As a leader, should you write an internal blog as a way of communicating with your employees? Plenty of CEOs are writing blogs, and not all of them are young internet moguls – Bill Marriott writes a wonderful blog, and he’s nearly 77 years old! Clearly, if you want to keep your employees up-to-date on your vision, ideas and observations, blogging can be a great way to leverage your company’s intranet.
The question isn’t “can you” – every company has the technology to make this an easy communications vehicle, and most executives can write. No, the question really is “should you.” To do this right, you need to post consistently, have a point of view, and be committed to it.
Here are some tips to writing an effective corporate blog:
- Know why you’re blogging – have a clear purpose. There are a lot of reasons to blog: establishing yourself as a thought leader, demystifying your department, organizing projects or topics, etc. Blogs are especially useful when you’re dealing with organizational change. The main thing is to have clarity about your purpose – don’t blog just because it “sounds cool.”
- Know your reader. Write for your audience, not for yourself. This generally means keeping the posts short, timely, and easy to read. Be topical – don’t ramble on about your own favorite topics – give people information they can use.
- Set a reasonable schedule. People expect blogs to be consistent. Don’t start a blog unless you can commit to some regular schedule (once a month, once a week, etc.).
- Be authentic – do the writing yourself! Employees deserve to hear from you directly – don’t have your blog be ghost-written by corporate communications. You need to be authentic – you’re not writing a white paper or selling the usual corporate messages… let your true voice come through in the blog.
- Mind your manners. It’s OK to be provocative… but don’t be stupid. Don’t put anything in a blog that you wouldn’t write in an email or say at a company event. Corporate blogs are different than public blogs – writing for an internal audience is not the place for your political views, or ramblings about your weekend. See # 1 above.
- Practice first. I recently heard a great tip about blogging – if you think you want to write a weekly blog, write 1 a week for a month and send them to a few select people. It will give you a sense of whether you have the time, commitment, and material to fill a weekly posting. Once you go live, you’re “out there” with your writing style, etc.