The Fear of Business Blogging

"Larger companies are faced with concerns that blogs could become a place for consumers to lash out, or a place that company secrets or dirty laundry might get leaked intentionally or unintentionally." – Kansas City Star, March 14, 2006

This quote is found in Tuesday’s Kansas City Star article, The Bottom Line on Blogging. It mentions two concerns. The first one is a crutch. The second should be addressed. The problem isn’t always the problem.

The first one really is a mask. If your customers are lashing out, they’re doing it whether you blog or not. When the phone was invented, did companies think they shouldn’t publish their phone number in case customers wanted to complain?

Engage in the conversation (good or bad) and you’ll create good will. If your service or product is worth complaining about – it’s going to happen whether you blog or not. You should at least be paying attention to blogs and what’s being said about your company. Respond to both positive and negative comments.

Doing otherwise is like sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming. I can’t picture a CEO or business owner running around their desk crying, "LA-LA-LA-LA, I’m not listening, LA-LA-LA-LA." So this isn’t the problem.

The second item can be addressed whether your company blogs internally, externally, or not at all. Craft some company blogging guidelines. There’s much more to be said about this, just not in this post. This isn’t the problem either. Most companies have communication guidelines and documents that employees must sign periodically. So this isn’t the problem either.

I think that most companies are still in the mindset that blogs are one of the following:

It’s a Cost Center: A blog site doesn’t cost as much as a web site – unless you’re getting it done by someone stuck on the tracks.

It’s a Fad: While blogs aren’t yet at critical mass, it’s well past fad stage. Getting a "dot.com" in the late 90s was a fad too, right?

It’s a Geek or Teen thing: Geeks are probably part of your customer base now. Teens will be soon. Get with the program.

We’re too busy trying to find new business: Here’s a suggestion…create a blog and become more findable.

What other excuses are out there? What’s yours?

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