Who should blog at a company?

Blogging tips for companies, and an interview with JupiterMedia CEO Alan Meckler
Stephen Baker

It's a crucial question all businesses face, and it's going to generate gazillions of posts on this blog, and even more responses. Who should blog at a company? And what sort of guidelines should they follow?

It's easiest for blogging CEOs, especially those like JupiterMedia CEO Alan Meckler, who owns a big slug of his company. He's been blogging for a year and a half and gets several thousand page views a day. He says: "I’m the largest stock holder in my company. If I weren’t, I’d be more concerned about what the board would think... A lot of people, to do what I’m doing, would have to get check offs from the legal department, and to cover their ass."

Meckler uses his blog to trade ideas, and to hold up Jupiter's brand in the blogosphere. He's not shy about going on the attack.

But how about those of us who don't sit in the corner office. Which of us should blog? Who does it right? Who doesn't? I'd like to get some discussion on this. Meantime, here are some useful pointers from Susan Solomon, a marketing professor in California.

And for those with an extra minute for reading, here are some more nuggets from Meckler. They're from an interview we did for the cover story. Lots of interviews didn't make it into the story. We'll look for ways to slip bits and pieces into the blog.

BW: How did the blog start?
Meckler: “It looked like an interesting sort of way for the CEO to get the message out. I felt I could turn the blog into Internet media commentary. I evolved over the next year
I now write more frequently. I write nearly every day, from 50 to 300 or 400 words. It’s therapeutic, and beneficial for the company.”

BW: Is it frank?
Meckler: “I call it the way I see it, within reason. I write about what I think is happening on the Net. I try to weave in as often as I can how we’re doing as a company, using it as a promotional tool. I’m not trying to hide the fact.”

BW: Does the PR staff oversee it?
Meckler: “I am the PR department. I don’t even have a secretary. I have an editorial director. Occasionally I will confer with him.”

BW: Will blogs be a big business?
Meckler: I’m somewhat jaundiced about the real economic impact, in terms of revenue. About 99.99% of all blogs are essentially worthless. It’s another medium, that’s all it is.

BW: Are the comments valuable for you?
Meckler: “I just opened up recently comments on my blog. Some are very critical of me. Unfortunately, spam has found its way to those comments. In any given day, I’ll get 20 to 30 comments. Four are valid, the rest are spam.”

BW: What do you have to watch out for?
Meckler: “Being a public company, one has to be very careful. If I write about the company, I’m not giving away inside information. I don’t write this to pump the stock.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.