Blogs are Scary!

28 Mar

I’ve been talking to a number of clients about blogs lately.  The idea is appealing.  For a smaller organization, a blog is an easy way to gain a platform to express a point of view, engage in community discussion and connect with a wider world of potentially interested people.

But despite the hype and the promise, the idea of undertaking the responsibility of a blog is intimidating.  Why?

  • You have to feed the beast. Anyone familiar with blogs and blogging realizes that you have to post. Often.  There’s nothing more pathetic than a blog begun with great ambition and promise that lies dormant on the corporate website for three months or more.  No one wants to start what they can’t finish.
  • You want to do it right. Leaders care about the words they use.  Bloggers do, too…but (let’s face it) less so).  Style is often breezier, quicker and more casual.  It’s not that that blogs feature bad writing.  But for some, it’s hard to accept writing fast and hitting publish without making sure each post is absolutely, positively perfect.
  • It’s “one more thing.” Most people just don’t have a lot of spare time at work. The last thing they need is one more thing to add to the pile.  And let’s face it, their job is running their organization, not writing blogs.

The change that needs to take place is one of both mindset and organizational.  Organizations need to see “communications” — whether with their employees, customers, industries or sales prospects — as a daily responsibility.  Each day, week, month and quarter, leaders need to ask and answer some key questions: What are we going to talk about with our key stakeholders?  What do we want to know from them? What do we need them to do so that we can all be successful?

In my mind, this means that the corporate communciations function — and in particular public relations — will either have to add staff, or shift toward greater focus on content creation and social engagement online and reduce attention on “pitching” exclusive or semi-exclusive stories to news outlets.

Which takes us back to blogs.  They are fast, easy and online. They are interactive, and encourage feedback.  When your primary, daily focus is on content creation and social engagement, the blog becomes far more central to communications strategy, rather than “one more thing.”

Speaking of which, here’s a conversation I’d welcome:  If your organization could only start a blog if it first gave up another communications or marketing activity, what would you give up?

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