Give Corporate Bloggers A Voice

03/28/2005

Last week I had the pleasure of working with Wayne Pelletier, Interactive Creative Director - 360.com, Inc., to develop the firm's internal and external blogging guidelines.  In keeping with 360i.com's culture, and the "mantra" of the blogosphere - Honesty. Transparency. Passion. (which by the way are very much aligned), we put together a pretty decent draft.

However, something seemed to be off. The guidelines made sense to us. What was it then?

Although corporate blogging guidelines will be written in a style that complements other company directives, blogging is not like other initiatives. When good bloggers blog, they give a part of themselves. No other form of marketing communication comes close to blogging in terms of establishing intimacy between blogger and reader.

So what was missing?  Light bulb moment! The bloggers' input. Of course, 360i.com wanted to create a corporate document that integrated bloggers into the process. An important element of the guidelines was a Blogging Ethics Manifesto. The manifesto would be the "soul" of the guidelines and who better to create that but the bloggers themselves?

Thoughts were to hold a session with the bloggers to develop the document. However, as Wayne put it, "The idea hit a wall." People cared but were too busy to add one more action item to their to do lists. But they wanted to be involved.

A list of initial concepts had been previously developed. Wayne suggested that the bloggers identify 10 major ideas (from the list) and reword them in their own language. He scored a home run...that was do-able.

When (its not an "if" any longer) your company or clients develop corporate blogging guidelines, keep in mind the importance of ensuring that bloggers are given a voice in the process. Blogging is a look through a virtual window into an organization - complements of the people who are the organization. Makes sense to me to ask for their opinions and solicit their feedback.

To help you develop your own Blogging Ethics Manifesto here are a few ideas. Keep in mind these are beginning concepts only. It's up to you to polish those that make sense for your company and toss out those that don't fit with your beliefs.

      1. Be truthful
2. Be deliberate and accurate
3. Acknowledge and correct mistakes immediately
4. Do not delete a post; preserve the original  and use notations to show where changes were made. (Legal exceptions may apply.)
5. Never delete comments unless they are spam, off topic, personal attacks. Only the blog manager has the authority to delete comments.
6. Reply promptly to emails and comments when appropriate
7. Feel free to disagree - but respectfully
8. Liberally link -  to sources, resources and original blog discussions
9. Disclose conflicts of interest
10. Respect confidentiality agreements
11. Do not expose proprietary information
12. Be cautious with 3rd party information
13. Respect employees, customers, competitors - current and past
14. Identify your self and speak for yourself
15. Be cautions how you present and offer support or advice
16. Think about readers' reactions before you hit publish
17. Before you post on a new blog, read a few posts and other comments
18. If your life is in turmoil and you are unhappy don't post that day (Thanks to Robert)
19. Keep private issues and topics that would jeopardize personal and work relationships
20. Blog from your heart
21. Be polite

Your challenge is to create a document that reflects the soul of your organization while maintaining the integrity of the soul of blogging. For some companies will be as easy as a flip of a puffy boa. For other firms those pretty feathers will cause a few sneezes.

Sidebar: 360i.com Inc.will chronicle the entire process on their new corporate to-be-launched blog


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Comments

I just posted an "Insights from Favorite Blogs" article which includes a quote from this post.

#19, #6, #7, #8 are of great concern to me lately.

Good list.

We need to post more lists like this. People like lists, they help them check their own work.

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate on Apr 2, 2005 10:04:39 PM

I love your list too. The combination of #18 & #19 should be printed at the top of every PC screen!

Case

Posted by: Business Growth on Jun 30, 2005 9:21:09 PM

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