More on corporate blogging guidelines by David Pollard. He points out that there are 3 kinds of “corporate” blogs:

  • personal, employee blogs
  • official corporate blogs
  • internal blogs on a corporate intranet

And a 4th category: reading (and commenting on) other blogs as part of business research. I like the way he calls his advice for corporate blogging policies “cautious and perhaps controversial.” Notable points:

  • Develop a knowledge-sharing policy that covers all communications,
    not just blogs
    In other words, be aware that the line between personal and business communication is blurring. He writes: “Casual extra-corporate
    communications may inadvertently divulge confidential information,
    contravene the law, or embarrass the company.” So draw the line clearly on what is – or is not – appropriate, no matter what channel it’s being communicated through.
  • Respect employees’ rights  At the same time, he writes: “Any behaviour that is inappropriate for an employee
    to do in any other circumstance or environment (e.g. betraying confidentiality, or holding the
    employer up to ridicule) is equally inappropriate on a blog.”
  • Don’t
    have a policy on whether or not employees should or can have personal
    (It’s paternalistic, Pollard says.)
  • With
    rare exceptions, don’t have an ‘official’ company blog 
    Now there’s a controversial statement, given the growing number of blogs run by companies large and small. Dave’s take on corporate blogs: “Most
    people are skeptical of anything they read on official company sites,
    and that will usually negate any value they might have in making your
    company appear more personable and responsive to customers.”

While many of his comments are sensible, this one is not. Yes, a credible corporate blog may be more difficult to carry off. But to suggest that company-sponsored blogs just don’t work is short-sighted. It depends how the blog is written, who writes it, who reads it… and how the company computes the ROI of the blog.