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Clorox Adds Blog to CSR Reporting Efforts

Corporate blogging is all the rage. Marketers swear by it. Blogging, it is believed, is more personal and less intrusive than press releases and e-mail marketing. Plus, it’s good for SEO and a more casual forum for connecting with stakeholders.

It’s no surprise, then, that Clorox finally bit the blogging bullet, launching its first corporate blog in October, called CR Matters. The new blog joins seven others in the family of Clorox brands, and will cover company news related to its five pillars of corporate responsibility: People, Products, Performance, Planet and Purpose.

CR Matters is governed by Clorox CR Communications, its Eco Office, Community Relations and Regulatory Affairs, and will pull in contributors from the rest of the company and, potentially, externally. “People who are ‘experts’ in particular areas will write these posts,” said Simone Seeley, manager of the new blog.  “So far we’ve had great response from people that they’d do it.”

To date, Seeley has been the sole contributor, posting once per week, which is the planned schedule going forward. The content is a little bland and self-promotional so far, reading more like an employee newsletter than a public forum. But there have only been five posts to date, so it’s a work in progress.

Here’s a sampling of the content:

“Enduring Value: Our FY12 Annual Report.”

“To toot the Clorox horn lightly, we’re one of a small number of U.S. companies that produce a combined report like this.”

“We are in the middle of our GIFT Campaign. GIFT, which stands for Get Involved For Tomorrow, is our employee giving campaign . . .”

“ . . . Clorox employees have worked with Facebook, as well as Facebook watchdog groups, to identify and report inappropriate Amanda Todd/Clorox Facebook pages. …  we are removing and banning any offensive content and users from the Clorox Facebook page . . .”

Hopefully, CR Matters will take a cue from one of Seeley’s blogging role models, Wells Fargo Environmental Forum, and include more big-picture thinking and first-person narrative. Stakeholders would also be more likely to read CR Matters if it offered insight into the inner workings of CR affairs at Clorox, plus bold images and video to spice things up.

The company hopes the content will attract employees, consumers, NGOs and other stakeholders, Seeley says, and that they will offer feedback to inform the content of the blog. She doesn’t have specific traffic or readership goals, but that’s common for corporate blogs, which are usually not a priority for many marketers. The thinking, unfortunately, seems to follow the "If you build it, they will come" logic.

The content distribution strategy for CR Matters is textbook: The team will share content through 3BL Media, a news and content distribution platform focused on energy and sustainability, and through Clorox social media channels when the topic warrants it. Seeley also hopes to use the blog, instead of press releases, as a media outreach vehicle, which is smart and can be rather effective if the content is fresh and compelling.

CR Matters has its sharing buttons and an RSS subscription feed in place, but SEO still needs some work. The blog didn’t come up in the first page of Google search results when I searched low-hanging fruit terms like: “Clorox CSR," “Clorox corporate responsibility,” “Clorox CSR annual report” and “Clorox blog.” More content will help, but the team could start by using keywords in its headlines and URLs, which is critical to getting picked up by search engines.

Ultimately, a step towards more transparency and sharing by a corporation is always a good one. And CR Matters is a great addition to Clorox’s CR strategy. Although its success will be determined over time, for now, it’ll be interesting to see CR matters grow up and develop its own voice.

Do you have more to add on corporate blogging best practices? If so, leave your comment below.

[Image credit: hgjohn]

Lonnie Shekhtman headshotLonnie Shekhtman

Lonnie Shekhtman is a Massachusetts-based writer covering sustainable business, food systems, social enterprises and impact investing. Stay in touch by following Lonnie on Twitter: @kuurlyq.

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