I’m definitely into blogging, which is a good thing because I’m a writer who works in public relations and manages the communications blog for a large, international company during the day (a corporate blogger) – and am also a lifestyle blogger during non-work hours.
Most businesses have created and maintain a corporate website to provide basic information about their product or services, and their hours of operation, location, etc. , but they don’t all use blogs.
Maybe “corporate blogger” brings to mind a young, hip person who posts eye-catching photos and provocative messages on social media for customers of stores geared to youthful buyers. Or a spokesperson for a nonprofit organization or commercial enterprise who spotlights goods and services they provide and reveals behind-the-scenes glimpses about customers they serve or the many ways the company’s products and services can be used.
Those are valid uses for blogs; but it’s not what I do.
I created the blog at work to provide a way to communicate everyday, need-to-know work-related info internally to nearly 14,000 employees around the world from a central source on a near real-time basis.
A small team of employees has maintained the blog for about six years now, and it’s received over 5 million hits.
We invite subject matter experts throughout the organization to submit messages and related documents that they want to communicate to all employees. My team posts the write-ups to the Daily News blog, where everyone who’s on the internal network can access it easily. We make sure the title clearly tells what’s in the message and gives dates and deadlines. We add relevant graphics to blog posts and occasionally add video clips.
Top-level company leaders encourage employees to set the blog as their home page and continuously promote its use, and regular use of the blog is stressed in new employee orientation.
We color-code the blog post headers, since we have a headquarters site and four other major sites. Info for all employees has a normal, uncolored heading, while headers for headquarters only is yellow, and those for other offices are assigned other pastel colors. A legend identifies which header colors correlate with which locations. (Many people from other sites have told me they love being able to hone in on info that applies only to their geographic location.)
In addition, since my official job is writer/editor, I’m always on the lookout for information that I think my coworkers need to know, and track down the details and compose blog posts.
When we started the blog in 2010, many people at work had never heard of blogging and had no idea how blogs work. (Quite a few high-level managers called me and whispered, “Can you show me how to use the blog?”)
Changing the corporate culture took a while, and getting people comfortable with blogging by personal tutoring and hand-holding also took time. But people came around and embraced it.
Soon, numerous employees were posting questions and comments on blog posts. Discussions occurred and people seemed to like the interactive nature of it. Because I know every submitter doesn’t read the blog like I do all day, when a question is posted, I write the person and ask him or her to answer it, providing a direct link to the question. The employee with a question gets a prompt response and everyone is happy.
However, even though a lot of important info is posted on the blog, many people are extremely busy (and are often on the road) and they say they don’t have time to keep up with it.
Our solution for that is to summarize each blog post and send a weekly blog summary to everyone.
So… every Friday I spend at least five hours carefully reading every word of all blog posts from that week, summing each one up in two concise sentences. It’s amazing how people send us 12 paragraphs of verbiage to post, and how easy it is to get to the heart of the matter in a sentence or two! (It helps that I have 16 years on the job and have written numerous “how to” guides about many critical company functions, after extensive conversations with experts in those areas. You really need to understand what the blog posts are about! Occasionally, though, I have to call the submitter and tactfully ask them what they mean. )
The weekly blog summary has been so popular since its inception that nearly 90 employees from all sites have written me personal emails thanking me for sending them the easy-to-read news summary every week! That’s pretty amazing! (And when people meet me, they inevitably say, “Boy, your name is familiar!”)
Company-wide focus groups over the years consistently show that employees rate the blog summary as one of the favored forms of communication.
If your company doesn’t use a blog to convey important internal information to employees, you might want to consider it!