Fast Company

Blog FAIL: What was I thinking?!

About four or five years ago, when everyone started launching corporate blogs, a lot of people (myself included) thought it was OK to just use it as a medium to post press releases, without a lot of context. Like the scrunchie, that guy I dated sophomore year, and stirrup pants, this goes down in history as one of those “What was I thinking?” moments. 

 

People say hindsight is always 20/20, but why didn’t I at least add some insight, like a Q&A with the CEO or a customer review, to accompany the press release?  Maybe I was hoping that my extreme lack of creativity would have the opposite effect on people, making them think I was a genius. The “Modern Art” effect, if you will, similar to hanging a beer can on a wall and selling it to the Guggenheim.  Thank god people (hopefully myself included) have evolved.

 

The best blogs make you forget that they’re coming from a company.  One great example is Seventh Generation’s blog, which only periodically mentions their company, but never too overtly. Instead, they focus on information that their ideal “conscious consumer” would want to know about. In an entirely different league is their executive chairman Jeff Hollender’s blog, The Inspired Protagonist, which essentially provides mini-editorials and timely reactions to breaking news. His writing is smart but still accessible.  

 

I’ve been getting a lot of comic relief from The Onion lately, and thought, how else to portray the aforementioned “What was I thinking” moment but with a press release?

 

PRESS RELEASE: INTATECH BLOG READERS HAIL ERICA SALAMIDA AS THE GROUNDBREAKING LEADING PROVIDER OF WRITING SOLUTIONS
FOR THE CORPORATE WORLD

 

BOSTON, MA—NOVEMBER 12, 2005—Erica Salamida, the most creative person in the world, has found a groundbreaking new medium for distributing press releases – the corporate blog. Akin to the safety precaution announcement that precedes every passenger flight, the blog is the perfect medium to broadcast mission-critical information to a near-imprisoned audience.

 

“Erica Salamida’s press releases have made me an Intatech blog reader for life,” said John Salamida, who is in no way related to Erica, and definitely not her dad. “Who would have been so smart as to post press releases with absolutely no setup to a corporate blog, which clearly everyone who would want to purchase an Intatech product would read. My daughter – I mean – this person who I don’t know but think is a genius, is a game changer.”

 

On week 15 of the Intatech blog, when the press release was first posted, readership soared from 15 to 19 people (not all of whom work at Intatech). Click-through rates to the products page also increased by 56 percent, and not just from Erica clicking on the product link to make sure it worked 56 times.

 

“I’m thrilled to see that Erica is posting press releases like a banshee on our corporate blog,” said Karen Smith, CEO of Innatech. “We literally have no idea what else to write on that thing, and we wanted to make sure the rest of our industry wasn’t looking at us as followers because we didn’t have a blog. Thank God someone is there to post things and populate content. [Ken – why don’t we get the Dunkin Donuts coffee in the office instead of this generic crap!] Sorry, I was saying…yes, the blog is great. ”

 

Anyway, GUILTY as charged, let’s move on and pretend this never happened. What other great corporate blogs, or fatal mistakes, have you seen?

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