When it comes to internal company blogs the communications department is usually onboard and the executives come to realize that they have to take the time to blog and write out their thoughts. They know it’s important to communicate information in their own voice about company initiatives in order to keep everyone informed and sharing useful information. Blogs are a great way to communicate directly with employees, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that employees will embrace the blog from the start and engage with executives. What’s a company to do?
When I met with my client last week in NYC, I was so pleased to hear that the President of the company was blogging. This was their first foray into blogging and, unfortunately, their efforts were met with disappointment. The VP of Marketing said to me, “We set up the blog, he’s been blogging for well over two weeks and no one is commenting. There is not one comment since he started.” I wasn’t surprised by the results of the initial effort because, from past experience, this has been the case for many of my clients who start an internal blogging program. Sometimes, culture plays a part in the lack of employee comments or employees are simply not used to collaborating through social media.
When I spoke with the President about the situation, he said, “I know that people read the blog. They make a point of saying to me, “Hey I read your blog post…” It was clear that employees were reviewing the posts, but no one wanted to be the first one to have a conversation.
My immediate suggestions were to:
- Double check the nature of the blog content. The President of the company may be discussing topics such as earnings calls and company policy, which don’t necessarily warrant employee comments.
- Ask questions and seek answers from members of the company. Blogging is about a two-way conversation. If you select topics of interest and ask for opinions or for people to share information, employees are more apt to participate.
- If you think employees feel uncomfortable commenting on an executive blog, seed the blog with guest blog posts from different members of the company. Perhaps, employees don’t want to engage first with the President’s blog but would feel differently about commenting on a directors or a senior manager’s blog.
- Keep blogging and don’t get discouraged. If you keep up with the pace and continue to offer interesting information and invite comments, eventually the culture will shift.
- Ask a few people to join the conversation in a non-threatening way. Let them know that their contribution will help the company to maintain constant communication with employees and upper management.
- Send reminders to employees to let them know that the blog is active and that they are invited to join in the conversation.
- Add in photos, video, podcasts and other interesting materials. Let’s face it, employees are busy all day and may not have the time to review and comment on the blog during the workday. If they’re reading the blog at home (early morning or at night), make it a little fun or humorous, so that they enjoy what they’re reading and want to join in on the conversation.
These are just a few helpful suggestions, especially if you are experiencing a similar situation. I know there must be many other helpful tips, so if you have any, please feel free to share and discuss them. We can all learn together.
This guest post, What’s a Blog Without Comments?, originally appeared on the PR Expanded blog on November 24, 2008.[signoff][/signoff]
Deirdre Breakenridge is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications . A 25-year veteran in public relations, she teaches at NYU and speaks internationally on the topics of PR, marketing and social media. She is the author of Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional and blogs at PR 2.0 Strategies .