Corporate Blogger Russell Buckley

Blogging gives Russell Buckley of The Mobile Technology Weblog quality market exposure he couldn't get in any other way. Speaking about the corporate structures that restrains blogging, he says that "if you're worried about what employees might write about you, you've got some pretty fundamental problems in the company". Russell is the first European corporate blogger in my small survey, and of course I asked him about his opinion on the European trailing.

What do you expect/hope that the blog will deliver in terms of marketing and branding? Something different compared to other ways of communication?
It's a great way of raising personal and therefore your company's profile. It's also something I am doing as part of my job anyway - keeping up to date with what's happening, so blogging it is very little extra effort. In fact, blogging makes me analyse things more than I normally would too, which is a bonus.

But the specific benefit of marketing is that I get maybe 1,000 people to think about what I'm saying every day - and therefore thinking about me. While I hate the word, blogging can turn you into a guru quicker than any other way right now.

I couldn't get this kind of quality exposure in any other way. Even if I spent a million Euro's a year on advertising and marketing, nothing beats the fact that these people actively seek me out.

Has clients or prospects reacted in any way? What do they think?
It's difficult to say. Most/all are aware of the blog and most seem to like it. But I've only been going in this format for about 6 weeks, so early days.

Most corporate blog-examples we see are from the US. Why is that, do you think? Do you think that corporate blogs will become more significant in the UK, where you are, or in Europe as a whole?
I think that blogging generally is bigger over there (as is use of the net generally) and we've been slower to catch on. A surprising amount of people (business not technical) still don't know what blogging is, let alone understand the benefits of corporate blogging.

In the US, the profile of blogging has been higher too because of the media ownership over there. You don't get unbias reporting, so it was natural that blogging could and does fill that vacuum.

There's also a lot of fear in both traditional media (it circumvents the editorial process - dangerous for a publication) and businesses (how do we know what they'll write?). But frankly, if you're worried about what employees might write about you, you've got some pretty fundamental problems in the company.

Yes, I expect corporate blogging to really take off in 2005/6 in Europe, led by a few brave companies. Others will follow, but don't forget in the UK 50% of companies still don't have a website, so it'll be slower than you think.

The other thought I have is that for many companies a website is normally about attracting new business (generalisation, I know) and that once someone is a customer they may not ever go to the website. A blog is as much about communicating effectively with existing customers as attracting new ones. A clever corporate blog will create dialogue and feedback both ways. This adds value to the customer and the corporate blogger.

A marketing director (as an example) will think nothing of spending a morning attending focus group meetings of a few dozen customers. But if your blog takes off you can be meeting thousands of customers every day, without leaving your desk.

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