Selecting a corporate blogging platform hasn’t been very interesting lately. Nimble solutions like Tumblr or Posterous aren’t feature-heavy enough. Open Source options WordPress or Typepad are okay, but are often thwarted by corporate IT departments for being too “unstable” or “virus prone” or whatever new term IT has come up with to mask their disinterest in learning something new. Enterprise platforms have pluses and minuses with most of the latter being pricey when you look at WordPress and see zero dollars for software investment.
As you know by now, I use WordPress here at Social Media Explorer and recommend it for certain types of blogs. You should also know that I work with Compendium Blogware and even have a client on their platform now because of its enterprise-level solution for companies wanting to target multiple keywords and use their blog engine as a search engine magnet. But I still have to seek out other blog solutions for various reasons when the client’s need doesn’t fit one of those two.
Innogage is a business class blogging platform built on a WordPress core, but juiced up to provide an elegant solution for team or group blogs. It has lots of the enterprise level bells and whistles bigger solutions like Compendium, Sharepoint, Lotus Connections or Awareness Networks have. (Note: The latter two are much more robust than blogging platforms, but beyond Moveable Type there’s not a lot of neat stuff out there to be had.)
The strength of Innogage is that is is based on WordPress. If you’re familiar with blogging at all, or have used WordPress before, it’ll be like slipping on a tailor-made suit rather than the J.C. Penney special you’ve had since high school. What they’ve added to WordPress that makes it a contender for your corporate or company blog solution includes:
- Group workflow management – Beyond the administrator/editor/author levels in WordPress, Innogage allows you to manage assignments and workflow across your group in a much more intuitive manner. The system even allows you to send time-based reminders to authors that they’re due to post a new entry. It even allows you to set an administrative tattle tell reminder to report back when the staff ignores their reminder. And the reporting detail you get by blogger, by post, etc., is pretty strong.
- In-context Automated Links – The upper tier pricing levels of Innogage allow you to set certain words or phrases to auto link to specific URLs whenever they are used. If you’re me and you write something about your social media keynote speaker role, the system knows to have “social media keynote speaker” automatically link to my social media speaker website. And the system lets the author override the auto links if need be and knows not to link each instance in one post or overwrite any manually added link.
- Built-In SEO Tips – Much like Scribe SEO, Innogage offers a built-in SEO tip widget that offers you suggested keywords and optimization tips while you compose your post. It’s a stronger effort than other similar offerings I’ve seen because it delivers Scribe-type tips and instruction on improving the SEO value of your post, but in near-real time while you adjust.
- The Armada – Innogage attacks the long-tail in a similar fashion to Compendium, pulling keyword-targeted landing pages out of the content you provide. The way they do it is more behind the scenes than Compendium, so as a user you don’t really see it or even know it’s happening, but it is. Their approach is a smart solution to grabbing those multiple word searchers who know exactly what they want and search for it.
- Conversion-Focused – Probably the most appealing thing about Innogage to me is that they are keenly focused on conversion drivers. Depending upon your strategic purpose for blogging, they have the standard “buy now” or similar call-to-action buttons on their sidebars as defaults. But, as CEO Tom Williams pointed out, “The sidebar is under attack. In RSS, mobile and email platforms, you lose that action.” Williams’s solutions include the auto links but then also an automated call-to-action that appears at the bottom of each post. These CTAs appear in every version of your post, regardless of platform and have helped one Innogage client move the needle to the tune of 80% ROI in 60 days of using the platform.
While I’m not sure they’ve got quite the conversion case studies Compendium offers, that probably because of the age of their tool. Compendium has been around a bit longer.
Innogage’s pricing structure is what I would call medium, or nice for the small- to medium-sized business that knows it needs more than a free solution, but doesn’t want to break the bank. They aren’t public with their pricing, but you’re probably looking at less than $1000 per month for a typical, small- to medium-size corporate blog after a setup fee you’ll find with most corporate solutions.
Williams promises more features soon to come, and even told me he wished I’d wait a couple weeks on this because they’re redesigning their corporate website, so keep an eye on them. It’s a solution that certainly meets a lot of expectations out of a company blog tool and does so at a decent price.
What corporate blogging solutions have you reviewed? What do you use? What are the hidden gems and bells and whistles you’ve found? Tell us about them in the comments.