A few months back I was invited to attend, as a speaker, an event on corporate blogging where the people in the audience were mostly PR Managers for different companies in my country. Along with the PowerPoint presentation, I have decided to also give those who attended the event more information on corporate blogging through an eBook I wrote at that time.

The following post is the first chapter of that eBook, translated into English. The rest of the chapters will be also published, over the next few days, except for the weekend. Now, let’s see what corporate blogging is about and if it is the right tool for you and your business.

1.1 Blog, Blogging, Blogosphere

The term blog, contracted form of weblog, defines a certain type of website where texts, photos, audio or video content are published in chronological order, much like an online diary.

Corporate bloggingThe first blogs date back to 1993 when the term was first introduced, but they only started to be used more frequently in 1998 when the first blog community, Open Diary, appeared.

The true hit of the online mainstream happened around 2002-2003, when the first blog reactions regarding the Iraq war were published and when Google acquired the Blogger.com platform, which allows any person with Internet access to create and maintain their own blog.

The Blogosphere comprises all public blogs and is defined as a community based on the theory that all existing blogs are somehow interconnected, often through blogrolls or links inserted in their content.

A blogroll is a list of links, commonly displayed in a blog’s sidebar. The links usually point to blogs the author deems relevant to the content of their own blog or simply wants to recommend to their readers.

Therefore, through blogrolls, it is believed that any two blogs can be connected through one or more intermediary links.

Blogs allow publishing content in a wide range of types and formats, and these types of content lead to a first classification of blogs:

  1. a. Classic blog – text content
  2. b. Photoblog – publishes photo content
  3. c. Videoblog – publishes video content
  4. Audioblog (podcast) – publishes audio content

Microblogs and tumbleblogs, both defined as blogs with extremely short entries, are two other blog formats gaining more and more popularity in the past few years.

Regardless of information format, the online publishing of content through blog platforms is called blogging, and the author of a blog is called blogger.

1.2 Corporate blogging

Once they have hit the spotlights, the blogs’ potential to communicate effectively was immediately noticed by companies.

Initially seen as a mere tool to promote products and services, blogs gradually became part of a company’s brand. Aside from placing a name and a logo on them, blogs granted companies a persona they could be associated with. In short, they made them human. The corporate blog managed to break the barrier between the “inaccessible company” and its customers.

The true value of a company is undoubtedly fueled by its employees’ individual values. But how exactly can these values be expressed? How can they be best presented to the world?

Blogs allow companies to position their employees as industry leaders through the opinions they publish, through the breakthroughs shared on the blog, all in a human, personal form that eases communication with customers.

A few companies that have successfully adopted the concept of blogs are:

Adobe – http://blogs.adobe.com/
Microsoft – http://www.microsoft.com/communities/blogs/ and http://blogs.msdn.com/
Google – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

The benefits of a well crafted and maintained blog are plenty, but is it the right tool for companies? Find out in the next chapters.

Other chapters of the Corporate Blogging Guide

Chapter 1: Introduction to Blogging (current)
Chapter 2: Critical Questions Before Launching a Corporate Blog
Chapter 3: Setting up Goals and Blog Positioning
Chapter 4: Types of Corporate Blogs
Chapter 5: Blog Editors & Editorial Policy
Chapter 6: Blogging Tips to Get You Started
Chapter 7: Blog Performance Tracking Tools

Photo credits to Peter Nielsen

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