Blogs as conversations, not ego-boosting

Most communicators in organisations are missing out in blogs. And that’s because the main story about blogs is missing the relevant point.

I’ve been talking with various people recently in the communications world about blogs. Their current preception about blogs is based on the evidence – lots of individuals (mostly small companies or freelancers) pushing themselves and their opinions. [And, yes, this one would come into that.]

And what relevance does that have to the communications team of a large organisation?

I think that story about blogs is wrong. Blogs are about creating informal, online conversations (assuming you have the sense to leave the "Comments" field open) with people that you will rarely if ever have the chance to have a face-to-face conversation.

So how could blogs be effective for an organisation?

Internally, try a CEO-blog to start with – but break out of formal communications. It’s informal, it’s anecdotal and it’s aimed at talking about observations and what they prompt. Then open up the comments field for anyone to post their thoughts. And respond to them.

If you’re feeling more brave, make blogs available to anyone who wants one. Yes, you’ll get some people posting all sorts of things that you may not want to see. You’ll get all sorts of styles and all sorts of content – some appropriate, some not. But you’ll also see conversations cropping up between blogs – discussions about all sorts of things in the organisation. And you’ll quickly see which subjects and which individuals are important and which are the most contentious. Fabulous information to act on!

And externally, as Microsoft to their credit have realised, multiple blogs from an organisation humanise it. It’s no longer one monolithic brand and a single voice, but a more realistic picture of individuals with differing points of view, but similar goals.

But the advantage of a non-monolithic brand is a whole can of worms to be opened another day.

If you’re looking at blogs and not sure what the real benefit is, there are workshops cropping up all over the place. Go to one. Not one that does the technical, but one that does the implications and the uses.