Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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October 26, 2005

Non-Profit Blog Marketing

I am preparing for my presentation on blogging 101 for non-profits, and I found an interesting post about the American Lung Association of American Minnesota chapter.

Robert Moffitt, the Communications Director for the American Lung Association of Minnesota described on Beth Kanter's blog the reasons for their blog and also why the association decided not to allow comments on the blog.

“1) This blog will be a communications tool of the ALAMN, the same considerations for content and tone made for print or website communications will apply to the blog.

2) This blog will be a tool for all divisions of the ALAMN, not just tobacco control. While much of the content is about smoking, we also have postings on asthma, fundraisers, outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution and our clean fuels program.

3) We will not allow (as many blogs do) unedited comments to be posted on our blog. While this decision may seem to run counter to what a blog is supposed to be, I felt it was important not to allow our new site to be highjacked by critics of Minnesota smoking bans. As I mentioned before, these pro-smoke bloggers are well-organized (they have several formal blogger organizations and meet weekly at a local bar) and are very sophisticated and experienced in the blog-o-sphere.

I was certain the one thing that would certainly kill this new communications tool was having to explain to the CEO, National Office or a Board member why an official communications tool of the ALAMN is being used as a pro-smoke forum. So, no comments.?

Putting the association into our model of corporate blogging, as described in the Backbone Media Corporate Blogging Survey, the association is on the left hand side of the divide, next to IBM, they will be gaining benefit from their posts but lose out on the inability of readers to comment on the blog or send trackbacks.

Posted by johncass at October 26, 2005 12:53 PM

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Gee, John, I thought we were all hip and edgy, being the first ALA with a blog and all. Now I hear we are "IBM."

Oh well, point taken. I don't want to push us past our organizational comfort level, but I do want to take advantage of this medium for communicating our message. In fact, I had to post our first "retraction" today.

I admit to being a bit of a "troll," but a GOOD troll with a very worthy cause, who is not trying to flame comment boards or sell anything.

Bob Moffitt
Communications Director (and blogger)

Posted by: Bob from ALAMN at October 26, 2005 4:30 PM


I hear that IBMer's don't wear blue suits anymore, so you are in good company. ;-)

The IBM case study in the backbone media blogging study really does parallel your experience. IBM developed their blogging strategy slowly; they are opening up the company to feedback slowly over time. I think each organization has to take baby steps with blogging and consumer or public generated media. Even blogging experts like Macromedia went through a learning process, determining what could be done, and the value to their organization over time. Now Macromedia is doing some amazing things with blogs.

I am curious what benefits have your received from blogging so far?


Posted by: John Cass at October 26, 2005 5:50 PM

I would say that our blogging has helped to to add a little balance to the online smoking ban debates in Minnesota (we already do a good job in MSM communications). It seemed that the only local bloggers who posted frequently on smoking bans where firm opponents -- so I felt we needed our voice in this medium as well.

Scanning the blogs also gives me a good idea what people are saying about us and issues important to our mission. I also get a good idea of what "the opposition" is up to before we read it in a newspaper.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of commenting on other blogs re cleaner-burning fuels in MN, ie E85 and biodiesel. We set up a second blog just for this purpose, and I think we have raised awareness on this important issue, not just here, but nationwide.

Posted by: Bob from ALAMN at October 27, 2005 7:58 AM

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