The worst state imaginable in being a business blogger is when you’ve become predictable. It’s when readers can already presume what you’re going to write about even with just a glimpse of the headline or the article image. Readership will gradually lessen, and they may no longer regard you as a thought-leader or even a go-to blogger for insightful content.
Now if you’ve been writing like a cheerleader for your brand, perhaps it’s time to try something new. Why not, for once, be a critic of your own business?
A new study from the University of Utah and University of Connecticut entitled “Blog, Blogger, and the Firm: Can Negative Employee Posts Lead to Positive Outcomes?” suggests that when employees or marketers of a brand post “moderately” negative sentiments on the company blog, readers tend to view them as “credible” and in turn it increases readership.
Readers generally expect a blog post to be informative and share useful ideas, whether it’s done through speaking well or ill of a brand. While the former can clearly paint an image of advantage, the latter would make readers think that the author is honest enough to admit lapses in their operations, thus establishing a kind of “respect”.
For instance, a blog marketer may post an article about the Managed IT services that’s currently being offered by the company he works for. He may write about how the service doesn’t seem to be compatible with certain industries like hospitals or hotels. By pointing out such a failing, people from those industries may be encouraged to post comments about their business needs, thus addressing the issue. Meanwhile, people outside those industries would see how dedicated the company is in reaching out to as many industries as it could, all in the spirit of improving the delivery of the service to customers.
However, bloggers must not make it a habit: The study also concluded that too many negative articles on a corporate blog could over-inflict damages, overturning the positive response from readers. The authors suggest keeping the “constructive criticism” posts to around 15 to 20 %.
Again, it’s a matter of avoiding the eventual state of being predictable. The key in making a blog consistent in terms of support and readership is to always offer something fresh – in this case, highlighting a negative aspect and getting something positive out of it.