This is good. A new organization, the Blog Council, has just launched. To quote their release:
CHICAGO, December 6, 2007 — The Blog Council, a professional community of top global brands dedicated to promoting best practices in corporate blogging, officially launched today. Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.
The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.
Representing thought leaders from corporate departments as diverse as corporate communications, global communities, marketing and customer service, the Blog Council’s advocacy role functions as a collective voice in support of responsible, ethics-based corporate blogs.
Other issues the Council will address include:
• How do global brands manage blogs in more than one language?
• What do you do when 2000 employees have personal blogs?
• What is the role of the corporate brand in a media landscape increasingly geared toward consumer-generated media?
• What is the correct way to engage and respond to bloggers who write about your company?
This move should both help these organizations to get their heads around how to use blogs as an effective business tool, as well as to make corporate blogging a more established activity, by drawing other organizations into the fray.
What I am seeing across the entire array of Enterprise 2.0 activities, certainly including corporate blogging, is that it is fear and uncertainty about the unknown that is holding executives back from participating. An organization like the Blog Council will be able to show that, while there are issues and challenges for corporations, these are understandable and addressable. It simply takes an intelligent approach.
The organization is being run by Andy Sernowitz, who used to run the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, a far funkier group, though he’s well qualified to get the corporates on board for blogging.
As Shel Holtz and Duncan Riley have noted, there is scepticism about this move by some bloggers. Dave Taylor thinks that “the very structure of modern corporations… is the very antithesis of blogging.” Maybe so, but being able to play with blogging with some hands to hold along the way means they’re far more likely to get comfortable with it and move forward, just possibly changing their structures along the way. Microsoft – one of the Council members – has certainly been changed by its blogging activities.
However successful the Blog Council is in its aims, it will have pushed forward the agenda. Most corporations are too uncertain about what blogging is and what it entails to get going. This type of engagement with their peers is the best possible way to allay fears and help them to develop corporate blogging in a constructive manner.