Niccolo Machiavelli was, among other things, perhaps one of the first highly effective political "insider-pundits" in history. Think of him as an amalgamation of John McLaughlin, George Stephanopolous, and Pat Buchanan... a man who had keen insight on power and leadership in an age dominated by kings and princes.
Today is perhaps different... as one of my old Microsoft colleagues used to say, "This is war!!! Sitting in a meeting where we're talking about how to compete with Adobe is like Napoleon talking about the Russians!" I am not sure I buy that analogy altogether -- and the comparisons of business to war have been a bit overdone over the years.
However, I do believe that the concept of extending your influence & the influence of your organization is one reason to champion Web 2.0 projects for your enterprise. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to get started, assuming you do it right. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a blogging strategy for your company/organization:
- "Humanize" -- Until now, the corporate "veil" has been hard to pierce. Blogs, especially those with an honest tone, help make your business more approachable *and* interesting to follow for that matter.
- React quickly -- Many enterprises are seen as being slow to react to the outside world. Odds are you and your colleagues are following affairs that impact your company or the broader market. Get out there & talk about the issues.
- Influence -- Your industry is being defined through the interplay of customers, service providers, product marketers, etc. Make your point so your competitors don't make it for you.
- Fight misconceptions -- Every business has its detractors, who often don't understand the pressures or dynamics influencing decisions. I'm not suggesting that you go "open kimono", but people will often give you some rope if you explain what you can to them in an intelligent manner.
- Set the agenda -- Every business also has a strategy for moving forward -- a 3-5 year plan that helps position the business better for growth and capturing opportunity. A blog is an effective way to slowly steer the ship in a direction that benefits your business.
- Encourage participation -- The more customers and stakeholders invest time and energy in you, the better it is for your business. Get people talking, commenting, and working with each other. You will see the benefit over time.
Now... go back and reread the six reasons above but think about it from the internal operations of your business. Assume you would use blogging to communicate better with your own partners and employees instead of your customers. The same issues apply in either scenario.
The fact is that blogging is an extremely efficient way to communicate with people to achieve your business goals. The bar is low -- it takes just a little $$ and a few hours per week. And I don't know a modern day pundit who isn't out there, making his/her voice heard through the medium.