On Thought Leadership and Corporate BlogsWednesday December 4th, 2013
In addition to positioning yourself as a thought leader to clients or others outside of your company, a corporate blog is an invaluable way to communicate your expertise and keep everyone up to date within your company.
Corporate blogs are popular for many reasons. They’re a great way to show “thought leadership” and to share the ways that your company is innovating or experimenting. They’re also a great way to generate a constant stream of content, which helps search engine optimization. (Especially when there’s a good content strategy in place, and the articles are sprinkled with keywords.) Blog articles also make great content for social media, and sending people to blog articles is a good payoff when they click on your ad.
These are all great reasons to have and maintain a corporate blog. There’s a lot more, though, that a blog can do for an organization. The role a corporate blog can play internally at a company is arguably just as valuable as the role it can play externally.
Whether it’s sharing relevant technical details that coworkers wouldn’t otherwise research, educating different departments on your processes or bringing new employees up to speed, corporate blogs may have more internal benefits than most people give them credit for.
Share Your Expertise
Take this blog and the web design industry as an example. You can apply this to any industry, but here’s how it works in ours.
As websites evolve and we start to form specific job roles for different parts of the web design process, it’s more important than ever to make sure all the different roles work together toward a unified goal and product. That product needs to be technically perfect, aesthetically current, functional for users as well as search engines and it needs to work with online marketing strategies.
Therefore, developers need to know about SEO, designers need to understand content strategy, and content creators need to care about semantic tags and HTML5.
But every employee can’t read every article on the Internet about every aspect of the web design process. Instead, we require all of our full time employees to write blog articles, and we all read them.
Our digital strategy guys might write one about the kind of SEO considerations they’d love our developers to know or care about. I may write about responsive design so that our sales team stays educated and is better able to speak to potential clients. A front-end developer could explain the <article> and <section> tags in HTML5 and how organizing content in the right way makes it more versatile, sharable and discoverable.
The beauty of all this is that if it helps your team internally, it will likely help other teams in other companies as well.
Don’t Complain… Educate
At companies where employees have specialized roles but everyone is working towards the same goals, groups often seem to end up working against each other instead of together. In the spirit of empathy and progress, it’s important to remember that instead of complaining about coworkers in other departments, we should be educating each other. Blogs are a great way to do this.
You may have read about the important role a corporate blog can play in educating and cultivating ideal clients. Basically, the argument is that education is the smartest way to handle client friction and manage expectations.
Equally important, though, is educating coworkers.
Here’s an example. Often, creative or product departments clash with sales and marketing departments. What could be worse for a business? Blogs that explain technical details of a product or reveal expert insight into an industry can go a long way in the hands of a good salesperson. On the other side, blogs that talk about lead cultivation, client psychology or creative marketing initiatives can inspire and motivate a product team.
Everyone’s process is involved and technical, but coworkers in other departments may never know unless you tell them!
Either way, without criticism, passive aggression or ego-filled meetings, an employee can make his or her job easier through a blog article, while improving the company at the same time.
Build an Employee Training Library
When your company is an industry leader, it’s important that every person at the company is an industry expert. If you’re a forward-thinking company with progressive ideas, then you can’t always count on new hires being completely up to speed. Blogs are a great a way to catch someone up, especially from an ideological or “company mission” perspective.
Furthermore, if you’re truly a thought leader in your industry, there’s a good chance that new hires have read your articles already. Therefore, they have an understanding of your style and culture. There’s even a chance they’ve aligned with your ideas, and that’s how they found you in the first place.
In any case, a corporate blog provides a layered look into a company and its people. The content presents facts, but the theories, attitudes and ideals of individual employees poke through between the lines. That makes for effective training for specific skillsets, but it also teaches corporate culture.
You’re Already Doing It
The cool thing about all this is that if you understand the external benefits of a company blog, then these internal benefits are a free bonus. You may not even notice it’s happening, but your whole organization is benefiting from corporate blogging.
At times, at least for us, it’s hard to require every employee to write. But you have to. For some roles, it seems that nothing is further from their core duties than writing. As you may or may not know, that’s never true, and writing is an important, universal skill for any position.
Keeping a corporate blog a priority is still hard work, but it pays off. Externally, company blogs show thought leadership and eventually generate sales, but internally they keep everyone up to date on technology and industry trends, educate coworkers and help get new employees up to speed in the future.
Not to mention, good corporate blog writing leads to good, productive workplace conversation and promotes sharing, learning and growing. What could be better than that?