A Blog Policy does not a Blog Strategy make…

September 16, 2007 at 3:29 pm 1 comment

In recent months I’ve offered two posts focused on blogging.

Much of this has come from my own experiences at Microsoft and recent conversations with over 30 other companies about challenges, opportunities and best practices in social media.  When it comes to blogging the most common conversations organizations have both internally and with their peers are around policies and practices (roles & responsibilities, moderation, tools, legal, etc).

This has me wondering where the strategy is?  Given the explosive growth of blogging and where it really came from (individuals), it’s no wonder organizations started by establishing policy.  It’s one of those activities that is born from the front line, not from the board room.  I’ve seen blog policies that range from “thou shalt not” to detailed 10 page documents to simple guidelines that just re-enforce existing company policies regarding competitive information, privacy, offensive material, etc.  

Clear guidelines and policies for employee blogging are obviously necessary, but policy really isn’t the same thing as strategy.  Some may argue (and I partly agree) that blogging and strategy are oxymorons.  They will say that blogs are valuable because they are not driven by strategy but by unfiltered authentic voices inside the company across functions, roles and responsibilities. 

Hmmm, I  agree with this, so what’s the big deal here regarding strategy.  Well, I guess the big deal is that I think things should be done with intention.  But, red flag, it shouldn’t be overdone and if the PR dept starts the process of defining the strategy – beware.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really against PR but if you’ve been through press training you likely need to be re-trained in this new web 2.0 world.  If your blogger’s posts are reviewed before published – you really aren’t blogging – you might as well turn off comments and call it web 1.0.

I’m perfectly happy with a blog strategy that is just about workplace health- this means, the business goal is about building employee empowerment.  This shouldn’t be your default strategy for lack of having one, but it is a great strategy if it is the design goal.  In general, strategy should support at least one (preferably more) of the following pillars:

  • Workplace health – attracting, developing and retaining great talent
  • Customer satisfaction – customer service, response mgmt and transparency
  • Cost reduction
  • Revenue – customer acquisition, globalization and marketing
  • Innovation – feedback and collaboration

A good blog strategy need not support all of these pillars and cannot violate the principles of transparency or authenticity, but should bring intentionality to your blog strategy by clearly articulating what it’s for (and what it is not). 

When you hit the office tomorrow, try it out.  Go ask people what your company blog strategy is.  9 times in 10, I bet what you hear will be statements that are more about policy (what you can or can’t do). 

Sean

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The Age of Individualism… Email is so "yesterday"

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Connie Bensen  |  September 19, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    These are some great ideas! and will be very helpful to me as I recruit staff for blogging. And it will also help me with one of my first big projects. Thanks for the great ideas, Sean!

    Reply

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