Kevin Briody has a great article on ‘The Accidental Spokesperson‘ (I say article rather than post because he really goes into some detail) – that is, the employee who blogs professionally in his/her own time and develops a following all of their own.
I’m guessing that there are a lot of these, judging by Technorati’s recent state of the blogosphere report which suggests almost half of all blogs are what they term ‘professional blogs’.
In a thread that follows on from Karyn Romeis’ assertion that you may be more culpable than you think, Briody points out that this is the stuff that’s keeping the PR Team up at night. Resolving issues can be a PR nightmare. On the flipside, from the prospect’s point of view, seeing a company that is transparent enough to foster a culture of employee blogging can help create a positive brand impression.
So, I would suggest the answer lies in trying to eradicate those painful problem posts. As Giovanni Rodriguez pointed out at a recent workshop at the WebGuild:
“Companies must realise that anyone in the organization is now potentially a communicator. So, we must train the workforce and help them apply social media to their jobs.
There is another fundamental switch in PR from relating to the media to relating to the public.”
Business Schools and company induction programs need to start educating employees on some of the basics of PR and corporate communications. In certain industries, such as high tech, those who generally fall into the role of the ‘accidental spokesperson’ are the technical elite – a software engineer or architect. These aren’t historically the people who receive comms training so beware – the corporations will need to adapt to keep up with the employees.