Although I’m finding myself tweeting more (@davidnour) often and blogging less, I remain amazed by how many organizations and senior leaders in particular have yet to see the value of a corporate blog as the central hub for their ideas, perspectives, and candid responses to market dynamics. In short, a fundamental platform for their voice!
As such, here are some best practices from our work with a multitude of corporate clients and senior leadership teams:
1. Find Your Focus – the broader market is NOT your market. Who are you trying to date, because you cannot date everyone! Pick a focus or two and discuss both your unique perspective in a strategic approach, as well as a more practical, pragmatic, tactical manner. Remember, most audiences love tips, techniques and proven best practices.
2. Share Your Corporate Perspective – As the corporate leader, I want to know what you think, read, how you tackle tough challenges, and find of interest and value. What do you adamantly object to and what do you feel is unjust or inappropriate? I want to hear your voice, unfiltered by the HR, legal, and the political correctness departments, without exposing yourself or your company to unnecessary risk.
3. Manufacture (not just distribute) Compelling Content – I already read FastCompany, Inc., Forbes, Newsweek, WSJ, The New York Times, and dozens of other blogs, e-newsletters and Twitter feeds; in short, I don’t need you to regurgitate other people’s content – I want you to be a freethinker and create fresh, compelling, content.
Excite or disturb me to change my perspective; I want you to stand for something with passion and conviction! You weren’t born in a suit, so take off your jacket, roll up your sleeves, loosen the tie and write like you believe in something!
4. Establish Your Thought Leadership – Consistently original, high quality content puts your stake in the ground as a formidable expert first and a sound pipe second. Without the expertise, you’re an empty suit or a blow horn. With the expertise and no platform, you’re unknown. Ideally, you combine the two strategically and diplomatically to become unparalleled.
5. Know and Cater to Your Audience – Mine are “C- and V-level” execs and board members, many of whom don’t read blogs. It is a challenge to reach them, but guess what? Their lieutenants and trusted advisors do. I love getting calls from them where they may even completely disagree with my point of view, but appreciate the independent perspective and unique insights to invite me to speak to their audience or customers. Focus on becoming an expert with visible credibility – those who matter will find you!
6. Your On- and Off-line Presence Must be In-line – Said another way, the person and the organization your audience perceive you to be in the real world must be consistent with the perspective they will read on your blog and on various social networks. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your market. On- or off-line, the quality of the content is king, from a credible, dependable, independent source.
7. Provide Options – Sometimes you’ll want to simply convey your point of view. Other times, you’ll want to give the audience a chance to further explore a topic. As such, I’m a big believer of providing options such as links to other sources, embedding video or audio, or asking guest bloggers I respect and trust to contribute to our newsletter or blog. If you’re always the hero of your stories, your blog will get old in a hurry!
8. Moderate Commenting – The whole purpose of blogs is to create a conversation. I don’t understand corporate blogs where commenting is not available. Isn’t that the whole point? And respectfully “too much SPAM” is a lame excuse since there are technologies out there to filter the filth and the useless. You want comments from your audience as a channel for them to give you feedback, share their experiences, and add perspective. Notice, I advocate “moderated commenting.” You’re welcome to comment on any of my blog posts, but I reserve the right to approve or delete your comments based on my sole discretion.
9. “Build It and They’ll Come” is a Failed Strategy – You have to promote it, reference it, drive traffic and awareness to it. Whether within the organization or external to it, “unless you toot your own horn, there is no music,” as one of my mentors likes to say. Link your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles to your blog; drive the RSS feed to your profile on RENetworks (email me if you don’t know what this is), include a link to it in your email signature, put a link to it on your corporate bio page, use Twitterfeed to populate your Twitter account with your blog posts, create both in-bound and out-bound links to other blogs you like and respect. Bottom line, package, market and sell it!
10. Aim for Quality vs. Quantity – I’d rather see you blog less often and blog with much greater quality of content. Don’t take me wrong – you still need some consistency on the blog – ideally, once or twice a week. But daily, a) gets annoying and b) the pressure to produce more often may dilute the quality of your ideas, perspectives, and overall content value. Go back and read the writing of Andy Rooney or George Will and emulate their ability to convey a key point.
Bonus: Get an Independent Perspective – I often ask another set of eyes to read my posts; not only for grammatical corrections, but also, did it capture my point of view, perspective, voice. Did I rave & rant too much, or did I passionately make a valid point? Was an isolated incident that I’m upset about or a destructive behavior that’s disturbing me come through? Make sure it’s someone your respect and not a “yes man.”
©MMIX The Nour Group, Inc. All Right Reserved.
David Nour is a social networking strategist and one of the foremost thought leaders on the quantifiable value of business relationships. A native of Iran, David came to the U.S. with a suitcase, $100 cash, limited family ties and no fluency in English! Fast forward 25 years and he has built an impressive career of entrepreneurial success, both within large corporations and early stage ventures. David is the author of Relationship Economics (Wiley, 2008), a senior management advisor, and a featured speaker for corporate, association and academic forums, where he shares his knowledge and experience as a leading change agent and visionary for Relationship Economics® – the art and science of relationships. To learn more, please visit: www.relationshipeconomics.NET or call 1-888-339-1333.