''Some ignore blogs, some fire employees who have them, a few have PR folks ghost write posts for management, while others are encouraging employees to start blogs,'' says Guy Creese a content management analyst with the Burton Group, an analyst firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As a result of its new-found fame, the editors of Datamation.com added a corporate blogging category to its Product of the Year 2006 awards.
Taking the top spot is iUpload Customer Conversation System by iUpload of Burlington, Ontario WordPress placed second, with BlogModule in third, followed by TeamPage 3.6 by Traction Software Inc. of Providence, R.I., and Moveable Type 3.2 by Six Apart Ltd. of San Francisco.
The iUpload Customer Conversation System makes it possible to quickly and inexpensively roll out a blogging program. iUpload styles the combination of the latest social media and content management tools as a ''market conversation system'' that improves internal and external communications, drives operational efficiencies and creates new marketing channels.
''Anything can be a blog post and iUpload enlists various capabilities to turn that post into other types of content,'' says Robin Hopper, CEO and founder of iUpload. ''At the core of the platform is a backend for liberating the best content from individual blogs and enabling that content across other web properties, including third-party applications, such as CRM and ERP systems and enterprise portals.''
iUpload also can impose an editorial layer between contribution and publishing. This lets companies designate some bloggers as ''trusted'' authors, allowing their posts to be published broadly, while content contributed by other authors must pass through a review process.
Hopper reports that more than 50 companies are using the product to date, including McDonald's and The New York Times Co.
Cannondale Bicycle Corp. of Bethel, Conn., for example, manufactures high-end bikes. It uses iUpload to engage its audience and drive sales.
''Conversations about our industry, company and products are taking place 24/7, with or without us,'' says Janet Maurice, head of Cannondale's web operations. ''In taking advantage of this new social media and facilitating community through iUpload, we are able to creatively build on our brand's cult following, while producing new products based upon our consumers' input, and promote cycling as a lifestyle of choice.''
Creese says blogs accomplish several purposes. They make the customer voice more visible, personalize the voice of the company, add more control during a crisis and create a platform for enthusiasts.
''iUpload can help gather disparate blog posts from multiple employees and platforms, and can be used as a clearing house to create a corporate blog that cherry picks the best posts out of all the employee posts,'' says Creese. ''This helps keeps the content amount up, and also gives a certain amount of control to the guardians of the corporate voice.''