Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Good and a Bad Example of Employees Blogging

Let’s talk once again about corporate blogging – looking at good examples and understanding the mistakes. Kodak has been an example of successfully blogging company for the past few years. They have two simple but great blogs, targeting different groups of readers – first one, A Thousand Words, and a second one, used to be called A Thousand Nerds but now renamed into PluggedIn. A Thousand Words is, as written in a blog user guide a ‘place for stories for from the people of Kodak’. The stories written by employees are about photography, they provide readers with useful tips, engage them in contests. The blog is not focused on Kodak’s products. It is very honest and open, has particular audience and updated regularly.

The second blog is more product-focused, is ‘a place where Kodak employees share insights about the products we make’. As I suppose it targets more male readers, interested in technology behind photography.

The posts in both blogs are very natural. While a lot of brands center their blogs around their products, Kodak tries to present the content from the readers point of view. Authors of both blogs are very attentive to comments, and are able to create a conversation with the readers.

The example of Kodak is very positive. However, sometimes companies’ employees can do a lot of harm when posting on official blogs. Some time ago one of the Google employees and bloggers posted a story on Google’s Health Advertising Blog trying to rally health care advertisers against Michael Moore’s documentary ‘Sicko’ by advising them that they should increase their presence in the search results as well as criticized the movie as one-sided. As her statement caused a lot of negative reactions, she had to later clarify that what she wrote was only her own opinion, not Google’s. As Google representatives stated in Google official blog, ‘our internal review of the piece before publication failed to recognize that readers would – properly, but incorrectly – impute the criticisms as reflecting Google’s official position. We blew it.’

Therefore it is crucial that a business blog has a corporate voice, not a personal one, and all criticism should be well-thought to avoid reputational damage.

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