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    corporate Blogging and the olympicsBefore anything else, I’d like to apologise to those of you who follow the blog. As you will be only too aware, I have taken a sabbatical from this blog over the last month which should have been better announced and pre-announced to you. I am, however, back and I hope writing posts which will prove to be full of interesting news and tips which I can share with you.

    While I have been off, I have of course continued to follow the news and a story which caught my eye recently was about the guidelines which are being put in place for the athletes wanting to write their own blog at the Beijing Olympics. The very fact that the Internetional Olympic Committee (IOC) even feel the need to put guidelines like these in place demonstrates the unique position that blogs hold at the crossroads of journalism, business, corporate marketing and personal expression, particularly when they overlap in such a visible way.

    Whether they are the right and appropriate guidelines or indeed whether they are enforceable is not something I want to debate here (that’s for another time) – the thing that struck me most is that the IOC had issued them at all and I applaud them for that. What they have done is make it clear what their position is and what they expect from the athletes. In doing so, they have also given themselves the opportunity to stop those who are stepping over the mark.

    Businesses would do well to follow their example. Whether they take the route of a full blogging policy or, more likely, incorporating a section into their HR policies on both blogging and social networking, they will have stated and communicated their position and so be able to enforce it where necessary. Without it, they are in a much weaker position and employees may overstep the mark without even realising it.

    Here are some elements to consider as you look at developing a corporate blogging policy or guidelines:

    • Deal not only how to write on the company blog but also what approach employees should take if they write about the company on their own personal blogs.

    • Ensure that they are clear about the companys confidentiality policy and that they also respect the companys stakeholders (ie. the company itself, employees, customers, partners, suppliers etc.)

    • Have someone who is ultimately responsible for your companys blog ideally this will be an internal person, though they could be external

    • Ensure that there is a stated person whom the blogger can ask if they have doubts about what would be appropriate to include in their blog

    • Try to set an agreed tone and editorial policy for the company blog and also ensure that you have a stated policy on how to deal with comments left on it

    • Take the time to educate your bloggers on how to get the best from the blog, what its benefits are and also what the risks could be and how to avoid them

    • Make sure that you monitor your own blog as well as what it being said about it and your company on other blogs

    Whatever is actually in it, the most important thing is that there is one in place which is easily accessible and represents the way that the company wishes to approach the question of blogs, blogging and other social media.

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    Blogging in the News - UK Blogs
    Some articles which have appeared in the UK online press over the past week which looks at blogging (primarily business blogging) and its uses. If you find any good articles that could be highlighted here, then please post the links below or send them to me directly at mark[at]betterbusinessblogging[dot]com and I’ll do the rest.

    Advantages and risks for corporate bloggers
    Lots of talk about risks of blogging (has no-one heard of Blogging Policies?) but here nicely balanced with the advantages that businesses can gain.

    Employee blogs a potential legal minefield
    Like I said, lots of talk about the risks of blogging – while overblown here, make sure that you are covered in the same way that you should be regarding information sent in emails, which can also be used from a legal perspective.

    O’Reilly reverses call for blog code of conduct
    2nd part of a recent debate around whether there should be a Code of Conduct for blogs or not – looks like the person who suggested it is backtracking somewhat here. But it’s an interesting question, so …

    Blogging boom continues as world of weblogs grows
    An overview from BigMouth Media about the latest “State of the Blogosphere” release from Technorati.

    Power of the secret policeman’s blog
    A UK Bobby blogging anonymously about life in the force much in the way that “MiniMicrosoft” does and showing blogging as the important medium that it has become.

    British Blog Awards 07: the shortlist
    There’s a particularly short list for the Best Business Blogs … mainly because they haven’t got a category for them in the UK Awards! Mind you there is a panel of “celebrity judges”, so that’s ok, I suppose …

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