Regardless of how risky your political blog is to your company, there are several best practices to add to your blogging checklist:
- Respect your company’s brand
- Stay current with the day’s news
- Use social media to your advantage
- Know what to do when things go wrong
- Work your way up over time
These guidelines will keep you and your company honest in the eyes of your customers and advocates.
Respect Your Company’s Brand
As we’ve discussed before, your company’s blog or social media platform is not your personal outlet. Remember to:
- Stay relevant to your industry
- Not lie to your audience
- Be respectful to your opposition
When you post a blog on your company’s website, you are representing everyone who associates with your company. Therefore, always be relevant to your industry and brand, not just your personal beliefs. Read that again, because I can’t emphasize it enough. Does the current event you’re discussing relate to your industry or affect it in some way? If not, it’s best to keep your opinions off the company website.
Don’t Mislead Your Audience in the “Interest” of Your Brand
Building trust online is the ultimate house of cards. Honesty and integrity can not be emphasized enough. Make sure that your titles relate to the current event you plan to discuss and that your opinions are supported by facts as well as your emotions. While it may seem like a good idea to skew the facts in your favor, the internet is often quick to pick up on the change and judge you accordingly. When in doubt, avoid angering your audience and give them a constructive way to react to your piece.
Be Respectful & Professional
Regardless of how strongly you feel about a topic, your opinion is not the only one that matters. Treat your subject matter, your opposition, and your audience with respect and take the high ground as much as possible. These techniques will ensure that your company doesn’t uselessly offend the public.
Political blog posts are often most effective when written in response to what’s happening in the news right now. Headlines change by the hour these days, so it’s important to:
- Do the proper research
- Not wait too long to post your blog
Do proper research
Even in this face paced world, doing the proper amount of research is essential when writing a political blog. Fact check and cross reference your sources, as things are frequently misquoted and taken out of context online. Find out what the arguments are against your political blog and address them accordingly.
Don’t wait too long
One of the most common mistakes companies make when writing about current events is waiting too long to post. The hold up may be caused by:
- Not having the time
- Worrying about the endless repercussions
In the first instance, the sheer amount of work and time it takes to do the proper amount of research, write a decent blog, and post on a short deadline can be overwhelming.
In general, it’s going to take a lot of dedication to get the right blog out on time, so be sure to practice good time management skills.
In the second instance, it’s easy to psych yourself out when you’re preparing to write or publish a political blog. More than likely, you’re never going to feel 100% secure in expressing your company’s opinion online. So long as your opinion fits in the “Medium” or “Low” risk categories and you follow the remaining guidelines, take a chance and light the firework.
Use Social Media Outlets to Your Advantage
Because current events change so quickly, it’s imperative that you share your work on your company’s social media page, if not your own account. Use appropriate social media outlets, tags, and other outreach.
Reply to Your Audience’s Responses
The whole point is to engage your customers in a meaningful conversation. Are people responding to you? Then you’re only half way there. Sometimes it just takes a short comment on social media or a follow-up post to respond to your audience. Whatever you choose to do, responding to your audience makes them feel heard and your company will feel like an industry leader.
That said, don’t be afraid to report or block profanity or blatant discrimination. Most social media platforms allow users to do this, and keeping your page clean will reflect well on all sides of the conversation.
Know What to Do When Things Go Wrong
Sometimes, we incorrectly gauge the risk of our blog posts and things fall apart. Suddenly it seems like your entire audience and industry has turned against you and your brand’s reputation has plummeted.
When catastrophe strikes, do not ignore it. Respond to any attacks on your company with positivity and sensitivity.
Work Your Way Up
If you haven’t shared many political opinions on your blog before, it’s best to start with the lowest risk views and work your way up to more controversial issues. This method helps ease your readers into recognizing you as a trusted authority on current events rather than feel blindsided by a sudden strong opinion.