Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: How Not to Blog

How Not to Blog

I ran across an example of bad corporate blogging this week. I’m not going to share the company name as I’m not certain that it was their intent to deceive their readers. Plus, I’m not actually sure they are behind the blogs in question. However, if any of the rest of you are thinking of trying out this approach, I just want to warn you that you are treading on thin ice. Most bloggers wouldn’t hesitate to publicly chastise you. Anyway, here’s what happened.

I have several Google alerts set up for companies that I follow. Two well-known B2B software providers are duking it out in the SaaS space and, frankly, I enjoy watching the show. Company A made a major announcement for a product release that targets Company B in a segment that many would say Company B had locked up.

Company B also had a recent announcement about this segment, but it didn’t seem to relate to their SaaS offering. I was surprised when I saw a blog post that framed the announcement as Company B’s response to Company A’s product release. Intrigued, I clicked on it.

The article, to its credit was written well. Not as a press release but as an honest assessment of the situation. I applaud the writer for at least getting the tone that the blog audience is typically looking for. However, since I understand the space and the two companies’ product offerings, I also saw through the message. It was a blatant example of corporate spin. Corporate spin is going to be hard for anyone to resist, but it is not what blog readers are looking for. Right there I was tempted to respond publicly, but decided it would be prudent to dig a little further.

Who wrote the article? Maybe I could connect with them privately to share my thoughts. If they are blogging, I assume that they care.

There was no name attached to the article. I looked at other posts on the blog. They appeared to be written by different writers, but most had no name attached. Some of them were compilations of opinions from analysts. There’s nothing wrong with having several authors but blog readers want to connect with bloggers. If I read something interesting, I will often see if the author is on LinkedIn so I can learn a little more about them. I might also Google them to see if they have published anything else.

There was no “about this blog” on the site. The blog name was (product name).org. My suspicions are that this is a corporate blog. If so, I think readers should feel doubly deceived. First, they tried to pass off corporate spin as honest opinion. Then, they don’t even stand up and say this is our blog and these opinions are ours – or at least the opinions of the individuals from our company who wrote them. Company B is a leader in their space. They ought to have more backbone than that!

If that weren’t enough, my Google alert brought up the same article posted on another blog. This blog was hosted by one of Company B’s resellers. Is there a chance that Company B is writing blog posts for their resellers to post on their own blogs? I think it is legit for the company to write their own blog post and then to encourage their resellers to post to it and add their own comments. To create corporate spin that other bloggers can pass off as their own thoughts seems like one of the worst offenses against the spirit of social media.

Of course, there is a chance that Company B isn’t behind this at all. But, I now have another Google alert set up with the title of the blog post to see if it pops up elsewhere. I will be watching this one!
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