Forrester Research conducted a survey a while back about company blogs. Bad news first: Apparently readers don’t love them. In fact, participants in the survey said they don’t trust corporate blogs. The study, which looked at 90 blogs from Fortune 500 companies, described company blogs as dull, drab and unstimulating.
Ouch. We would take offense to such a gross over-generalization since we happen to be blogging for business experts… Except the sentiment is sort of true. Company-generated blogs are usually drably written and full of hooey about how great business is. I mean, boring, full of crap and untrustworthy are qualities we wouldn’t tolerate from friends — why should we expect readers to stick around for blogs that behave in the same manner?
Being trustworthy online is a big deal. In the sea of ads promising bigger paychecks, bigger social media followings and bigger body parts, brands that are real and tell it like it is stand out. Patagonia, Whole Foods and Starbucks are frequent faces on lists of the best corporate blogs. These brands take their information seriously while lightening up with their image. Mainly they come off knowledgeable and trustworthy. There isn’t a lot of posturing or posing from these brands. They are what they are, and they speak to followers of their blogs like their friends. Again, this goes a long, long way, especially considering our perception of corporate-generated blogs is not so pretty.
Other brands like Caterpillar use their blogs to reach out with knowledge about their products along with safety tips and updates. While even more beloved brands like Southwest Airlines and YouTube use their blogs to give an insight as to what happens at their companies, removing the shroud of secrecy and mystery between companies and followers.
Whatever approach businesses take, achieving trustworthy blog status really boils down to telling the truth, being reliable and being yourself.