Recently I have been involved in a number of discussions about blogging in the context of leaders and managers, and what it is and is not. This got me thinking on how many people should be blogging (internally or externally) but are not.
I will start by saying that there are as many forms of blogs are there are bloggers (people that write blogs)… so there is no right or wrong. What is important is for each writer to be authentic and honest to themselves and their readers. Write from the heart.
It is this variety that often acts as a barrier for people starting to blog.
Blogging for Leaders
Increasingly leaders are being asked to blog, internally and externally, but what is it and why?
Some definitions to help us start to explore this topic:
noun: a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.
verb: add new material to or regularly update a blog.
…is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject.
“Blog” is an abbreviated version of “weblog,” which is a term used to describe web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog features diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites, usually presented as a list of entries in reverse chronological order. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects. Many blogs focus on a particular topic, such as web design, home staging, sports, or mobile technology. Some are more eclectic, presenting links to all types of other sites. And others are more like personal journals, presenting the author’s daily life and thoughts.
Internal or external
It is interesting that the consistent factors in these definitions include:
- Based on the web In reverse chronological order
- Each entry is discrete and standalone
So if blogging is personal publications, that are “public”, what might it mean to a manager or leader internally? How is it different from other communication channels available to us?
Let’s start with the latter, blogging is different, in that it is usually personally written, is a personal view and not a replacement for other in-company communications. It [blogging] is supposed to add to the communications and clarity to people in the business. Blogs are usually personal views and messages, they are not (usually) intended to be articles or newsletters in themselves.
Readers opt to read… or not to read what we write, that is a significant difference that many writers overlook!
Of course if the blog is public to non-employees then that will change what can and cannot be said, but still the blog needs to be authentic, and not “PR” spin.
Blogs are supposed to be regular. This for many managers and leads means short. 2-400 words. The more regularly that you blog, the easier it gets. It’s like a habit.
Find a style that is easy for you, that may mean:
- writing like you talk
- doing a short video blog (increasingly popular)
The key thing is be yourself, be authentic, do it regularly, and you will improve with time.
Remember much like many of us hate hearing our voice on a voice mail, or seeing ourselves in a photo or video, many of us do not like our writing, the reality is of course this is who we are, and others accept it… we are our greatest critic.
Often the barrier to successful blogging (and other tasks) is not other people but the internal critic…
What will you next blog about… and when?