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How controlled should a corporate blog be?

How controlled should a corporate blog be?

I think corporate blogging is difficult.

It’s a frequently updated reflection of the company it represents, yet visitors can see through spin, jargon, and ‘corporatese’ very quickly.

A recent press release focused on the UK private number (license) plate business, who took a somewhat unorthodox approach to their business blog.

The blog was originally intended to be a news outlet where the company would announce offers, competitions and other items of interest to motorists and cherished plate enthusiasts. That’s still the case – to an extent – except that the company blogger now produces content that is not entirely what management had in mind when they originally agreed to the project.

The blog now includes video footage of employees playing musical instruments, and profiles that blatantly poke fun at members of staff, for example:

At only eight years of age, Adam is one of our youngest employees. Despite his youth and the fact that much of every afternoon has to be set aside for a glass of milk and a nap, he is a valued team member.

“You are a personalised number plates company,” said one slightly disgruntled visitor, “not Tiswas [a UK kids TV show from the 1980s] or Monty Python.”

However, most of the reaction has been favourable.

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How much control should the management have over their blog, and how far can the comedic posts go before they become detrimental to the company image?

Personally, I’m more perturbed that the company’s site is hosted on a Blogger account. It doesn’t exude quite the right image.

As a small company, I think they get away with it all. It’s hard to imagine GlaxoSmithKline or Barclays Bank doing the same thing.

View Comments (4)
  • I’ve been a corporate blogger for three years. The simple answer to the question you raise is this: “Some.” A blog should be no more free-wheeling in terms of editorial outlook than a company newsletter is. It should be more flexible, more fun, more spur-of-the-moment, but all of that should happen within an agreed upon framework between the blogger and whoever is paying his or her salary. A good corporate blog-by the way-should have an editorial focus and theme. So, if in the case of the license plate company the blogger was told to do one thing and did quite another, well, he should be fired. Or, at least he and the management should talk. The key here is 1) hire someone you can trust 2) agree upon the blog’s focus and how far one can stray from that and 3) don’t be stupid.

    And, I don’t see anything wrong with a company using Blogger. Why not?

  • Isn’t the success of the approach apparent in the publicity obtained…?
    And personalised number plates are a (sometimes) amusing vanity purchase, not food shopping or getting life insurance.

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