I came across an interesting discussion on Corporate blogging and PR departments (via Scoble), and as so often happens, my short reply turned into a long one, and I thought I’d post it here. BTW, I agree with what Clarke said.
The question is whether a PR department should be involved with blogging. Elizabeth Albrycht posted a comment saying that PR could offer advice to bloggers, to help improve clarity.
I don’t think having PR provide editorial advice is a good thing. My concerns would be:
1) Anything that gets in the way of making blogging drop-dead simple causes problems, which means no approval process. I would often answer customer email questions in my blog, and then point the customer to the blog entry. That means I need to have it show up right when I write the entry.
2) Regardless of the good intentions of the PR department, I think knowing the PR department is reading all the blog entries is going to have a chilling effect on the bloggers. If I had to tell developers that PR would be reading their enties, my guess is that 90% of them wouldn’t have even started a blog.
3) It’s really hard to scale on something like that. If my post shows up a day late because the PR department can’t give me advice in time, I’m much less interested in blogging.
Finally, I think – and this is going to sound strange coming from an author who spends a lot of time editing – that clarity on blog posts is overrated.
Let me be more concrete.
I would rather have a blogger post 10 items that might not be totally clear and/or polished than have her post 9 items that were totally polished.
Blogs are all about content. Sure, it’s nice to have stuff that is readable, especially if you’re writing opinion stuff, but for the most part, it just doesn’t matter.
And blogs already have a great editorial department. It’s the readers. If I write something that’s unclear, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a comment heading my way, and I have a great opportunity.