Choosing a voice for your company can be tough. I'm somewhat dealing with that at my current job right now. Not so much in deciding what the voice should be, but becoming a part of the voice.

At work, the developers have been asked if we would like to contribute to the company blog. The conflict of course, is the company message. To date, none of the blog posts have been very technical and have been aimed more at clients. There is nothing wrong with this stance, but it means that the kind of articles developers would write are of no interest to your readers. If you try to jam in the developer articles, they would have to be watered down. This is something I personally wouldn't want, as it can degrade my "stance," as minor as it may be, in the development community. To me, there is nothing worse than a "fluff" piece. If, however, you try to force those articles on your readers, you will alienate those readers. When you do that, you will splinter your company's voice.

A splintered voice is a tough thing to deal with. It confuses clients and possible interested developers. The developers see interesting development articles mixed with what they interpret as "fluff" articles, while the clients see articles they find interesting mixed with articles far beyond their comprehension.

That of course begs the question, which should you choose? I think there are three real options.

The first voice option is to stick with the articles aimed at clients. These are typically focused on marketing and other things that will drive sales to your company. Simple ways of showing value to clients. This is fine, but that means your blog is effectively a sales tool, so make sure you treat it as such. Make sure it stays up to date, which means having at least one post a week. If you can't keep that up, the blog looks like it is abandoned, which might cause you to lose possible sales.

Your second possible voice is to go the develop route. This can help you bring in additional talent, or just get developers interested in what your company is doing. This works well for companies like 37 Signals and Google. They write articles that speak to developers and bring in great talent. It also allows them to be leaders in web development. I personally like is approach, but I am a developer after all.

Your third option, if you don't want to choose or can't choose from the other two options, is to have two separate blogs. They don't necessarily have to be completely segregated from one another, but they should be viewable separately. This gives you a best of both worlds option, and keeps the voice fragmentation to a minimum. It is a way to have your client targeted articles easily available to clients, while keeping them away from the more technical articles that they are most likely not interested in. It also allows you to build a development community around you, that can be leveraged to find new talent, amongst other things. Additionally, if there are people interested in both streams if content, there is nothing stopping them from reading both. This causes some fragmentation of voice, as there could be some opposing views between the two blogs, but it also provides the opportunity to create a real conversation that can open up communication between e two thought processes.
AuthorMichael Cantrell
CategoriesRandom Thoughts