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Corporate Blogging: Getting Past 'No' If You're Not the CEO

by Rich Julius  |  
April 15, 2008

When Bob Lutz of GM or Jonathan Schwartz of Sun set up their blogs, they probably didn't worry too much about the review with Legal. After all, they "outrank" the senior legal counsel.

But how does, say, a midlevel corporate marketer or product manager set out to create an "official" blog with the blessing and sanction of Legal? It turns out, despite the prevalence of corporate blogging today, that there is still a fair amount of trepidation over the legal-review process.

Bloggers need to recognize that "sanctioned corporate" blogging is different from publishing a brochure or issuing a press release. Those documents go through a review process before being set in stone, and sometimes do undergo legal review.

Blogs should never go though a "sanitization" step (or they aren't really blogs and you shouldn't bother doing them), and a successful blog will usually include largely unmoderated or semi-moderated comments from the public.

We recently worked with Pete Steege to set up Seagate's first official corporate blog at Pete fairly sailed through the Legal review process. You can too!

Here are some steps to allay your own fears of Inquisition 2.0 and help your Legal team through their own fear and loathing of Enterprise 2.0 social networking:

It's not easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission

Legal is too often perceived as a roadblock and left out of the process until they discover it post-launch, and then they are obliged to sail down from on high with the wrath of an avenging angel.

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Rich Julius is Partner, Interactive Services, Crimson Consulting Group ( He specializes in designing usability into Web interfaces.

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  • by Ryan O'Donnell Wed Apr 16, 2008 via web

    When it comes to content, hire a copywriter whose sole responsibility is knowing the rules for what can and cannot be released to the public. Any releases should go through this person prior to release.

    Although this is outside the scope of this article, as an added bonus, have them work with the SEO expert at your company to optimize the overall 'link baiting' of any releases. Remember, blogs are as much about generating inbound links to your site (and thereby pushing you up SERPs) as they are about giving your company a voice.

  • by Chris Baggott Thu Apr 17, 2008 via web

    Wow. I couldn't disagree more. We have hundreds of Corporate clients of Compendium Blogware that leverage blogging for many of their employees beyond the "C" level. All of these posts get reviewed and approved by someone.

    That doesn't diminish the quality or authenticity of the posts one bit. Corporations have an obligation and a very real liability. It's actually kind of insulting to say that just because there is a compliance review of the content that there will by definition be something wrong with that content.

    20% of the Fortune 500 have fired people for breaking blogging policies. This is a mess for both the Companies and the Employees affected. The problem with relying on a policy alone is that you can't do anything but react.

    By having an effective review process and work flow, you now have the ability to open up blogging to all of your employees and put a significantly more human face on your organization.

    Thanks for letting me rant :-)

    Chris Baggott
    Compendium Blogware

  • by Chris Baggott Tue Apr 22, 2008 via web

    I thought I would add this: From an article in the Dallas Morning News last week:

    "It's clear that when it comes to traditional authority figures – whether they're chief executives or heads of state – people trust them less," says Mr. Edelman. "Employees are the new credible source of information. We have data that shows an employee blog is five times more credible than a CEO blog – and I say this as a CEO blogger."

    You can see the whole post here:

    Chris Baggott
    Compendium Blogware

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