Despite the, ahem, misguided efforts of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the blogosphere, more and more top executives are venturing online via signed blogs or webpages. Corporate behemoths like GM, IBM (which also has set up an innovative employee blog), Marriott and Pitney Bowes as well as many medium sized and smaller companies (including this one) have begun to reach out to investors, employees and customers and even to defend themselves under fire- all in real time.
Obviously in larger Fortune 500 companies, it isn’t as though CEOs completely lose their minds, forget who they are and cannot wait to engage in the kind of unfiltered dialogue that characterizes blogging. (Although roughly 40 of the 500 biggest US companies now publish corporate blogs.) But for smaller and medium sized companies, think of it as a way to let people find out about your values, who you are and what you do by releasing a serialized narrative. As we have remarked previously, here and here, blogging and podcasting is a way to both present yourself but, perhaps more importantly, find out what your customers want or need.
Just building it will not make them come. You need to give them a reason to come, stay and come back again.