Corporations rely on their blogs for any number of benefits. Not only is it a smart way to improve your search rankings, but it’s also an excellent way to improve your communication channels. Blogs that focus on providing real solutions to the reader send strong messages to customers (and potential customers) that their needs take priority.
However, as important as having a blog is, there are could be hidden dangers in your practices. If you collect sensitive data, it’s all too easy to make a compliance error without even realising it. We’ll look at the questions you need to ask, and what actions you need to take to avoid a violation.
Every person visiting your blog has privacy rights, which is why the GDPR goes to great lengths to define and protect those rights. Even if you’re collecting an email address, the rules still apply. When someone signs up for a service via your blog, such as a weekly newsletter with your top posts, they have the right to understand how their information will be used.
So let’s say that you have an inside track in your industry, and you use this specialised knowledge to discuss market data that no one else has. Your blog is very popular, and you use this leverage to build up your subscriber list. The more you track your subscribers, the more you see which topics are of interest to them based on their web behavior. In this case, you need to let the subscriber know exactly how their information will be used.
This is where it might help to complete a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). Depending on how you use the data (e.g., segmented lists, A/B testing, etc.), this is a compliance measure that can help you spot and fix privacy concerns before they occur.
When you map the data, you move and organise your information. If you don’t have the right flow, data can get lost or put in the wrong place. If the data collected from your blog eventually ends in your CRM, the fields need to be perfectly synced or the migration can go haywire.
GDPR guidelines stipulate (with some exceptions) that you should record the direction of your data. This typically applies to sensitive data only, such as health data, personal beliefs, or ethnic origin.
So if you were requesting political affiliation as a condition for signing up for your blog, you might adjust the promotion of certain services, products, or causes based on their answer. To meet compliance rules, you need to consider who will end up with the data (e.g., which departments will have it) and what the ramifications are.
The GDPR is very clear that subscribers have the right to be forgotten. It’s why the guidelines don’t require a user to fill out intricate forms to have their data deleted. Corporations need to take this privacy right very seriously. In addition to having an opt-out box for unsubscribing, you need to clearly communicate that subscribers can contact you to have their data removed.
It’s why you need to consider the process for deletion based on the medium of communication (e.g., email, unsubscribe box, etc.). You need to know who will process it and how other departments will be alerted if need be. From your sales team to your IT department, there needs to be a coordinated effort to take care of this request.
So let’s say that you get a hand-written note mailed from a subscriber that wants to be forgotten. You need to have a system in place where the right people will receive it, how the deletion will occur, and a set timeframe for how long it takes to fill the request.
However you plan to use a subject’s data, they deserve to know about it. So if you’re planning to send the information to a sales rep or to a third-party affiliate, they should be aware before they sign up.
For instance, if you’re planning to communicate the customer’s credit score to the marketing department as well as the sales team. The former uses it to curate future offers for the data subject, while the latter reaches out directly. Both departments will have their own system on how to process the data, so a corporation has to know how that affects the user so employees can share those details accurately.
Most corporations will profile customers to a certain extent. It’s often the best way to develop personalised experiences that will build brand loyalty. For example, if a major bank was collecting people’s credit scores to determine their loan eligibility.
The more you build up your database based on the customer’s details, the more careful you need to be. The consent needs to be detailed and clear. Subscribers have to undeniably opt in to certain services, especially when you’re profiling based on sensitive data. You should have official documentation of when, how, and where your subscribers said ‘yes’.
Boiling GDPR down essentially means increasing your communication. This includes within your company and between your customers. You may want to revise your consent forms to remove any ambiguity or use sign up forms that automatically log how the subscriber consented. You should also look into how certain information is logged and the context provided behind it.
GDPR guidelines are there to impart the importance of protection anytime personal data is being collected. The more effort you put into this process, the less likely you are to come up against an accusation. A corporate blog is often not requesting much of the reader, but in many cases, it is the first point of contact between a subscriber and the company. It’s why you need measures taken to increase transparency across the board.