Today, less than 48 hours away from doing a presentation about business blogging at an Australian Marketing Institute seminar in Sydney, I am rather pleased to see that theÂ lead storyÂ in the national newspaperÂ The Australian’sÂ IT Business segment, is â€˜Blogging the Brand’, by Chris Jenkins. Neat: I can expect that a reasonable number of my marketing industry audience tomorrow night will have read or at least skimmed this piece on corporate blogging and will be ready with some good, challenging questions.Â It helps too, that the article comes close on the heels of a page 3 story last weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Online buying frenzy as big business swoops on sites’, by highly respected journalist Tom Burton, about people making money from the web: about half of the article focuses on people making money fromÂ blogging.
Back to the article in The Australian. I found itÂ quite informative, not so much for me in terms ofÂ theories and broad observations about corporate blogging, but more because of comments from the trenches. I was particularly interested in the comments from Paul Crisp, â€˜new media project leaderâ€™, responsible for the blogging operation at our major telco, one of Australiaâ€™s biggest corporations, Telstra, through its Now We Are Talking site, which has blogs by staff members as a feature.
Crisp acknowledges that Telstra had no Australian corporate blogging models to draw on, so had to adapt what it could learn from studying what US-based corporations were doing, such as Boeing, Microsoft and General Motors. He observes that Telstra does not need blogs to â€˜push outâ€™ informationâ€™, but sees blogs as giving the corporation a way to plug into public feedback (interesting, given that probably every Australian over the age of 15 has a Telstra story and they are not all positive!). He also sees blogs as allowing Telstra to put a different face to its message.
â€˜If you want to hear from the rank and file of the company, to try and put a face to the people that make this big company work and get their perspective and the challenges they face and what turns them on, hereâ€™s an opportunity to get it directly from the horseâ€™s mouth.â€™
I took some time out to check out the blogs at Now We Are Talking. I had honestly expected them to be rather bland. TheyÂ aren’t, andÂ I’m impressed.Â I’m especially impressedÂ because employees are writing about potentially contentious issues and there are comments on the blogs from the general public (I amÂ so not a conspiracy theorist thatÂ IÂ do believe they are from the general public!). Â
The article also quotes Aussie Microsoft blogger, Frank Arrigo, author ofÂ the excellent Frankarr blog. On the subject of risk, whichÂ is invariably given prominence in the occasional Australian media story about corporate blogging, FrankÂ observes succinctly:Â
â€œThere is always a risk, but itâ€™s no different to me being at the pub and bitching about my job and there is a journo next to me,â€™ he says.
And with eminent good sense, it seems to me, Frank goes on to say that if he doesnâ€™t want to see something appear on the front page of one of the national dailies, he doesnâ€™t blog it.
(Note that the link above to the story in The Australian is a weblink but not a permalink and regrettably there is no link available for the Sydney Morning HeraldÂ piece.)