11 Tips to Blog for an Investor Audience

•    Make any corporate blog a collaborative effort. Include corporate communications, product groups, investor relations and information technology. Since online audiences converge, everyone needs to be on the same page, and you should have the Web analytic support to measure your progress and impact.

•    Establish clear policies stating who at your company can blog and what they can and cannot say. Although transparency is the end goal, legal compliance with Regulation FD and Rule 10b5 is paramount.

•    Start with an internal blog. This will help you find your blogging voice and learn which issues appeal most to your audience before you open up to the world.

•    Update and monitor the blog regularly. You can’t let the content get stale, and you must respond to your reader’s comments in a timely manner.

•    Use quiet periods creatively. Dell has used quiet periods to educate readers on new e-proxy procedures and on the company’s sustainability initiatives.

•    Remember that the blog is an extension of your brand. Make sure that the tone and look and feel of the blog is consistent with the essence of your corporate brand. Use the blog to enhance and to directly engage constituents with your brand image

•    Use online tools to proactively monitor what is being said about your company in the blogosphere. Seize the opportunity to respond, if necessary. Free tools such as Technorati, Google Alerts and Yahoo Blog Search can get you started.

•    Enable RSS feeds to push new posts to your readers. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) will automatically alert your readers when new material is posted on the blog, encouraging their participation.

•    Incorporate videos into your blogs for a richer reader experience. Cisco and Dell regularly interview company executives on their blogs to provide fresh color and insight on corporate strategies.

•    Use traditional methods to engage readers with your blog. Once up and running, publicize your blog on your Web site, through e-mail and in investor meetings. Direct constituents to your blog whenever relevant.

•    See this as an opportunity, not a task. Blogging enables you to take control of your company’s messaging and communication in the blogosphere, one of today’s most influential and fastest-moving channels. If you don’t engage in the conversation about your company, you risk letting others speak on your behalf.

These tips were written by Jennifer Farrelly, a researcher at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She can be reached at jennifer.farrelly@dartmouth.edu.