6 Elements of a Corporate Blogging Policy – Why and How
If you haven’t developed a corporate blogging policy yet you are in danger of unravelling all of the progress you have made thus far. There are many reasons to do this but I’ve outlined a few top of mind here.
A company’s blog can be used for a variety of different communication types. You can release company information, write on topics relevant to your industry, provide insight into your corporate culture and many others.
Utilize all of these or just one. That’s up to you. But developing your blogging policy will help you outline what you want your blog to be and the type of content that will go in it. That will in turn make it easier to come up with content ideas as you go.
Define What You Will Not Publish
Not only will content ideas come easier, but what you don’t want for content will be easier to determine. Are you trying to become an authority in your industry or is your goal to engage your consumers?
Different types of content would be appropriate for these audiences. Some ideas you may want to scrap (or move to another property/category/etc) if it doesn’t align with your goals.
Surely there are times when your company partners with another business for sponsorship or promotions purposes. You need to determine your threshold for promoting these relationships as well as decide how they’re going to be promoted. Your blog is not ad space and should not be treated as such.
However, there is a lot of gray area when a partnership is on the table. Determining how you will and will not use the blog in these situations can help you and your ad sales team navigate these conversations more effectively.
If you’re involved in social media for your brand then surely you’ve had the opportunity to deal with difficult people as the face of your company. Determining how you will deal with these people and situations on your blog before they arise will save you from potential mis-execution and give you guidelines to follow taking the emotion out of potentially heated situations.
What you include in this policy is just as important as why you should create it.
Some pieces to consider:
This is where you will outline your goals. What are you trying to accomplish with the blog? Drive traffic? Build links? Outline all of these in this section.
- Type: Industry specific is often very appropriate when you’re trying to establish your business as an authority of if you’re concentrating on B2B whereas content related may be more appropriate if you’re B2C focused. Also consider if you’re going to be publishing inner-company related information and your thresholds for promotional content as I mentioned earlier.
- Language: Are you global? Localization of language may be something you’ll need to consider. Beyond that – are slang and/or curse words going to have a place on your blog? What type of language will be tolerated in the comments? That should be outlined in this portion.
- Tone: Whether your blog content is going to take on a casual, formal, fun or personalized nature can be broken down in this part of the policy. Consistency is key in developing a voice in whatever space you are operating in so be deliberate when making this determination.
3. Code of Ethics:
In my mind this is sort of like your “Constitution” and your customers “Bill of Rights” when it comes to your blog. The code of ethics you outline here should include things about how you will operate and manage the blog. Some items I’ve included in previous policies: We will tell the truth, We will never delete a post, We will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic or vulgar and offensive, We will disclose conflicts of interest. What exactly this section includes will be completely up to your discretion but should define your attitude towards your blog and consumer.
If you’re going to have multiple authors you are definitely going to want to spend some time on this portion. Who will have primary ownership and the schedule under which other authors will be posting should be outlined. If there is to be any type of user generated content you may want to include a separate section for that as there would likely be many other issues to consider. If there is to be any type of editorial review process you will want to document that here as well.
How often posts are published and what type of response time for comments are strongly encouraged to be documented as well. If you’re planning on having regularly scheduled features you can include that here as well.
In social media transparency is a critical component. How transparent you and your brand are going to be on the blog is a complicated issue that will likely involve decision makers from around the company. Have clear policies and procedures in place and documented to ensure all internal and external stakeholders are comfortable with what is exposed on the blog.
Once you have your blogging policy in place you will have a clear road map of where you’re going with the blog. Have fun with it and enjoy! A company blog can be an amazing way to interact and engage your customers and audience if done correctly and having a plan is your first step!