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The true potential of corporate blogging : enhancing our understanding on the blogosphere and its applicability for companies

Teelen, R.Th.J. (2012) The true potential of corporate blogging : enhancing our understanding on the blogosphere and its applicability for companies.

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Abstract:This study found that corporate blogging could be beneficial throughout the company and will remain a prominent competence for companies in the future. The long-form nature of blogs provides a unique opportunity for companies to discuss topics in-depth and to establish an online content hub, for which blogs are considered to be the critical backbone of a company’s Social Media strategy. This provides an ideal communication platform for knowledge-intensive companies to discuss their expertise and gather thought leadership, while bypassing the traditional media. Communicating through the new, social, media is becoming an increasingly important competence for companies, since customers are turning away from the traditional media and are seeking for a more personal and authentic approach. This radical change in the communication paradigm is a direct result of the developing internet, which can be defined as the defining technological revolution of our age. Right now, almost two billion people have Internet access and use the web to gather, create, revamp and distribute information around the world. The possibility for people to contribute to the web directly (a development dubbed ‘Web 2.0’) has opened up new channels, leading to an unimaginable wealth of knowledge. The internet empowers humanity by promising people an equal voice and potential. Hence, it poses a particular challenge to our notions of hierarchical power, ownership and creativity, which makes it increasingly meaningful for companies to enhance their understanding of Web 2.0 in order to optimally cope with the Web 2.0 environment. This study examined the effect the blogosphere has on the organizational environment and the values a company could reap through a corporate blog. In order to carry out this study and answer the research question, the research approach of this study is mainly explorative. However, a literature study has been conducted in order to examine prevalent theories and to identify the relevant list of themes for further research. This list of themes served as a rationale for conducting the primary data collection. The data collection method that was applied during the empirical part of this research is semi-structured interviews. For these in-depth interviews, a nonprobability sample of 5 experts within this field of research was identified and selected. Due to the complexity of the research topic, these interviews were focused on getting an understanding of the predefined list of themes (deductive), but also to seek and identify new insights with regard to the research topic. This study found that although the whole “hype” around corporate blogging has vanished, corporate blogging has an important function for companies in their Social Media strategy. The reason why the hype passed and some companies tend to ignore blogs and to prefer short-tools such as Facebook and Twitter, is directly related to the current unawareness of corporate blogging and its true potential for companies. Companies are expected to become increasingly aware of this true potential in the near future, which will lead to a higher adoption rate. This study aims to contribute to this state of awareness. First of all, this study examines the different natures of blogs and how these natures enable certain business competences. The main finding here is that blogs are considered to be a sender-oriented publishing platform, allowing companies to become publisher and to spread a real-time message themselves. This is considered a very valuable communication practice, since it is a low-cost solution, has a very wide range and can be utilized without any interference of the traditional media. It is therefore considered to be particularly suitable for SMEs, who often have but a limited PR and marketing budget. Secondly, this study has founded a comprehensive corporate classification model, that classifies four different genres of corporate blogs based on two dimensions, namely: the corporate blogs’ topic and the number of authors. In short, the four founded corporate blog genres are: 1. Employee blog. Internal or external blog, maintained by a single employee and focused on a company-driven topic. 2. Expert blog. External blog, maintained by a single employee and focused on a subject-driven topic. 3. Company blog. Internal or external blog, maintained by multiple employees and focused on a company-driven topic. 4. Topic blog. External blog, maintained by multiple employees and focused on a subject-driven topic. Lastly, this study found that although the values of corporate blogging can be numerous, a company should not engage unprepared. Over the years, the absence of a clear plan of approach has been a pitfall for many. Corporate blogging is a long-form publication platform and should be applied with a long-term perspective. It therefore requires patience and commitment, in which a clear plan of approach would be very beneficial and supportive. This study found that the following aspects should be elaborated on in the company’s blogging plan of approach: 1. The goal of the blog 2. The authors and the responsible of the blog 3. The value that the blog is going to add to the blogosphere/the topics to discuss 4. The metrics to determine the blogs´ ROI. 5. Blog policies and ethics. 6. The required competences and resources of the company, to be able to live up to this predefined plan of approach. In conclusion, this research has found that the blogosphere still holds many untapped opportunities for companies, because companies are insufficiently aware of the true potential of corporate blogging and the ethics and resources needed to succeed. However, the long-form nature of blogs provides a value that, especially with regard to the future, is considered to be of great importance within a company’s Social Media strategy. It is therefore to be expected that companies will pick up on this in the future and that corporate blogging will remain an important Social Media tool, or even grow in popularity, over the years. Based on these results, suggestions and recommendations for further research are outlined.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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