The Blog Council launched yesterday. It’s a community of global brands committed to promoting best practices in corporate blogging.
Dave Taylor had a cynical reaction to it, and to some extent, so did Geoff Livingston. In my view, it’s not about private meetings where we shield ourselves from vendors or customers. Okay, maybe it is a little bit about shielding ourselves from vendors. Just kidding—I couldn’t resist.
It’s also not about control. For me at least, that has been decided—companies don’t control the message, customers do. I hope that Dell (and other companies in the council that have made the leap into digital media) can work together to move companies past the false notion that we are still in control. I’ve talked to folks from other large companies and that reality scares the heck out of them. I think that’s the primary reason why less than 10% of Fortune 500 companies have a blog. That fear makes it a non-starter for many companies.
The ones that get past that point of view then face more challenges, like the ones Shel Israel mentioned. And they aren’t easy ones to solve… that’s where the best practices sharing will help. Before we launched Direct2Dell, we monitored the blogosphere, and we analyzed lots of corporate blogs to do what we thought was best. And we still got smacked. I would have welcomed some help in those early days. While no amount of best practice sharing will prevent companies from stumbling, it may help them get past some hurdles that are keeping them from joining conversations. Said another way, If we as a group can share experiences with other companies, I think we can get more companies to join conversations.
Good corporate blogs force companies to look at things from a customer’s point of view. That’s why I want more large corporations to blog, and I want them to do it the right way. That means letting real people have real conversations just like individual blogs do. But it’s a bit different from a corporate perspective. Transparency is still key, but the reality for large corporations is that there are some things we can’t discuss. It’s a balancing act, and sometimes it’s a difficult one. But worth the risk? You bet it is.
The Blog Council is a start, and like Mack Collier notes—from here, it’s all about delivering on the promises.