You can look at blogs in many ways. Some are silly, some don’t say a thing, some are really just mouthpieces for the marketing department, and often a good blog is a bit of everything. It can make a large company more personal and it can make a small company look larger but to do so you have to be honest about the company and what you’re doing.
The big value of company blogs, in my opinion, is that they create a dialog between the company and the end users. It’s a way for the technical folks to disseminate information to end users that would sometimes take months to come through official channels. For example, Aaron’s blog posts on how to create REALbasic plugins via Visual Studio 2005 are wonderful posts that in-leau of dedicated RS resources were the definitive source on the topic.
So can it let a big company look smaller and more personal? Absolutely! The blog makes it more intimate. Microsoft seems to have learned that being compared to the Borg is a bad thing and now link to some blogs made by employees. For them, allowing their employees to talk about things is healthy and allows more input from the community.
It can also let a small company (project?) look bigger. One example that comes to mind is the blog concerning The Cocotron, an open-source project that allows Cocoa developers to build for Windows. I have no idea how many people contribute on a regular basis to Cocotron but just by having a regularly updated blog they look bigger.
Another example is Rogue Amoeba’s blog. Sure, it’s mostly marketing, but it talks about bugs in the product and how they’ve fixed them. It also points to personal blogs where they talk about geeky, very technical stuff. It’s all good because it’s a dialog.
There are a fair number of people who blog regularly about REALbasic. Here are the blogs in my RSS list:
Oatmeal & Coffee
Random Writings From the Sticks
Software Made Simple
The ZAZ Blog
And finally, I check http://www.squidoo.com/realbasic on a regular basis to see what I’ve missed in the community. If I’ve missed your blog, please don’t take offense. Post your blog URL in the comments!
This all assumes that your employees can write intelligently (I generally see myself as barely adequate in this regard but people keep reading and making comments so I must be doing something right!). My advice would be that if you (or your employees) can’t write – don’t bother.
Topics to stay away from: religion, politics, sex, race, personal financial difficulties, and negative health issues. The absolute last thing you want to give to potential clients is a reason to not like you. And I guess that seems at odds a little from the above. If it’s your personal blog talk all you want about that stuff. If it’s a business oriented blog don’t alienate your customers!
I guess all I’m saying is that I wish RS would fill the void left by Aaron’s departure. I see it as a good way to personalize the company and yet get some useful information out there. Need some ideas on what to blog about? Just look at his suggestion box.