Tuesday, May 31, 2005

CareerJournal | As Blogging Goes Corporate,

In its short lifespan, blogging has largely been a freewheeling exercise in online self-expression. Now it is also becoming a corporate job.

A small but growing number of businesses are hiring people to write blogs, otherwise known as Web logs, or frequently updated online journals. Companies are looking for candidates who can write in a conversational style about timely topics that would appeal to customers, clients and potential recruits.

Last year, Christine Halvorson was hired as chief blogger at Stonyfield Farm Inc., a Londonderry, N.H., organic yogurt company owned by Groupe Danone. She applied for the job after responding to an ad posted at Monster.com. A former freelance writer and Web content editor, Ms. Halvorson now writes four blogs for Stonyfield, including a blog about the company, the Daily Scoop, and Creating Healthy Kids, about healthy foods in schools. Her job entails researching, linking to news and providing personal insight.

"It's wonderful to write every day," Ms. Halvorson says. "The only challenge is keeping up with this rapidly changing blogging technology, like audio and video blogging," she adds. She earns an annual salary in the mid-$40,000s, she says.

Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield's chief executive, says he plans to hire one or two additional full-time bloggers within the next two years. "The blogs give us what we call a handshake with consumers, a bond of loyalty and mutual trust that's different than the typical selling relationship, where it's all about price," Mr. Hirshberg says. "With the blogs, we are giving a little bit more access to us as a people with a mission."

Mr. Hirshberg says he looks for candidates "who are comfortable writing in a colloquial voice and who aren't overly programmed in their approach to writing." He adds, "You have to be conversational, and that sounds simple, but it's not." (more)

By Sarah E. Needleman
Wall Street Journal


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