My fellow Canadian at Canuckflack recently had a post about the Foreign Office in the UK government opening its doors – quite wide – to external blogging. I’d also read recently that some enlightened departments in the Canadian government were also blogging. And I’m sure there are more in other parts of the world. I give these guys kudos, but I wonder what this says about corporations that are afraid to dip their toe into the big conversation. If a government department can do it – those bastions of bureaucracy, secrecy and caution – why not companies? For the UK blog it appears the format will allow a wide range of people to blog – not just a moderator or restricted group. I think this approach makes sense, with the following caveats:

  • Anybody who blogs should be trained to understand the rules of engagement, legal tripwires, web etiquette, etc.
  • Folks should be selected on the potential value they can provide to readers, not just their personal desire to be famous (or semi-famous?) The modus operandi where I work is to focus on SMEs – or subject matter experts – who can provide insights and information that will be relevant to the blog community or specific categories.
  • Participants should be committed to posting on a regular basis, and also reviewing comments on their blog posts and beyond. There is no greater sin for a blogger than not be listening to the conversation and being irrelevant.
  • Participants should be themselves and post in an informal, candid and conversational tone. Keep it short and relevant. Easy to say…but apparently for some harder to do.
  • Think multi-media – a blog can feature photos, video and podcasts.