Friday, May 20, 2005

Hill & Knowlton releases blogging guidelines

We released our blogging guidelines yesterday to encourage both our staff and our clients to make better use of the medium. See the post on our guidelines on my colleague Niall's blog.We already had some coverage on Steve Rubel's Micropersuasion blog.

Below are the key points of our guidelines:

In connection with any blogging, please be mindful of the following:
  • Most weblogs publish RSS feeds that others can subscribe to, so remember that others, including your colleagues, may be actively reading what you write.
  • Think of what you say in your weblog in the same way as statements you might make to the media, or emails you might send to people you don’t know. If you wouldn’t include it in those, don’t post it on your weblog.
  • Never disclose any information – including textual or visual material – that is confidential or proprietary to Hill & Knowlton, or any third party that has disclosed information to us (e.g. clients, journalists, suppliers, etc.). Your existing contract in any case prohibits this.
  • There are many things that we cannot mention as a publicly-owned company. Talking about our revenue, future plans, or the WPP share price will get you and Hill & Knowlton in legal trouble, even if it is just your own personal view, and whether or not you directly identify yourself as an employee of Hill & Knowlton.
  • You should make it clear that the views you express are yours alone. You may want to use the following form of words on your weblog, weblog posting, or website: The views expressed on this [blog; website] are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

In addition, we included some tips on how to write for and promote blogs.

Looks like I will need more space for my blogroll :-)

4 comments:

Massimo said...

oh my my! great suggestions - if the goal is not to have anybody get interested in what you blog...

Niall Cook said...

Picking up on Massimo's comment, it's worth clarifying that these guidelines are for employees' personal weblogs only.

John Bell said...

Developing blog guidelines in a pr agency isn't so easy. I question one of yours:
"Think of what you say in your weblog in the same way as statements you might make to the media, or emails you might send to people you don’t know. If you wouldn’t include it in those, don’t post it on your weblog."
I realize this is carefully worded however it could easily be misread to mean that you should maintain the voice you might use for the press in your blog. This is a hard line. Corporate employees should behave with respect to their company (and clients.)But the refreshing thing about blogosphere is the personal, non-corporate, non-sanitized voice.

Joël Céré said...

Thanks to Niall for clarifying. These are for our own empoyees, not guidelines for anyone who want to set up a blog.

John is right about the peculiarity of PR agencies encouraging their employees to blog and following guidelines. However this is where the greatest threat comes: if PR people stick to their PR way of writing, their blogs would like authencity and spontaneity that separate "corporate blogs" from genuine blogs.

In short writing a PR blog is difficult because you truely understand how your comment could be misinterpreted and you have less room to be as nasty as you would like to. It is a balancing act between being true to your readers and keeping your job.