More CEOs and small business owners are blogging internally and externally to help personalize their brand, deepen relationships, and gain honest feedback on personal and corporate performance.
This list is designed to help biz leaders create value for their readers, customers and staff.
- Let The Audience Rule: The blog may be about you, but its main goal should be providing value to your readers (clients and customers for external blogs, employees for internal). Honestly, if you’re writing just for yourself, it’s likely you’ll be the only reader.
- Tell Them Who You Are: A blog is a unique and powerful way for that audience to get to know whom they are dealing with. Is this the sort of person I really want to work with/work for? While the blog can certainly have a business focus, it should be done in a way that provides a window into your day-to-day work, your thoughts and struggles. What drives you to get up in the morning and do it all over again? If you don’t put some piece of yourself into your work, how can you expect/ask your employees to do the same? Be sure to write it yoursel — It’s fine to have a good line/copy editor add some polish if writing isn’t your strong suit, but don’t make it sound like a press release after the lawyers have redlined it.
- Learn From The Best: Seek out other business leaders who blog for some topic starters, and to keep current on hot topics.
- Teach The Rest: You’re probably in the position you’re in because you’re good at what you do so why not share some knowledge. How did you get here? Who inspired you? What’s your definition of success? It’s not uncommon for employees to say of executives: “What the #%@* do they do here!?” Here’s your chance to let them know a bit about what’s fascinating, frustrating and fulfilling about your job.
- Encourage (And Respond To) Feedback: While it may not be possible to answer everyone, you should respond to feedback (good and bad) as much as possible. The more you respond in a thoughtful way to readers, you’ll notice that the tone and quality of the dialog will improve on both sides. Your employees and customers are talking about you whether you know it or not. Making them feel welcome and encouraged to speak up can improve morale, eliminate confusion, and inspire respect faster than you think. Also, you never know where the next great idea will come from!
- Be Green: Sustainability is the key. Provide fresh updates on a regular basis, at the very least, once a week. Fresh content breeds reader loyalty.
- Say What?: Writer’s block affects even the best of us. But remember, you’re not writing a novel, it’s just a blog. The tone can be casual and the length should be relatively brief (under 750 words when possible … this piece is just under that). Avoid daily updates about your Starbucks latte order unless it leads to a think piece about the emergence of WiFi hotspots, consumer demand, fair trade or globalization. Below are some fallback ideas to help get you writing consistently.
- Lists: The most popular type of blog entry enables readers to get a lot of ideas quickly. Share anything from “5 Bits of Advice on…” to “10 Great Talks on…” and explain why that list matters to you. Lists make for nice headlines as well, which can improve readership (it’s the reason this entry is called “Seven Blogging Basics for Business” and not “Framework Document Regarding Social Media Guidelines for Executives.”)
- In The News: Use a recent news article (or blog entry) to sound off and share your thoughts on the topic. Congratulations, you’re now an opinion columnist!
- Notes: Sharing the back and forth of a senior-level meeting where ideas were exchanged, questions were raised or a brainstorming session took place can provide a fascinating look into the company and give employees or customers insight into different departments and knowledge centers.
- Q&A: Interview a colleague from inside or outside the company. Show your staff that you’re part of a community of experts shaping the industry.
- Postcard: Your position likely takes you to conferences around the world where new products are introduced, ideas are exchanged and opportunities present themselves. Share as much as you can about the experience and the excitement of the trip.