrics for diary, personal and business blogs. Please subscribe now so you can claim your personal and/or corporate blog AND trace those that you want to compare yourself to. Check out the results from the 2009 FT ComMetrics Blog Index