Blog Council Demonstrates How NOT to Blog
Right before I left for PubCon last week, I was bombarded with emails asking me what I thought about the new Blog Council that was created (and set up as a dot org) to explore blogging best practices and create policies that corporations can use to help them learn about blogging. I didn’t have time to touch on it then, but I do want to make a few quick comments about it.
I think it’s ridiculous.
And I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks so. In fact, I know that I’m not. Lots of people were quick to realize that this whole thing makes no sense because the creators of the Blog Council have done nothing but trip over their own feet since launch.
I suppose the idea is a noble one: Let’s give executives and corporate bigwigs advice on how to blog. Super. It would be great if these cold corporations learned to be human; however, I don’t think a blog council is the solution to that problem. You can’t ask a group of wannabe elders how to best connect with the people who are important to you. The only person who can tell you how to best use your blog to leverage the power of your users is someone who knows about you and the people you call your audience. I don’t care how many CEOs you stuff on that blog council, if they haven’t been able to figure out this blogging thing for themselves, they’re sure as hell not going to be able to help you.
And they haven’t figured it out. In its 4 days of existence, the Blog Council has shown that this blogging thing is completely foreign to them. They’ve set their site up as a blog and yet there’s no way to interact with them via comments, the trackback numbers are off, and of the two posts they have, one is a press release and the other is an FAQ. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure that posting a press release is rule number one of what NOT to do on your blog. The FAQ, however, was interesting. This was my favorite part.
6. Will the Blog Council be blogging?
Not much. Our job is to provide a community for corporate bloggers. We’re not a publisher and we’re not promoting a specific point of view. Our members are the ones leading the conversation; our job is to support it. It’s less about the Blog Council’s voice than helping our members have a stronger voice.
So it’s a blog about blogging with no posts? Oh, this is going to be totally good!
They’ve also already done themselves a great disservice by taking somewhat of an elitist attitude. According the Blog Council Web site, they’re "the community for large companies’ blogs". I guess those of us who don’t work for a giant corporate can just go back to our corners now. They’re not interested in our opinion. But that’s okay because, as every blogger knows, the blogosphere is all about creating a hierarchy of voices. Yup.
The other major problem with this council of elders approach is that it’s being fronted by people with no track record of blogging success. Getting blogging advice from Coke, which is most famous for its outed flog, is like hiring me to run your SEO campaign. I can spell SEO, I can even blog about it, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do it. We have smart people for that.
During last week’s Search and Blogging Reporters Forum, Andy Beal commented that he found it irksome when unqualified blogs tried to offer advice on becoming a top notch blogger or monetizing blogs. For me, this feels like the same thing. Hearing companies without successful social media histories try and tell others how to use their blog or develop a list of best practices rubs me the wrong way. Especially when so many were doing just fine without their help.
If you want to learn to blog, abiding by the rules set out by this council isn’t going to help you. You don’t learn to do something by hanging out with others who are just as clueless as you are. You learn by doing and by hanging out with other people who are successful. If you want to learn to blog, read other blogs. Create your own blog council made up of voices that you trust and individuals who have a track record of success.
For me, if the Blog Council wants to be successful they have to do one of two things. Either they have to promote their site as a place for bloggers of all shapes and sizes to have an open discussion about the things important to them or they have to focus solely on enterprise blogging and how its member base of only large corporations can use blogs to foster internal dialogue. That’s the only way I see this site having a chance of surviving and being useful. But what do I know? I’m just a small-time blogger.