Mozilla Blog Guidelines - DRAFT PLAN * still in progress *
The Mozilla Blog Guidelines were developed in an effort to ensure streamlined communications that advance the overall mission of Mozilla and to ensure that we are offering clear distinction between personal opinions and those of the organization overall, as well as which are ongoing discussions versus finalized project announcements.
In the past, press, our users and even Mozillians often found it hard to follow what the Mozilla project stands for with regard to different industry developments. The objective of these guidelines is to make the most of the power of so many passionate, knowledgeable voices for the greater good of the open Web, and not to limit the free and open communication which is a hallmark of the Mozilla project.
Blog Guidelines - Summary
- Content - Official news, announcements or any important updates will be posted on Mozilla-hosted communications channels first, but can be cross-posted to a personal blog at the same time
- Mozilla Hosted - Mozilla announcements link to Mozilla-hosted supporting content, not to personal blogs. Personal blogs should not be hosted on the Mozilla infrastructure, unless it is a strategic communications channel (e.g. Mozilla executive blog)
- Content Lead - Every multi-author blog has a dedicated Content Lead. The Content Lead decides whether or not a blog post has to be flagged or reviewed by the PR team. (*more details on Content Leads below*)
- Review - The PR team should review any major announcement before it is posted, and may also support with a communications plan. Key stakeholders should also be involved in the approval process for announcements that shape our strategy (a list of key stakeholders for each product area can be found here)
- Process for Creating a New Channel - click here
What makes a Mozilla Blog
Mozilla-hosted blogs are a trusted source of information for our users, press, community, developers and partners. It’s important to be clear and transparent in all communication that goes out via these channels.
Mozilla-hosted blogs wear the current Mozilla theme and branding, making them easily recognizable as an official voice of Mozilla. They should include a short description of the information that people can expect to receive there and a brief profile of the responsible author or team.
Content covered by official blogs:
- Announcements: anything that shapes the Mozilla strategy, progress on or new Mozilla projects and initiatives. Updates widely agreed upon within the project.
- Anything related to our mission and how certain projects relate to this
- Anything related to potential pain points, for example privacy and security issues
- Anything that touches on the structure of the organization, potential partners, revenue streams or anything else related to the organization at its core
- Professional impressions of events where is Mozilla is present (Mobile World Congress) or other industry events that have an impact on what we do or how we shape our strategy
- Product mock-ups, especially those one attracting a lot of attention (example: mockups of Firefox mobile with native UI)
Publishing to a Mozilla Blog
Any official Mozilla update or announcement, especially those related to Mozilla’s overall strategy, vision and mission, our products or future plans, will be posted on a Mozilla-hosted channel first, before it goes up on a personal blog.
The Mozilla PR team will not point press towards personal blogs. Links in an official Mozilla announcement should refer to a Mozilla-hosted blog or other Mozilla-hosted supporting channel.
It is up to a team’s Blog Content Lead to decide whether a draft blog post needs to be reviewed by or flagged with the PR team (more on Content Leads and on content that needs flagging below).
If you are not sure if your blog post needs review or if it’s worth flagging with the PR team, please feel free to reach out to your Content Lead or the PR team directly and ask for feedback. An overview of the Content Leads for our blogs can be found here.
Important Mozilla news and announcements have gone through a review and sign-off process, either with a Content Lead or the Mozilla PR team. They are in line with the general Mozilla messaging and are being posted on one of the Mozilla-hosted blogs. They are agreed upon within the wider project and can be referred to as “Mozilla says...”.
Starting a New Mozilla Blog
Step 1.) File a bug for a new blog request
- If you would like to start a new blog on the Mozilla infrastructure, please file a bug here under "blog.mozilla.org". If you have questions or need help with starting a new Mozilla Blog, please email Mardi Douglass [firstname.lastname@example.org] as the first point of contact for the PR team.
Step 2.) Determine a channel
- The PR team will help you define the appropriate channel, which might be a new blog, a category on an existing blog, etc.)
Step 3.) Develop Creative Assets (if needed)
- The Creative team will help develop any visual assets and identify the right platform to reach your target audience (developers, users, contributors, etc).
- All official Mozilla blogs share a pre-approved theme, called "Blogzilla" read more
Step 4.) Appoint a content lead
- Every team who runs a multi-author, Mozilla-hosted blog should appoint a Content Lead. It is up to the Content Lead to decide whether or not a draft blog post needs to be reviewed by or flagged with the PR team. More on Content Leads can be found here.
General Communications Guidelines
Mozilla does not in any way censor or limit its employees' blogging and tweeting. However, be aware that there are some issues that are discussed in internal meetings that you should probably not blog or tweet, such as partner deals, where we've signed confidentiality agreements, personnel matters, and internal financial information.
As you know, we limit these internal discussion solely to matters that we cannot share more broadly. Someone will usually explicitly state "please don't talk about this in public" when such things come up. In general, a good rough guideline to follow is that if you want to blog or tweet about something not well-known or something you are not directly involved in, talk to someone who is involved first, the PR team or your team lead to make sure you are aware of all the details.
The PR team put together a few guidelines you should follow when participating in online or offline conversations on behalf of Mozilla:
1. Wording and Messaging
The PR team can provide you with key messages, overarching story outlines, latest numbers and figures to make sure our communication is consistent and accurate. Our messaging is available on the Intranet [link] and is continuously being updated by the PR team. It’s important for everyone to get familiar to the latest Mozilla messaging around our projects, products or various industry topics.
2. Be transparent
If you are writing or speaking about Mozilla and your work or participate in industry-related discussions, always make sure to use your real name and identify yourself as a Mozillian. If you are not speaking or blogging officially on behalf of Mozilla, always make sure to state that this is your personal opinion, which does not necessarily reflect Mozilla’s views.
3. Stick to your expertise and responsibility
You are responsible for what you write, press may quote you or refer to your post as Mozilla news. So make sure to stick to your area of expertise and share knowledge which you think is useful to others. Add value to current discussions, lead respectful and fair conversations. Do not offend our competitors, users or other Mozillians.
4. Respect internal information
Respect information that is shared internally only, especially when it comes to major announcements regarding revenue streams, partners or other project-strategic issues. If you are not sure about certain topics or receive press queries, please ask the Mozilla PR team, so they can help responding to it in a professional and on-message way.
5. Responding and reacting to feedback and comments
To stimulate honest and exciting conversations, be a good leader. This means you should respond to comments and questions, ask questions yourself or ask for the feedback of your readers. Be fair. However, state a clear position, because this is what encourages lively discussions. If you receive constructive feedback, positive or negative, take it seriously and say that you do. Never delete negative comments, except spam or offensive, distasteful or disrespectful ones.
6. Admitting mistakes
If something went wrong, be honest about it. React promptly and upfront. State clearly that you will do your best, so this will not happen again. Never delete or modify a blog post without saying that you did. This will make it even worse. If you need help with your response, let the Mozilla PR team know and they will be happy to advise.
7. Need help?
If you feel uncomfortable or have the slightest doubt that what you are about to post is good to go out as it it, please contact your Content Lead or the Mozilla PR team first and they will be happy to help.
Related Projects & Links
The blog guidelines are part of an Engagement initiative to push our official communication channels more effectively. This should help us to make Mozilla's position on projects or industry developments clearer and to help press finding relevant and official information faster.
- Communications Channel Audit Google Doc link
In 2011, the Mozilla PR team conducted a communications channel audit which found that there are more than 150 Mozilla and Mozilla-related communication channels: blogs, forums, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and news groups.
- Blog Consolidation Project Wiki link
The PR team, Creative, IT and WebDev have also been working on consolidating Mozilla's blogging platform. Strategically rolling up Mozilla’s key blogs onto a single platform will allow us to direct traffic more effectively and present our brand and our messages to community, press, and users more clearly.
- Blog Directory Project' coming soon!