As leaders, we all have a role to engage and communicate with our employees, customers and key stakeholders.
We all probably have tried and tested tools and techniques: face to face meetings, team huddles, stakeholder one-to-ones, relationship meetings, newsletters and large stand up briefing and comms sessions and so on.
However, how effective are they? Do our teams really look forward to those showpiece briefing/communications sessions delivered by the senior IT Leaders? We may have a guest speaker thrown in for good measure, and a more junior member of the IT team talking about something they have delivered as part of their “development” plan to become better at public speaking. How about the IT “Newsletter” full of good news stories?
To be fair, all those channels have a place. However, blogging is an extra approach.
To be frank I discovered it by accident. I started writing a weekly internal IT Service blog about three years ago. After some ribbing by my colleagues along the lines of “no one ever reads it”, I then discovered my blogs were the pages with the highest number of reads on the IT Intranet site. That stopped the ribbing!
When I started looking for a new role, I launched an external blog site www.markjacot.com and that has had about 10,000 hits since its launch. Its aim was simple, be in control of the material about me on the Internet. It forced me to think about my brand, proposition and what subjects I was knowledgeable about.
In my role leading IT Service Delivery at The Open University, I launched a blog on week one, and that now averages over 300 reads a week.
What are the tips I have learnt from doing this?
- Weekly bite size blogs are easy to read, allow me to get messages across and generate conversations in bite size chunks
- Regular slots are a must. The discipline is important, once you know you have to do a weekly blog, you look out for content
- Blogs are more informal, I can float ideas, and they are not seen in the same way as formal management communications.
- The style should be you and authentic – think about your brand before you start – you can read more in this blog I wrote here
- If you think communications are important then you will make the time. Don’t see blogging as something extra you have not got time for, but regard it as an alternative type of communications that you could do instead of other activities.
- Be brave and have a go, start small and your audience will build as you get the hang of it and not too many people will notice any early teething problems.
If this prompts you to have a go, let me know, I’d be interested in how you get on and I can learn from your experiences. Also have a look at this blog on writing good comms.