...the best writers left their websites for jobs with established media companies; established media companies asked these writers—along with many who really shouldn’t be in these jobs—to make content sound blog-ish; cross-site discourse fell off, with the power to shape a conversation aggregated among sites from which so much content now flows down a hierarchy; memes and traffic-generation schemes quickly eroded what had once been innovative ideas; a shared conversational tone predominated, suggesting that certain content was supposed to sound certain ways; a once open and growing system became a series of echo chambers as writers and readers congregated in various places where they could feel good about participating with each other. Websites have grown incredibly stale as a result, and most with passable content have lost differentiating elements.
Worst of all, as these changes crept across the internet and cemented a way to do business, so to speak, they reinforced the notion that everyone can be an expert while staying at home and living life behind a series of screens. [emphasis mine]
A Bay Area blogger asked me to share a few sentences about corporate or professional blogs. Basically, those built for PR purposes. He works for a museum that is thinking of starting a blog, and he asked me to impart some wisdom. I gave him this instead:
Things I think are important to consider when working with a corporate or otherwise professional blog:
- Be authentic and genuine. Have personality. Bland, boring press releases will be ignored. Consider have the blogger write in first person.
- Have fun with it. People need a reason to come *back* to a blog like one for your museum. Sure, they may go there the first time for info, but having engaging writing is key. Don't be afraid to loosen things up a bit.
- Participate in the blog community. If you don't read, link to or otherwise engage other bloggers your site will not see much traffic.
- Be transparent. Don't lie to people, they'll figure it out. Don't use wormy wording as businesses are so inclined to do. Don't use a bunch of industry lingo unless your site is geared specifically toward a niche group.
- Encourage participation. Don't make people jump through hoops to comment. Welcome dialogue and exchange.
I think there is a lot more to explore here, but this is a good jumping off point. Just remember that blogging provides an opportunity for readers to get to know the person behind the site or learn things they can't get elsewhere. Make it engaging and make it genuine and you will be surprised how much mileage you will get.