You’ve decided to start a corporate blog. Fantastic. There are some questions you’re going to have to answer.

When you begin down the corporate blogging road, there are a few things you’ll have to quickly decide on. What kind of content will you publish? How will the blog help you attract leads? What in the world are you going to blog about all the time? But one the most important questions to ask is who will be doing the blogging – will it be a team (multi-author) or a specific person (single-author)?

What strategy will be most valuable to the business?

Ultimately, the type of blog you create will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. However, here are some PROs and CONs to consider when deciding whether your corporate blogging strategy will build the blog or the blogger.

Single-Author Blogs

PROs

Personal connection: The power of the single-author blog comes from the strong personal connection the author is able to create with readers. When it’s a single voice people are hearing, they learn to trust it, to relate to it, and to recognize it. As the brand behind it, you benefit from that karma and from the star power that your blogger builds up. They become your public face. If you can position the person in the right way and they’re comfortable leading from that role, it can be a really powerful combination. Last month Ari Herzog asked do you read blogs or bloggers, which did a good job highlighting the power of these personal connections and how we start to recognize blogs by the people behind them.

Unified voice: Where many corporate blogs royally fall on their face is in their inability to develop a unified voice. A voice that speaks for the company, but also speaks to readers. When there’s a single author on the blog and that person has been handpicked for their voice, you start to develop a presence that is recognizable to your audience. This is what will keep them coming back and what brands your blog.

Total ownership: When there’s one person responsible for your blogs success, it helps keep them motivated and determined to make it a success. Because if the blog fails, then they failed. With multi-author blogs, it’s sometimes easy for to ignore that editorial calendar and start phoning in their efforts because no one feels responsible for the blog’s success.

CONs

Limited posting: When just one person at the wheel, it’s pretty impossible to think you’ll be able to keep up with the posting schedule of a multi-author blog. Blogging isn’t typically anyone’s sole responsibility, which means they’ll have to fit in with client projects, internal projects, and whatever else is on their plate. One person, two hands, limited time for blogging.

Limited expertise: It doesn’t matter how skilled that one person is – they can’t possibly be an expert on everything. That means your blog is going to be limited in the number of topics that you can authoritatively cover.

Won’t get in Google News: If you want to be included in the News results, one of the big sticking points is that you have multiple authors on your team to help you earn the needed street cred. One author? You’re probably not going to accepted for inclusion. Depending on your blogging goals, this may or may not be something you’re concerned with.

Multi-Author Blogs

PROs

Build a team of experts: With a team of bloggers dedicated to sharing their expertise, you’re able to cover a lot more ground and brand specific people as the go-to person for that topic. If it’s an Internet marketing blog, you can separate people cover your cover competencies (SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing, Link Building, etc). This approach helps the company to look more robust and shows off the true depth of your services, instead of just highlighting one area.

More people for readers to relate to: If your blogger is snarky and outspoken, a segment of your audience will dislike her and immediately declare her rude, arrogant and elitist. If your blogger is well-mannered and polite to everyone, a different segment of your audience will label him gutless and without opinion. With one person blogging, you can’t win. But by opening your blog to many authors, you can find different writing styles that will speak to different segments of your audience.

More hands on deck: More writers means your blog doesn’t go silent just because someone got sick, got married, went on vacation, or are simply swamped in client To Dos. Instead of panicking or finding someone new to blog that day, you can just insert another writer who your audience is already familiar with.

CONs

Work harder to create that personal touch: It’s my opinion that it’s more difficult to create as strong of a personal relationship with your audience with a multi-author blog than with a single-author. Multi-author blogs create a different vibe. It becomes more focused on the knowledge of the brand than the specific person. And while that’s not a bad thing (at all), it does cut out some of that personality and intimacy of forming a relationship with a single person. As a result, it may take longer for people to come to trust and feel connected to your blog. With so many voices, it’s hard to get to know any one of them intimately.

Finding good writers: Too many cooks in the kitchen have a tendency to spoil the meal, especially if some of those cools can barely boil water on their own. Finding competent bloggers – people who can not only WRITE authoritatively but who can make people give a damn – is a difficult task, especially in corporate blogging. You don’t need to do much more than read all the crappy, make-your-eyes-bleed blogs to understand that. More voices can sometimes lead to uneven quality if you don’t have multiple people on your team who know how to connect with people.

Weaker internal linking: You know when it’s really easy to reference or promote something that’s already been published on your blog or site? When you’re the person who wrote it. When you know that this piece of content actually exists. With many authors, sometimes you won’t know that there’s a post in your archives that perfectly explains what you’re trying to sum up. And that can lead to loss opportunities for exposure and/or ranking.

So which do you pick?

That’s for you to evaluate your resources, your goals, and the type of blog you want to create. However, I’m actually a pretty big fan of multi-author blogs because I think they give businesses the most bang for their buck in terms of investing in content production, branding, and ability to court leads. I think the success of last week’s Blogger Birthday Bash, which introduced everyone to the talent behind Outspoken Media, also served as a pretty good testament to that.

But what are your thoughts? Do you read blogs or bloggers?  Who do you prefer to read – one person or a team of folks wearing the same jersey?


About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.


7 thoughts on “Corporate Blogging: Build the Blog or The Blogger?


  • Mark Drapeau on said:

    Good article, agree with a lot of it. With our new Microsoft publication Publicyte (http://publicyte.com), we’re treating it as a multi-author digital magazine with a strong editor-in-chief, to have many of the pros for multiple authors described above, but to try to avoid the con of not having a unified voice/vision/feel.


  • Jason Stinnett at Internet Exposure on said:

    The approach we’ve found that works the best at our company is to have a couple people who regularly blog and do outreach, then occasionally bring in people from other parts of the company to round things out.

    Our core topic is internet marketing, and the audiences are potential clients and industry peers. It doesn’t take too many web developer posts to demonstrate to potential clients that we’re competent in this area (since the posts aren’t too accessible to someone outside of development) but we get to take advantage of pros like building a team of experts and more hands on deck.

    I also feel that, as your core bloggers gain prominence, the occasional writers gain a lot of authority by association. For example, there’s a few people at SEOmoz that only rarely post on their blog, but I go in assuming they’re an expert once I see that they’re on staff.


  • Laurie on said:

    How about multiple bloggers but one editor? Still time-consuming for the one who’s responsible for the editing, but more control over the tone and quality of the posts, and more opportunity to maintain uniform branding. As you pointed out, though (hopefully) everyone in an organization has an area of expertise, not everyone can write. In fact, sometimes it’s pretty frightening….


  • Jason Acidre on said:

    If all content can be submitted to only one editor, I think good internal linking is still possible, especially if the editor have access on the site’s content inventory.

    I think I’ll go with multi-authored blog (for corporate blogs), as it can make every necessary processes in blogging much faster, plus it’s also a good way to scale the ability of the establishment to showcase their expertise from different sectors of their organization (will actually be writing something related to this, I guess I’ll be linking to this post for a more comprehensive explanation of this area).


  • Brittany at Sprout Social on said:

    Oo tough call! Both options offer recognizable benefits. Can I say a mix of the two?

    Our blog, Sprout Social Insights, uses a team of writers to keep the content flowing and provide a range of opinions, but one editor keep the voice and quality of posts consistent. We also occasionally have guest posts from other parts of the company to mix things up. I think it’s a good approach because it doesn’t place all the writing responsibility on one person, but does allow for a unified voice and some blogger recognition.

    Brittany Morse | Sprout Social


  • Antown on said:

    To date, I am creating a corporate blog. The work is very heavy. Work alone. The whole search engine optimization, social networking, writing articles and web design lies squarely on my shoulders. Well, I already have experience in site promotion.
    I will be glad to any advice for promoting my corporate blog on search engines.


  • Nick Stamoulis on said:

    I think both approaches can work well. It probably also depends on the size of the company. If it’s on the smaller side, it probably makes sense just to have one voice. A larger company has different departments and it makes sense to have someone representing each department writing for the blog in order to cover all of the bases.


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