Yesterday we talked about considerations when creating a social media policy for your company or organization. But if your company or organization is planning on launching a blog, you also need to consider what policies and guidelines (both internal and external) will be in place for your efforts. Here’s six areas that you should consider when creating a corporate blogging policy:
1 – A formal blogging policy. Similar to your broader social media policy, the blogging policy should govern specific issues associated with your blog, and be relevant to the blogging team and the content created there. It should be governed by your social media policy, which should be governed by your employee guideline/code of conduct.
2 – A blogging schedule and guidelines for writers. This will communicate to bloggers what is expected from them as far as output and timing, and also the focus of the content and the tone that they should use.
3 – Comment policy for bloggers. This will let the bloggers know exactly how to respond to comments from readers. A framework should be provided to bloggers on how to respond to comments, and the Air Force has an excellent flow chart for how to handle comments.
1 – A solid About Page. This communicates exactly what the focus of the blog is to readers. It can also reinforce to the bloggers what is expected of them. A wonderful example of this is Patagonia’s About Page for The Cleanest Line. It not only tells what the blog is about, but gives the blog’s comment policy, and outlines exactly how readers can contact the bloggers, and even how to submit posts if they want.
2 – The blog’s comment policy. This should always be included on a blog so that there can be no confusion later on. The comment policy should clearly communicate to readers what type of comments are acceptable, and which ones are not. If comments will be moderated, that should be mentioned as well.
A great (and lengthy) example of the guidelines for readers commenting is on the Code of Conduct page on HomeGoods’ OpenHouse blog.
3 – Bios and pictures for all bloggers. The blog should have a bio and pictures available for all bloggers. This helps the readers connect with the bloggers and literally helps put a ‘human’ face(s) on the blog. Here’s how SouthWest collects the pictures of their bloggers all on one page on their blog, and you can click on each picture to read that blogger’s bio.
These six areas will help you flesh out your company blogging policy. If your company has a good example of a blogging policy, what does it look like? Please share with us in the comments.
Ricardo Bueno says
Mack: Great list of things to consider for a corporate blog. There’s definitely a few things I’d like to add to our own (a refreshed theme, About page, author bios, etc.).
Ultimately, I think a solid writing schedule, responsiveness via comments and the like goes a long way!
Johnny Quest says
Keeping up regular posts. Many corporate blogs die on the vine.
Gini Dietrich says
Johnny stole what I was going to say! If you have regular posts (i.e. industry highlights on Mondays, videos on Wednesdays, podcasts on Fridays), corporate blogs have a much higher chance of succeeding. Oh…and remembering this a marathon. It’s not going to happen overnight. Thinking you’re going to publish your first post and people are going to flock to it is extremely naive.
Mack Collier says
Gini you just hit on a great way make the content-creation process easier for blogging companies. By adding ‘series’ to a blog, it can help a company better organize its posting schedule, and create more content.
Using your example, every Monday a company could curate links/articles/posts highlighting industry news and events, and post them all in one post (I think it’s a good idea to do this either on Monday as Gini suggests to give readers a jumpstart on the week, or on Friday to recap the week’s events and news).
But putting even a little bit of structure around the posting schedule, it helps the bloggers better plan for that content. In the above example, if the blog will have a new post every Monday with industry news/links, every blogger will be looking for newsworthy links all week, and saving them for the Monday post.
Great thoughts Gini, and you are also right in that blogging IS a marathon, companies need to start and STICK with it to see results. Think months and years, not days and weeks.
Tobey Deys says
This is great advice for someone (comme moi) who is venturing into a ‘communal’ corporate blog. I suspect management of it will be a big challenge; thank you for the excellent guidance.
Mack Collier says
Tobey you are right, management IS a big issue, but creating a blogging policy will help more clearly outline everyone’s roles and requirements, and help get everyone on the same page as what the team is trying to accomplish. This alone will make the management process much smoother.
Aside from the comments section after each post, probably they can also post the company bloggers’ email address should readers prefer to voice their opinion not on the comments section.
Mack Collier says
Julie you are exactly right, not everyone wants to leave a comment, maybe people prefer email. BTW did you notice I just added a HUGE banner on the right of this blog where you can click and send me an email? That’s the exact reason why, because I understand that some people simply prefer email over comments.