Low trust for corporate blogs

14 Dec 2008

There’s a lot more to corporate blogging than meets the eye.

While corporate blogs are being used increasingly as a way of establishing and developing better relationships with existing and potential customers, a new study has found that those who read company blogs actually don’t trust them very much.

The report by Forrester Research, which is based on data from Consumer Technographics, reveals that just 16pc of people who use company blogs say they trust them. In fact, trust levels for corporate blogs ranked lower than any other form of content asked about in the research, including broadcast and print media, and direct mail and email from companies.

Despite this fairly negative reaction, Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff (pictured) is not recommending that companies give up on their corporate blogging ideas just yet. Instead, he said, they need to adopt a more strategic approach. “Blogs make sense if they demonstrate thought leadership; fit into a larger groundswell strategy with communities, videos, or the like; or allow PR groups to respond to groundswell threats,” he pointed out in the report.

“Blogs that talk mostly about your products often aren’t worth the effort. If you’ve already created a blog like this, we recommend that you carefully measure results from that blog. Traffic is nice, but are the people visiting changing their attitudes about your company or buying your products?”

According to Bernoff, a blog that generates leads, links, positive reviews, buzz or PR is probably worth keeping. On the other hand, if it is not doing any of these things, or if it’s not possible to work out how to measure its value, it may be more effective to shut it down.

Bernoff believes that corporate blogging can work, just like any other marketing channel, but that it must be about the customer and not about the company. One of the approaches he recommends for avoiding low levels of trust is to blog about customers’ problem or something that they care about.

Pictured: Josh Bernoff, Forrester analyst

Read the full-length article on ead the full-length article on businessandleadership.com.