By now, you’ve surely heard the call to arms about blogging:
It puts a voice to your company! It lets you create a dialog with consumers! It lets you participate in discussions that are important to your industry!
Yes. All of those things are true. And all of those things offer a considerable amount of opportunity. Emerging companies can reach out more easily. Established companies can continue to reinforce their position of trust in the industry. The flipside to all of this opportunity, however, is that it comes with a certain degree of responsibility. And sometimes, knowing when not to blog is just as important as knowing when to be the first to blog about a subject.
Because your blog is a direct reflection of your company, and ideally a more personal and approachable communication channel than most of your other communications, you can really screw things up if you are not careful. While you can’t always control what people will say in comments, you can take preventive measures that avoid providing fodder for detractors.
Here, then, are some instances when it may be better to avoid posting to your organization’s blog.
When Not to Blog #1: Never Blog in Anger
It is inevitable, especially in competitive industries, that events can unfold that will make you frustrated or angry. And that frustration and anger is okay; it shows you have a vested interest in your company and you take it very seriously. Don’t, however, take that moment to tell the whole world just how angry you are or why.
Sleep on it. Think about the situation for a little while. And when you are calm, by all means write a thoughtful post about the situation. Odds are the situation will raise ire in others who share your opinions. By showing rationality and reserve in the face of a tense situation, however, you continue to establish respect for yourself, your company, and in some cases, your industry.
When Not to Blog #2: Never Blog in a Hurry
When is the best time not to blog? How about 4:50 p.m. on a Friday? When you write in haste, you are setting yourself up for a subpar post. Sometimes, you get typos and misspellings. Those can make you look stupid. Sometimes, it’s a lack of clarity in your post that is usually avoided when you take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and arrange them in a sensible way. Those can make you look obtuse. And sometimes, it can result in the omission of information that would be valuable in addressing the full scope of your post topic. Those can make you look unprepared.
If you don’t want to run the risk of appearing stupid, obtuse, or unprepared, don’t blog when you are in a hurry.
When Not to Blog #3: Never Blog Before You Do Your Homework
If you really want to use your blog as a way to establish respect and authority, make sure you have done your homework on a subject before you post about it. Even if you don’t use everything you have gathered in your post, you will be well-prepared to engage in discussions that follow in the comments or, in some cases, talk with interested journalists if they come looking for your opinion on the matter.
Sure, you can always man up and apologize for oversights in a post, but would you ever want to admit to a mistake? No. When you do your homework first, you greatly reduce the risk of making the mistake in the first place.
We are all human. We have emotions. We have temptations. We also have a desire to be helpful. When you blog in anger, haste, or when unprepared, you run the risk of letting those emotions and temptations undermine your organization. Is that the voice you were hoping for when you decided to start your blog?