Business blogs are great. A really simple idea that allows a business to communicate with customers past, present and future. However it is very important to get the style and language right. You don’t want to sound too friendly but at the same time you want to sound professional. A difficult balance but one that can be found with time and practice.
Before we go in to styles, there is one important thing to establish. Readers must know where you are coming from, where you stand in the organisation. Just what is your authority?
When someone in management writes a blog entry it carries weight. It’s from the ‘horses mouth’ as it were. Does a junior sales rep writing a blog entry carry the same weight? There may not be enough staff in the company to have many levels but there is a way around it.
If a junior member of staff is to write the company blog then to get around the authority issue is to get quotes from seniors members. State each time where the information is coming from. For example…
The stock control manager today confirmed that widget X will be in stock as from tomorrow…
Head of sales announced that prices will be reduce by 10% starting Wednesday…
If you are not a source of authority then quote from those who are.
This style of writing involves explaining or recounting things that have happened For example, new stock of Widget X is in, extended opening hours or your website will be down for an hour or so for maintenance. Be informative, be clear and be accurate.
Explain where the information is coming from so you can sound authoritative (as I explained above). If you company prefers not to name names then use positions, like general manager or head of sales.
Sharing style is for when things are happening. For example, testing out new product ranges, your company is part of an event or perhaps the staff are doing something for charity. The important thing is to give a glimpse to the human side of the business. For example…
It’s the third day of the show, even though we are all tired we are loving it!
We have just moved in to our new offices and can’t wait to get things up and running
Share the emotional side of things to get closer to customers. Make them feel part of what’s going on.
There are two sides to this style. In both cases you have to careful not to sound boastful or ranting. In any case, the idea is that all you are doing is saying me, me, me!
If you have had a major achievement in something like an award or perhaps reached a certain goal, you want to share it. The blog entry would be like someone shouting above the noise of the crowd, “Hey everyone, look here please! Come look at us!”. If it is merited then everyone will want to come and look. Sometimes to get noticed you have to make sure everyone can hear you.
You can also shout about things you don’t like. Things you company doesn’t like to be part of or has a stand against. Be very careful and ensure that what you write is true, not just your own personal feelings. Shouting out that your company is against something can make you stand out. As would explaining why your company is for something. It could turn out to be good PR and help customers make that final decision.
Good examples of this are Fair Trade Foods or Eco friendly products. They shout their difference to appeal to certain audiences.
The company and the writer
How your business blog posts turn out depends on company policy and the person doing the writing. Create a rough plan of what you would like to post about and discuss it with those responsible – each manager in each department. If in doubt, let them preview posts to ensure accuracy and the amount of information you are disclosing.
Remember, the point of the business blog is to convert customers who are in the balance, maintain trust with existing clients and keep a certain amount of buzz going around your business.