The response from Forrester Research is it depends. But the bottom line is that based on survey research the firm released a report today, it’s time for some rethinking of corporate blogs. (To get the report you have to hand over some contact data).
Forrester found that 16% of the people who read company blogs trust them—less than every other form of content they asked about, including print media, direct mail, even corporate emails.
The funny thing from my perspective is that those that read blogs regularly trust corporate blogs more, though still less than most other forms of content. And 39% of those who blog at least once a month trust them, Forrester says.
Forrester has some advice for corporate blogging that works. (Flogging products isn’t one of the strategies….) Among the things they recommend is don’t blog about products, blog about customers’ problems. Blog if you’re a celeb like Amazon’s Bezos or Mark Cuban. Also, if you’re popular or inspire cult-like following, like Apple, it doesn’t matter what you blog. People will read it. And keep your employees blogging. A wide range of voices, like the thousands of bloggers at IBM and Sun, seems to have more credibility than just one corporate one.
But the old saw about blogging to have a voice? Forrester calls that the weakest rational of all. It’s only good for PR, which may be necessary if you’re Dell and under siege for your customer service. But putting a voice on what’s essentially press releases doesn’t make you more trustworthy. Inevitably, then, it seems like there’s much less room for corporate blogging than some companies think. And also less room to think that you might be taking people in through corporate blogging that’s all about spin.