A blog is an opportunity to engage with readers in a direct and informal manner about things that are of interest to you and them. The following guidelines provide some key considerations for writing a blog, and achieving a level of engagement with your (captive) audience that will drive productivity.
Define what the blog is generally about, and stay ‘on message’. Is it about thought leadership / inviting feedback on new initiatives, capabilities, products / key appointments / successes / bad news?
You must reflect your own personality when writing. Adopting a ‘blog persona’ that is not you, and writing in corporate speak, will drive readers away. Write how you talk! The style and tone of a blog should be informal and personal. This is your opportunity to ‘humanise’ the company…after all it’s a people-based business.
Show some passion
If you’re not passionate about your subject matter, it will soon be reflected through your writing.
Be full blooded in the tackle
Don’t start a blog for the sake of it. If your blog isn’t interesting, or you have no time to write it, you will alienate your readers and could damage your reputation within the business.
Work the crowd
Who are you talking to / what are their expectations and communications needs / how are they motivated? In theory, you already have a captive (and willing) audience, so consider their requirements, as well as your own objectives, in keeping them engaged.
Honesty’s the best policy
Provide as open and honest an insight into the business as possible, and be prepared for open and honest feedback. If successful, a blog should be a conversation, not a broadcast; if and when negative criticism is posted on the blog through responses, it should be responded to, where appropriate, not deleted.
You must be the sole author of the blog. Having a corporate blog that is written by multiple authors could confuse and dilute your message, and will be identifiable through your style of writing. If, for some reason, you know you’re going to be unable to blog for a period of time, manage expectations by informing your audience why (where possible).
Do and don’t of writing:
- Title – short and enticing. Don’t write: “Everyone keeps mentioning the word ‘strategic’ and I think it’s a load of bollocks.” Do write: “It’s all about delivery.”
- Body text – no more than five pars (as few as one) on a single message. If you have multiple messages, post them individually under different titles on the same day, or on consecutive days. Don’t say: ‘Today I thought I’d share with you all a speech I wrote a few years ago on the subject of how to be a winner.’ Do say: ‘Here’s some amazing stuff we’ve done since launching ????? – I’d love to know what you think.’
Commit to a minimum frequency for posting a new blog – I’d suggest at least weekly, but don’t set a maximum – write as thoughts occur. By doing it at least weekly, you should retain reader engagement. Equally, over-blogging might miss some of your audience who won’t have time to invest in reading daily posts.
A whole world to consider
Comment on things happening in the wider world. If something occurs externally that could impact your business, or be of interest to your audience, it proves you’re aware of what’s going on generally, rather than being seen as ‘detached’. This may be news from one of your markets, or a prospective market, or thought leadership from a competitor that you admire and think it’s a subject worthy of awareness by your staff. When referencing such information, name the source and hyperlink to it.
Let your mind wander
It doesn’t hurt to throw in a ‘googly’ occasionally and blog about something that’s not specifically business-driven; it shows you think about other ‘stuff’, apart from just work. It could be funny – a bizarre conversation or incident with someone on a plane / in a bar etc – or observational, such as an opinion about something in the news (hopefully not too controversial).
By Damian Schogger