On Demand Blogging
At PlattForm we have a policy that requires each department to blog once a month. I understand why the policy is there, and it's not too much to ask. One post per month from a department isn't asking a lot. You don't want to have a blog that just sits there without ever having new posts on it. The policy is perfectly logical, but is blogging on demand a good policy?
I was reading a book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel called Naked Conversations. It's a great book about how to best execute corporate blogging. It stresses disclosure, honesty, authenticity, and other honorable traits. The best part of the book is the Corporate Weblog Manifesto starting on page 192. It's a concise list of 34 corporate blogging rules. You could skip the book, read the list and speak intelligently on the subject. The first 20 of the 34 results are on Robert Scoble's blog, but here are some highlights from this manifesto that you might not have considered are:
- Tell the truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth. If your competitor has a product that's better than yours, link to it. You might as well. We'll find it anyway.
- Post fast on good news or bad. Someone say something bad about your product? Link to it—before the second or third site does—and answer its claims as best you can. Same if something good comes out about you. It's all about building long-term trust. The trick to building trust is to show up! If people are saying things about your product and you don't answer them, that distrust builds. Plus, if people are saying good things about your product, why not help Google find those pages as well?
- Use a human voice. Don't get corporate lawyers and PR professionals to cleanse your speech. We can tell, believe me. Plus, you'll be too slow. If you're the last one to post, the joke is on you!
- Link to your competitors and say nice things about them. Remember, you're part of an industry and if the entire industry gets bigger, you'll probably win more than your fair share of business and you'll get bigger too. Be better than your competitors—people remember that. I remember sending lots of customers over to the camera shop that competed with me and many of those folks came back to me and said "I'd rather buy it from you, can you get me that?" Remember how Bill Gates got DOS? He sent IBM to get it from DRI Research. They weren't all that helpful, so IBM said "hey, why don't you get us an OS?"
and then I saw this one:
- Don't blog on demand. Is your marketing department demanding that your write about something? Push back. Your blog is your own. Tell the guys in the marketing department to get their own blog if they think they have something people should know. Always make sure it's you saying something, not someone else. Your are responsible for the content that goes on your blog.
The last one really struck me because, well..that's what I do. So what do you think? Is he right or is Robert Scoble an idiot? His argument in the book is that forced posts are easy to spot and sound forced. Is that the case on this blog? Thoughts?
Please let me know your thoughts. I'll be following up on this post. My next one is due March 3rd.