This past week at EMC World, I had the pleasure of chatting with Linda Bock of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, as she interviewed Len Devanna and me about social media at EMC and how we’re using it as a company, how it’s transformed our culture, and what benefits we’re getting out of the tools we’re using.
One of the topics that came to the forefront of the conversation is blogging and how EMC views blogging. Given that we were sitting in the Bloggers Lounge at EMC World, it was pretty clear that we’re all for blogging. In fact, we love nothing more than enabling our employees to have a voice, whether it’s an internal blog on EMC|ONE (the enterprise community I used to manage) or externally via their own blog, such as those listed on our Community Page on EMC.com.
One of the things that Linda asked me to do was provide her with a list of five tips for corporate bloggers, but I thought I’d take an opportunity to do a bit of deeper dive, along with a blog post of my own on the topic.
Blogs are a great way for employees, companies, customers – people – to have a voice in their organization and write about topics they find interesting and are passionate about.
For those of us that love writing, they’re also a great way for us to share our thoughts and become even better writers and communicators. I love blogging because it helps me to write things out and think them through thoroughly. Blogs also offer a nice reference point for past thoughts and perspectives.
From a conversation and awareness perspective, blogs make you easier to find, or more visible. Most blogs are indexed by Google, which means you’re searchable, and people can more easily enter into a conversation with you. You have the ability to syndicate your content out via your social networks (think Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and the ability to broaden your network and reach more people who share the same interests and passions as you do, as well as engage in a healthy dialogue and debate once in a while.
If you’re considering beginning your own blog, I suggest you answer the following questions:
- What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? List your objectives and keep them in mind when writing. And be flexible with your objectives – as your interests change, you objectives might change along with them.
- Who is your audience? Have your audience in mind when writing. Who are trying to communicate with and how do you want them to interact with you?
- How are you going to handle comments? Think about how and when you’ll respond to comments. And make sure that you do respond to comments – you should be participating in the discussion!
- What are you passionate about? Write about it! Don’t pick something that you’re not really interested in to blog about. It will not be fun, it will not be productive, and ultimately, you’ll get sick of it and quit. Stick with things that are interesting to you and the blogging will come more naturally.
- How much time can you commit? Set reasonable expectations for yourself. There is no right or wrong amount of time – whatever you’re comfortable with and committed to is the right amount of time. Set expectations with your readers and stick to them. You’ll develop a trusting relationship with them that will keep them coming back.
If you’ve already got a blog and are interested in growing your audience or looking for new ideas to engage your audience, think about this:
- Have you set aside time to participate in your own blog and the conversations it sparks? Remember that your readers want to converse and engage with you – are you there for them?
- Are there influential voices already out there discussing your topic? Be sure to join in their conversations, too. Don’t make it a one-way street.
- Are you trying to have a conversation or just talking? Are you asking questions of your audience? Are you answering questions of you?
- Are you listening? What is your audience telling you based on their comments? What can you learn from your audience?
- Are you showing your audience love? Show that you value your readers by engaging with them, interacting with them, and answering their questions. You can even invite one of them to be a “guest” blogger now and then.
Finally, if you’re wondering how blogging can help you or your company, consider these success stories:
- Blogging provides a platform to share your opinions, expertise and your point of view with the world, generating exposure for yourself and your company
- Blogging provides you a direct connection to your audience and their thoughts, feelings and sentiments on any given topic
- Blogging enables you to establish a thought leadership presence
- Blogging enables you to drive awareness around a variety of events and activities, including product launches, conferences, new solutions, etc.
- Blogging enables you to build new strategic partnerships and connections throughout the world
- Blogging enables you to identify and network with influencers and like-minded professionals
- Blogging enables you to gain a competitive advantage by providing honest insight into your viewpoint and expertise, as well as showcasing listening and feedback mechanisms
- Blogging enables you to get your message out to many people fast by providing syndication opportunities and ease of access around the world
- Blogging enables you to bring in new leads by providing an honest viewpoint about the organization and its portfolio of offerings
- Blogging enables you to recruit new employee candidates by providing insight into the organization, as well as a human element to the people that work there