Like for a lot of folks these days the subject of business blogs and blogs as a business tool is occupying a lot of my thoughts. The ideas are flitting along like crazy, and indeed one of the problems with blogs in business is that they’re just so multi-purpose.
First there are all the internal uses, like serving as a storehouse for documents like trip reports that get distributed when created but not necessarily when needed, or creating collaboration on product innovation, or serving as a pulpit for various internal voices. Then you have external uses, which is where most of the attention has been focused in the blogosphere, such as promotion and brand-building. But which should come first?
The obvious temptation is to have the external blog come first, because that’s where all the “juicy” benefits come from. But there’s a lot of reasons to produce one or more internal blogs first, such as:
- Giving IT a chance to create a reasonably stable infrastructure. Probably not an issue with small companies using Blogger, but for larger ones where company data is more tightly regulated this is not always trivial.
- Discovering blogging talent. An internal blog may force a genius blogger or two out of the woodwork, allowing you to put your best foot forward when you create the external blog. The person who’s championing the blogging effort just might not be the best author you have.
- Learning the technical side of blogs. It’s very easy to put up a blog, but it’s less simple to manage it effectively. To ensure you can track traffic patterns, handle comments and track-backs and the associated spam effectively, and understand things like post-pages and category organization. None of this is complicated, but it can be a little frustrating to make a lot of visible changes to a blog that’s just gone ‘live’.
- Fine-tuning the concept. When I started Lornitropia I had a head full of visions, and I’m slowly learning that many of them aren’t compatible with each other. Blogs are so deceptively simple to start it’s really quite easy to make one that isn’t well thought-out. I’m also learning that the bloggers who I look at as being really coherent and well-conceived are very rarely on their first blog – it’s usually their third or fourth effort. Practice makes perfect!