Corporate blogging: 7 best practices

Corporate blogging: 7 best practices

Blogs have become one of the best communication tools on the Web. They also provide consortia of all kinds to experience the kind of online community sentiment that was promoted by the first newsgroups and by the phenomenal success of AOL in the 1990s.

Blogs have also reached the corporate and government sectors.

Corporate blogging refers to a company that produces or supports a blog that it uses to achieve business objectives. As with anything, there are certain "best practices" that must be followed to ensure that your company gets maximum benefits.

1. Small print. Blogging can lead to legal problems. Companies must have real concerns about liability, exclusions and limitations and compensation. Although there are laws that protect against defamation, misappropriation and other injuries suffered as a result of Web publications, companies can still be held "indirectly" responsible for statements made by employees that are harmful to others. Since there are so many legal problems related to blogs, it is imperative that the site has some type of disclaimer and limitation of liability.

2. Know what you are doing. The corporate and legal communications department should educate senior management about what blogs are and how they can affect business. That way, they can be contributing members of the blog, further improving relationships with employees. Your support and participation is often what makes a blog more effective.

3. Create blog policies. In any medium where an employee is sharing information, there is the possibility of filtering trade secrets or financial information. Blogging also has a tendency to become personal. A company should have a list of policies regarding blogs to ensure that trade secrets are kept secret and that personal lives are not made public. Policies may include preventing financial information from being published, as well as serious consequences for anyone who uses the blog for negative publicity.

4. Avoid the marketing blog. Turning your blog into a shameless marketing campaign is a bad idea. Clients seek real answers and honest opinions. They will realize the lack of sincerity instantly. Use the blog for what it is, transparency. This is an opportunity to establish a real connection with your customers.

5. Keep it fresh. Blogs are generally judged by their amount of new content. Easy to add, they are designed to be constantly updated. For your readers to come back, make your content relevant and timely. Don't forget that content can include anything from product launches to job offers, recent news or thoughts from the CEO. It is practically impossible to run out of material.

6. Strengthen the core values   of the company. Use your blog to reflect the inner soul of your company: its mission, objectives and direction. A blog is just another means by which you interact with your customers and employees. It is another part of the brand experience. It must be consistent with the impression that the company wants to cause.

7. Encourage employees to use it. Create an atmosphere where you feel comfortable affirming your opinions and concerns. You will be surprised how the quietest employees will talk when they have that opportunity. With all the communication, blogs can become negative, so remind employees of the public nature of blogs and the ramifications of their actions.