Friday, August 7, 2009

Blogging About Clients: Without Biting The Hand That Feeds You

I just saw a post on The Urban Muse about mentioning your clients in your blog. If you write about freelancing and the challenges and triumphs you face, chances are you will face this issue eventually. Here are a few tips for handling the tricky issue of talking about specific clients and projects in your blog.

Never use a client's name. This is pretty obvious--never mention a client by name if you're going to write something that isn't completely glowing. Your clients may read your blog--several of mine do at least semi-regularly--and you may be setting yourself up not only to lose the client, but to face legal consequences later.

Change key details. I don't just leave the clients' individual names and business names off the blog; I also change identifying details about the project--if I'm not writing something really positive. It's just one more way to make sure nobody is embarrassed or offended by my writing about them.

Focus on projects, not companies. I also think it's critical not to make things get too close to home. I'll talk about the way a project went, the challenges I faced and how I dealt with them, but I typically won't talk about the company itself. I won't make assumptions about the company's solvency, put down the client's offer or criticize the company itself in any way--even if I'm not mentioning their name specifically and change key project details so that clients don't see themselves in the post.

Promote your clients when appropriate. There are situations when you can mention clients by name without facing possible negative repercussions--when you're talking about them in a positive light. This is something I completely recommend, and something I plan to start doing more on this blog. If you really believe in a certain client's offer, it may be worth it for you to profile the project in a positive way--with a link back to the client's site. They're sure to appreciate the publicity, and it showcases your skills as well.


Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Great tips, Jennifer! You make an excellent point that some clients actually appreciate a positive promo. Fortunately, this has never caused me any problems, but I do worry that it could ruffle feathers in the future.

Jenny said...

It's never caused me trouble either, but I'm very careful about writing about client experiences when it's not perfectly positive--I disguise as much as I can. I've only rarely written blogs that really showcase clients, but I think it would be a great way to give them a "thank you" for hiring you. I also think it can help you in that it demonstrates what you did for them and highlights your capabilities as a service provider.