By Heather Angus-Lee

About Us page of Yamaha Bike BlogOne voice, big following – is this the formula for successful corporate blogging? Or, what about secondary voice(s) assisting a superstar executive? Here, I’m thinking of Alicia Dorset – she who is designated as “blog editor” on GM’s FastLane blog, quietly posting between chairman Bob Lutz’s missives.

She’s not a dreaded ghost blogger, since Alicia is identified by name… but who is she? Did she work at GM (as what?) before she took on the blog editor role? What expertise in GM or cars does she bring to the blog?

That kind of ‘street cred‘ is exactly what a group of Yamaha Motor Canada employees bring to a brand-new corporate blog, the Yamaha Bike Blog (their second).

The Bike Bloggers include:

  • bike mechanics
  • market reps
  • events coordinator
  • French translator
  • product manager
  • general services coordinator
  • compliance and product liability manager

(10 in all right now, with likely more employees to come).
None of the Yamaha bloggers have a corner office; all of them ride for pleasure and for work. These are the folks right in the thick of all things motorcycle - the ones steering into the curves on prototypes, wrenching, and developing everything from ad campaigns to product development cycles.

Safe parameters were set up on a Terms of Use page so users clearly understand what’s up for discussion and how. Same as was done when Social Media Group helped Yamaha launch its first corporate blog – for snowmobilers – called Sled Talk in Spring ’07.

We also worked with Yamaha to create “Ethics of Blogging” guidelines for all bloggers – a critical step, especially when you’ve got so many voices… they better all be singing in sync.

Risk management aside, going with a group blog addresses that chestnut of a concern about corporate blogging – the time it takes. “There is a way to get off the hook when it comes to the time demands of blogging…group or team blogs are becoming increasingly common,” writes Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book (a great introductory read).

Not only does the Yamaha Bike Blog team share the load in researching and composing the blog’s content, they can share the task of actually publishing their words – meaning that each of them can use the “dashboard” behind the blog to add links, photos, videos, etc. and make it go live.

And the collaboration goes one step further: we’ve equipped the Yamaha Bike Blog with a wiki in the dashboard, so that employees can go in and leave each other notes about what they plan to blog about and when (to avoid duplication) as well as type in suggestions to each other’s content to make it even stronger.

Certainly, for now, the psychological benefit of group blogging is immediate: all the Yamaha Canada employees participating are blogging newbies – so no one is going into the potentially scary blogosphere alone! (Anxiety loves company;)

Kudos to Yamaha Motor Canada for taking its second plunge into blogging. And hats off to the brave front-line workers who are starting a digital conversation with their customers and fellow bike fanatics!

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