Would-be professional firm bloggers have been asking me about the pros and cons of getting into this medium. I'm a fan - of course - but I accept there are risks. Here are some of the more common issues that get raised (in no particular order):
- Using a hosted service that is less than perfect. TypePad has had bundles of problems in the last few months. Despite offering additional free time with the service, they're getting into hot water with customers. One customer interpreted comments as blaming the customer. I can see why. A hosted service is great when you're starting out but until hosters like SixApart solve service problems, I'd recommend using a reliable ISP and developing a tailored site.
- Technology choice. There's a number of blog related tools out there but making this choice is not critical, unless you're using a hosted service for business purposes. I use TypePad, MovableType, WordPress and Drupal. They have different purposes and provide me with the chance to experiment. A lot depends on how much you want to get involved in the technology and the extent to which you have in-house CSS/HTML skills. For real geeks, PHP skills are indispensable.
- Finding a 'voice.' In my experience, this is one of the toughest problems of all to solve. Start working behind the firewall as certain firms are doing. Get your in-house staff to critique content before going public - and when you do go public, make sure there's relevant content.
- Site type - a tricky one. Thomas Crampton has an interesting analysis on this issue that talks about conversational, informational and polemical. I must admit I'm not sure about this. Looking over AccMan, all three types are represented. All seem to work in their own way. Maybe I need to decide on a very specific approach. Readers will decide the direction.
- Legal issues. It's fair to say most bloggers have little idea about the application of libel laws. Bottom line? It doesn't matter who you are, you're still subject to the laws of libel. There are plenty of guidelines out there but I find common sense works a treat.
- Exposure to risk. Everyone who engages with this media is taking a risk. The trick is in understanding where the risk lays. If for example you are promising something on which you can't deliver, then you're likely to get flamed. If you're doing something that's anathema to people you'll get roasted into submission. Like Sony.
I hope this list is useful.
Powered By Qumana