"To Blog or not to Blog" Part II

July 27, 2007 at 8:22 am 6 comments

A few months ago I blogged about Blog policy in “Does your company support employee blogging” – for some reason that post struck a cord and was picked up quite a bit by others.  As one of 3-4K Microsoft employee bloggers, I’m often asked about our blog policy and the road we’ve been on to transparency.  How’d we get management support?  How did we get employee interest?  How would I do it if I was trying to repeat the success in other companies?  This last question got me thinking, how would I implement a blog strategy in a company that didn’t have one in place already?

First off, let me say that individual blogs are GREAT and should be broadly supported for anyone who wants to go down that path – I’m an example and advocate for that as core to a blog policy/strategy.  Frankly, I think not embracing employee blogging in today’s world would make you an unattractive employer for anyone entering the workforce from Gen Y. 

Having said that, what I haven’t seen as widely spread is a formal commitment to group blogs.  Individual blogs are often challenged by loss of interest by the blogger, change in role at a company, change of place of employment.  These churn issues clearly create risk in continuity.  There are plenty of group blog examples out there, but let me take this one level deeper.  What I’d really LOVE to see is group blogs where the bloggers crossed functional roles in their companies – someone from product, from marketing, from support, from sales, from professional services… This is the type of blog I’d like to read as a user.  Southwest Airlines does this where you see posts from a wide range of contributors in very different jobs at Southwest (Communications, CaptainsExecutives, flight attendants and mechanics).  It makes for a much more interesting read and as a non-tech company, creates a much easier model for participation for employees.  This approach mitigates the risks associated with churn, drives internal cross group communication and collaboration and better represents your customers end to end experience. 

Of course, I still say it is critical to keep continuity in a few of your core bloggers on the site and allow their personalities to come through very clearly – this, after all, is part of what actually makes it a blog!

Am I the only one who loves this idea?  What do you think?

Sean

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Connie Bensen  |  July 29, 2007 at 7:43 am

    I agree with you Sean that the group blog concept has a lot of appeal. LinkedIn is doing a good job with theirs. But it is a slow process.
    My vision was for one that has evangelists & key stakeholders (customers) guest blogging too. I saw that example on Xerox, they have a submission box where you can request to blog. We’re not at that point yet.
    To date, our blog is up at http://blog.acdsee.com/ and marketing, the tech writer & myself (comm. evangelist) have blogged. My challenge is to recruit more staff, get them comfortable (Live Writer is perfect for this! my instr’s are written!) and get them blogging. I also have an evangelist writing a series. I’ve gotten agreement from product dev’t & an exec, so I hope it can get provide a broad range.

    The advantage that I see is that the blog has a greater chance towards viability with a number of people blogging (in add’n to being more interesting). I work remotely, so that is another challenge.

    Reply
  • 2. Nick Hernandez  |  July 30, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    I saw another strategy to create a sustainable group blog – the bloggers pick a day of the month to post an entry.

    “Positive Psychology News Daily is authored by graduates of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania and by guest authors. ”

    http://pos-psych.com/

    Reply
  • 3. Ron Casalotti  |  July 31, 2007 at 5:48 am

    We’ve just started something like this in the Messaging and Social Media group at AOL. It’s our Social Media Blog where we’ve set up several main contributors as part of the mix. Product designers also are set to Blog about their area of involvement from time to time.

    Reply
  • 4. Alan Griver  |  August 8, 2007 at 9:57 am

    I’ve had group blogs (VS Data, VB) and individual blogs on MSDN. I like them both – the missing piece of a group blog is that of a single voice – I personally like blogs that discuss more than just business – they discuss personal stuff, like, oh, BBQ.

    One approach that I like is using aggregation to create group blogs. Each person has their individual blog, but can use categorization to let the group blog “know” which posts to aggregate there. Customers interested in the group (no fluff, just stuff) can grab that feed, or, via links on the blog, see the full entries of the individual members.

    yag

    Reply
  • 5. Ben Miller  |  August 20, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with yag. I would like to see an aggregation of blogs that make up an uber blog that would give some in depth information and personality to the blog. I think that having 4 people in the SQL Team with diverse roles (Engine, SSIS, Documentation, etc) blog and having a blog aggregation blog that would combine these so that we still get the post by the author, but it would be related.

    I am sure some MVP somewhere will start to integrate it into Community Server or another blog engine someday soon huh?

    Ben.

    Reply
  • 6. Corrine  |  September 5, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    I like the approach that Kodak has taken with their relatively new entries into the blogosphere. Both blogs are so unlike the old stuffy Kodak and really illustrate how the company is changing. I think that group blogging is working at Kodak.

    A Thousand Words is a place for stories from the people of Kodak. We love what we do, and we want to share our stories about imaging and its power to influence our world. We invite you to join our conversation with stories of your own.

    A Thousand Nerds is a place for ideas and knowledge sharing from the people of Kodak about technology. We love what we do, and we want to share our expertise about digital imaging’s technologies and its power to influence our world. We invite you to join our conversation with stories and experiences of your own.

    Reply

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