I’m way late on the uptake here, but I haven’t been keeping up with my blog reading…
Last month Dana Blankenhorn wrote a piece titled Seven Rules for Corporate Blogs (via), with rules designed to prevent company blogs from giving the wrong impression or revealing too much about the company.
I like the idea of not giving the wrong impression, and not revealing too much, but I’m not sure I agree with the tips:
Have an outsider do it. An insider has better things to do and they’re too close to the story.
This makes little sense to me – it assumes first of all that blogging must be full time or nearly so, which isn’t the case. It also assumes that you won’t have or allow employee blogging, which is probably another mistake. How is an outsider going to write anything of meaningful relevance to your customer base when they’re, well, an outsider?
Make the blog about your space, the lifestyle or industry you’re a part of, and not about the company.
I’m not sure I agree with this one either – in many industries the customer isn’t buying a product but a relationship. By not blogging about the company, you’re kind of avoiding the real issue in a conspicuous way. This seems news & journalism biased. The easiest blog to start is a news aggregator, and every industry already has one too many. In this format it’s very hard to add value beyond editing and quick analysis, which means the value of the blog is tied to the value of the sources. Not good.
Yeah, a lot of companies are “sausage factories” as you say, but that doesn’t mean you have to show them the sausage.
Think of the blogger as a reporter. Encourage insiders with something to say to run their stuff by him (or her), but to understand it’s going to be dressed to go out before it goes out.
This makes sense.
Lay down the “thou shalt nots” beforehand, but don’t pre-screen. Nothing takes the life out of a blog more than editing.
Put the blog in a unique, corporate name, so if you fire the blogger you lose no equity in the blog.
A good idea, but given how long it takes just two people who are sleeping together to agree on a name, I wouldn’t make this a strong requirement if you want the blog out anytime soon. Wait, I’m not sure this is a good idea – if successful interesting blogs are written by a person, then not changing the blog’s name when the author changes is like marketing ghost-written books under a famous author’s name. Even so, I’m no convinced that a blog’s name means much of anything anyway.
Encourage feedback, and let the blogger pass it along through the chain of command. The blogger’s supervisor can be a gatekeeper for this communication.
Not sure what you mean here – I assume feedback on the blog, or on what’s in the blog, but given you already stated one shouldn’t blog about the company, why pass it to the chain of command or the worry about gate-keeping?
I think the “thou shalt nots” require a bit more attention than people normally think. This isn’t just “don’t swear or talk about the owner’s drinking problem”, but trade secrets and other sensitive areas need to be defined. They should be defined whether you have a blog or not.