Sage Construction and Real Estate: How a big company gets blogging right

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Sage Construction and Real Estate received the most popular votes in the 2013 Best Construction Blog competition, but emerged with a second-place finish once the judging process concluded.

This reflects extremely well on the business, “part of Sage North America and Sage Group plc, a U.K. based leading global provider of business management software to small and medium sized companies.” (The corporatePR people asked me to insert that phrase.) Sage has more than 13,380 employees in 24 countries, including thousands in the U.S. and Canada.

The reason is that big businesses, with all of their advantages over-all, can have some rather serious disadvantages in the blogging process.

Effective blogs require “personality” (you need to have a sense of who is behind the blogging activity), independence, and cumulatively require a time and organizational commitment that can easily be subsumed in corporate bureaucracy.  Worse, there is the seeming bias in favor of the little guys.  In the case of the Best Construction Blog competition, this means a much smaller organization can trump the bigger business, even though Sage truly attracted the most votes.

This video interview with the blog’s managing editor Debra Carpenter-Beck shows some of the keys to a larger corporate blog success:

Diverse, relevant authors, who can speak their minds

Sage has co-ordinated a network of contributors who can add their specialized expertise and creativity to the picture

Some humor

The blog’s title Plumb Bob Square Rants of course plays on something familiar, Sponge Bob Square Pants, but the company says it is related to construction and blogging (rants).

Effective, but not overbearing, corporate controls

Obviously, corporate “systems” are behind the scenes here — for example, Deb had a representative from the company’s media relations group listen into the interview with me.  Policy manuals, guidelines and rules are needed for a corporate blog that doesn’t run off the rails. These however don’t need to be administered with a heavy hand.

Sage’s Plumb Bob Square Rants blog has only been around less than one year, but already is achieving the company’s objectives of enhancing search engine rankings, providing feeder material for other social media services, and enhancing the corporate image and brand.

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