The biggest challenge for blog authors is creating a unique “voice”: what is the identity you wish to portray? The values you want to embody? The personality traits your writing will personify (albeit in shallow two-dimensional form)? As the blog format morphs from a personal and interactive medium to a corporate communications vehicle, it will prove increasingly difficult to maintain a common “voice” across a stable of authors contributing to a corporate blog.
A “voice” is especially difficult for an amalgam blog to maintain. By amalgam I mean a blog fed by multiple authors, all trying to work through one common identity. Like Strumpette.* In one particularly testy exchange over the last thirty six hours, Strumpette’s “Amanda Chapel” character has posted comments ranging in tone from vitriolic to apologetic to dismissive.
Strumpette is a unique character, created in part to shake, rattle and roil the insular “PR blogging” community.
Corporate blogs, on the other hand, need to be better managed. Not in great detail, and not to the point of censorship. Rather, an effective corporate blog needs to identify its vision at the outset, and explain how the community of authors assigned to the blog will be working towards that vision.
Acknowledge that different voices will be expressing themselves, and identify how those voices will contribute to the discussion. What is their individual background? What are their professional and personal preoccupations? (To a point – who needs to know about the VP’s fondness for vacations in Thailand?) Why should we listen to them? Believe them? Trust them?
With careful blog design, category identification and tag selection, a conversation can be maintained across a number of authors – to the benefit of the reader as well as the mother ship paying the bills.
* – “Also, for the record, as has been written variously, “Amanda” is comprised of a group of people, friends and colleagues, the majority of which are women. ” Strumpette