Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thomas Nelson's Corporate Blogging Guidelines

Michael Hyatt, President and COO of Thomas Nelson Publishers recently published a 2nd draft of their new Corporate Blogging Guidelines for public comment. They have worked hard to create a set of guidelines that is easy to understand (i.e. uses plain English) but that also protects their company and employees. I particularly like the fact that they encourage employees to seek blog hosting for themselves - adding credibility to their blogs, and removing a potential issue when employees leave.

The main source of protection is reminding employees that what is expected of them as bloggers is the same as what is expected of them as employees, and setting some ground rules about playing nice in the blogosphere. The incentive to blog is given by their intention to create a blog aggregator page on their main website that links to all employee blogs, and allowing employees to write blog posts during company time. It will be interesting to see how effective this is, but I would imagine that because they are in the publishing industry this form of self-publishing will appeal to many of their employees.

What is nice about this is that Michael was smart enough to elicit comment from the readers of his Working Smart blog to ensure that the guidelines were appropriate. Thanks to their feedback what they ended up with was much more user-friendly than their first effort which was a dismal set of legalistic rules.

The guidelines also set out why Thomas Nelson is looking at encouraging blogging:
At Thomas Nelson, we want to encourage you to blog about our company, our products, and your work. Our goal is three-fold:
  • To raise the visibility of our company,

  • To make a contribution to our industry, and

  • To give the public a look at what goes on within a real live publishing company.
How many of your employees already blog? What guidelines have you given them to protect their jobs and your reputation? What could blogging do for your business?

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