Philippe Borremans points out to a survey that Leads United, a Belgian PR agency (without a blog), performed on corporate blogging. It’s the result of 70 in-depth interviews with companies & government bodies.
The results aren’t looking good, yet that’s hardly a surprise. I’m also having some thoughts on how the whole corporate blogging idea is being approached. This is mainly because having a corporate blog sometimes is presented as the key element to be part of the conversation, and I just disagree. Just like I presented on the IAB Netcafé recently, there are many ways to be part of the conversation and having a corporate blog is just one of them.
Let’s take a closer look at the key results of this survey then:
“93% of PR/Communications managers surveyed knew about blogs but only 6% of the PR/Communications managers surveyed implemented corporate blogs”
I would obviously also have liked to see a higher percentage here, but referring to my earlier comment, if companies try to follow the conversation and react/comment on what relates to them I guess that’s already a very good start for many of them. I see it as a bigger concern that the percentage here will probably very low as well.
“Only 4% of the organizations surveyed have blogging policies in place”
Microsoft hasn’t, still we are with 4.500 bloggers in a 70.000 people company which ain’t too bad if you ask me. A blogging policy is not needed as I see it, common sense will get you a long way already.
“87% of the respondents mainly see corporate blogging as a potential external communications tool”
Last time I checked a corporate blog shouldn’t just be an external communications tool, at least not how most PR/Communications managers think of that… because it’ll just be another one-way conversation tool. Just because it’s using blog software, has posts in reverse order and accepts comments doesn’t mean you’re doing a better job trying to get into the conversation. A good example of that just got discussed over at MarketingProfs:DailyFix. The example discussed is the Marriott blog. It’s a step forward, no argue there, but since Bill Marriott never replies to any comments, thus only writes his posts doesn’t make him more interested in having more constructive conversations.
Overall, I guess what I wanted to say is that my biggest concern is not that so few companies have a corporate blog, I’m more concerned by the fact that so many are probably not even bothering to engage more with their consumers in general… something a corporate blog just can be one way to use.
As I wrote on my blog earlier, I agree with you and Philippe for a great deal.
However, with regard to your comment about ‘blogging policies’: I think having one as an organization is a must! Clear guidelines on what you should or shouldn’t blog about could prove useful for both the employee and the organization, while not having one could lead to misunderstandings, confusion and abuse.
Besides, ‘Just use your common sense’ is just as much a blogging policy as any other.
Well Robin, here we disagree. A blogging policy is not a must and I think at Microsoft I can witness very well how this can work without having a policy in place. I do think a guideline or some related information on a sharepoint/intranet does make sense, but let’s not mistake that with a policy.
Talking about common sense, again nothing to do with a policy, this is where you shouldn’t do anything on your blog that you wouldn’t do in any other type of conversation (related to your company) either. You don’t disclose company secrets, you don’t talk bad about colleagues, … nothing unusual.
I must say: Philippe translated the term ‘blogging guidelines’ from the press release to ‘blogging policies’ in his post, so to avoid misunderstanding: I think organizations should have guidelines, a sort of ‘tips and tricks’, ‘do’s and don’ts’ (even if that’s considered to be common sense by you or me). I don’t think they should have a rule book stating what’s allowed and what not, with penalties for people who don’t follow the rules).
I think you’re taking a biased look at this because you speak from your experience at Microsoft, where blogging became a natural part of the company spirit (as far as I can judge). For a lot of organizations, that’s not the case, and I think employees should be protected from themselves in a way.
Again: setting up blogging guidelines within an organization doesn’t have any disadvantages IMHO, on the contrary.
Ok, so part of it might be in semantics. Still when I read what Pietr had to say about it (who works for Leads United), policy was the word used. I do think we’re on the same page though. Semantics are important though as a guideline is not something you ‘police’ ;)
As for Microsoft, we do have a sharepoint with tips & tricks, we do have an easy system to set up blogs on the microsoft domain, we do have an internal alias for all bloggers in the company, etc… which are all free to use if you want but will help you if you’re looking for something.
I just saw your comment, and answered it.
On the context of semantics, we were asking the respondents on ‘guidelines’, so including ‘policy’.
I personnally was surprised by the amount of companies that did not have in place a dedicated ‘policy’. I do know that many companies have an internet policy, so why have they not yet ‘expanded’ these?
And, as I said in my comment, I like things to be clear and outspoken. That way each party in the game knows where his/here responsability lies…
Apart from semantics… I asked the question yesterday to Bruno Segers (ex-MS Country General Manager) and he told me they do have corporate blogging guidelines at Microsoft….
Anyway; there should be guidelines in place but they also should be a normal extension to the business conduct guidelines or security guidelines already in place at the company. At least that’s how it is done at IBM. And true, they are based on common sense….
Most companies who do have these things in place (like IBM) have posted them publicly, so for those who think it would be a good idea; have a look, adapt and copy.
We do have some guidelines, meaning that there’s a sharepoint with tips & tricks, there’s an internal alias, … which I definitely think makes sense for any company. Let people know about the WOMMA code or anthing that relates to that, tell them not to delete blog posts, …
I guess the key point I wanted to make was that not having a blogging policy is not what we should be so concerned about, it works fine for us without. Not monitoring the brand, not knowing and/or wanting to be part of the conversation, … is a much bigger concern if you ask me.
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