12 Oct Blogging moves to corporate America
At DEMO 2004 I hosted a panel “The Rise of the Blog Nation.” For one-fourth of the people in the room, blogging was passé; of course everyone was bloging. The other three-quarters of the room received blogging with a blank stare; what, after all, was the big deal?
The big deal is becoming increasingly apparent as blogging moves from the journaling of twentysomethings to the communications arsenal of corporate America. But 18 months since that discussion at DEMO, blogging baffles so many business communications and marketing people who are trying to understand how they use these new tools without making public blunders.
That was, in large part, the discussion I moderated last Friday at a luncheon for the Silicon Valley chapter of the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). In a packed room, five smart panelists gave their best advice to PR professionals, the vast majority of whom were just beginning to develop blogging strategies for their organizations or clients.
Some of the key takeaways:
· You no longer control the message (and maybe you never did).
· Be clear who is blogging and why.
· Transparency is key; Don’t manipulate the message.
· Involve corporate lawyers early in the planning; establish a simple but clear policy for company bloggers.
· Don’t dabble; once you’ve started a business blog, stay with it.
· Talk to blogging protagonists directly; and remember that every e-mail and discussion is on the record.
If there was one other key point from this panel it was simply this: blogs are coming into corporate communications, and quickly. If you don’t have a blog strategy, now is the time to get one.
Thanks to a great group of panelists, including Doug Free, senior PR manager at Microsoft; Lisa Poulson, managing director in Burson-Marsteller’s Global Technology Practice; Lauren Gelman, associate director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society; Joanna Stevens, VP of corporate communications for Yahoo! Inc.; and Stephen Howard-Sarin, VP, Business Technology Portfolio, CNET Networks.
And one more thing: If you’re struggling to fit blogs into your communications strategy and would like to learn from Fortune 1000 companies who have done so, I invite you to join me at BlogOn 2005 Social Media Summit next week in New York City.
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