But now you've realized that the blogs are not going away. And what is more, people are reading them. Reading about your company.
You need to do something. You realize that banning the blogs will just make you and your company look bad. But you need some kind of policy, don't you, or who knows what your employees will write?
That clatter you hear is the sound of legal and HR departments around the world frantically typing up corporate blogging policies. Examples abound. Here are IBM's Blogging Guidelines, a pioneering effort. It's pretty good. Here is Sun's policy; it's very good. Hill & Knowlton's is also quite good. Debbie Weil's excellent The Corporate Blogging Book includes helpful resources and advice, as does her top-notch blog, BlogWrite for CEOs.
On the other hand, Harvard Law School's policy reads exactly how you'd expect Harvard Law School's to read. It actually starts off with an apology ("We don’t mean to turn you off from blogging by immediately inundating you with legalese, but we need to make clear our respective rights and responsibilities related to this service.") — then it inundates us with legalese:
By posting your Content using the Services, you are granting Harvard a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, and worldwide license to use your Content in connection with the operation of the Services, including, without limitation, the license rights to copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Content, and/or to incorporate it into a collective work.
(Nothing like a 59-word sentence to inspire you.)
But before you go starting a Corporate Blog Policy Task Force and taking meetings with lawyers, consider what you're really trying to accomplish. You probably want to make sure your employee-bloggers aren't sharing company secrets. Duh. You also want to make sure your employees aren't dissing your customers, or each other. And you probably want to make sure that your workers aren't posting compromising pictures of American Idol contestants on the company blog.
How can you accomplish this without inundating the blogosphere with Harvardesque legalese? With this two-word corporate blogging policy:
If your employee-bloggers are posting the secret-sauce recipe, bad-mouthing customers, or distributing NSFW (not safe for work) art, fire them. And if you're concerned that your employees won't understand what you mean by "be professional," then you have a management problem or an employee problem. Or both.