Blogging on and off the corporate domain

Always delightful social media guru practitioner (and north shore Massachusetts neighbor) Chris Brogan has an excellent post on the overlap/conflict between personal brand and corporate brand: “The Big Risk for Corporate Trust Agents.” I started writing this as a comment on that post, but realized it was really a post in its own right.

Key question: What do you, dear reader, think about cross-posting to multiple blogs as a solution to the challenge of maintaining both a personal and a corporate presence?

Chris’s post focuses on “trust agents” who have a personal presence in a given community but also represent a company, and raises the issue of what happens when they move on to another company. Some folks blog on the corporate site, with the company for which they work providing the platform. His own situation?:

My own blog has been mine since day one. When I worked with Jeff Pulver, it was still my blog. With CrossTech Media, this is my blog. They might ask me to be mindful of our company and occasionally post information germane to my business, but that’s expected. I’m their guy. Why wouldn’t they want that of me? And I love writing about the work we’re doing, like the New Marketing Summit (plug plug).

But the blog is mine. It’s my shingle. It’s where I conduct my business. Most of this business is on behalf of my organization. I’m grateful to have a company to work with, and both CrossTech Media now and Pulvermedia before supported this stance.

At Optaros, we’ve always tried to encourage consultants to maintain a presence in various communities on their own, independent of the corporate platform. We’ve never wanted to project a kind of “corporate voice” that is impersonal and anonymous, and having people speak in their own voices on their own platforms helps project a more authentic, created-by-real-people-working set of voices in the communities with which we interact.

In addition to encouraging external blogs, we also started supporting blogging on the corporate site when it relaunched in early 2008 and on the Enterprise Open Source Directory, which Optaros sponsors.

It’s an extension of the same logic – kill the bland, anonymous corporate voice in favor of real personalities who write in their own voice about subjects with which they have deep experience – with a minor change in that we’re using the corporate platform. Optaros’ VP of Marketing Marc Osofsky describes the approach in a blog post: What is a Web 2.0 Corporate Website?.

(We did consider simply aggregating content from the external blogs of Optaros employees, but providing our own platform creates new opportunities for employees who don’t maintain external blogs, and creating quality content directly seemed a better long term strategy than simple aggregation).

I’m a big believer and supporter of both these positions: supporting employees who have an interest in maintaining an external blog as well as allowing employees blogging on the corporate site. But what happens when you’re writing a blog post that really applies in both places?

Do you:

  1. Post it (exactly the same content) in both places, maybe even using an XML-RPC client to automate that process.
  2. Post it to your personal blog, and refer to it from the corporate blog?
  3. Post it to the corporate blog, and refer to it from the personal blog?

Sometimes I’ve posted the same content to both places – most recently my review of Groundswell – and I’ve done the “post once and reference elsewhere” approach as well.

In an ideal world I’d have time enough to craft (frequently) meaningful personalized messages for each appropriate channel – valuable content for each audience, uniquely tailored to that audience – but I’m not sure that’s ever going to be realistic. It also gets complicated by the additional presence of the Enterprise Open Source directory blogs – which means some posts I write (focused on open source software platforms, frameworks, and projects) could have three “venues” in which they make sense.

(I also bring all three together by reference at which is an aggregated lifestream – but that’s likely too much me for anyone to really subscribe to).

The easiest solution is to just cross-post, but somehow, honestly, that just feels not-quite-right to me, at least as a constant stream. Not everything I write on Open Parenthesis makes sense on, and vice-versa. Maybe the only real solution is to continue to muddle along, choosing each time based on what I’m writing about whether it belongs on my blog, here on Open Parenthesis, and/or on the Enterprise Open Source Directory blog, and whether full copies or references make sense.

Who would you hold up as successful examples of blogging on and off the corporate domain?

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