There are a wealth of resources across the blogosphere that define the characteristics of a good corporate blogger. Common themes include:
- A passion to write
- An expertise in a certain area or niche
- Possessing strong writing skills or the desire to improve writing
- Dedicating the time needed
- Strong networks and networking skills in both the social Web and offline
- Those wanting to engage in the conversation that blogging offers
Today, as more businesses embrace the benefits of blogging, and regard blogging as a team effort, we recognize that guidance is needed in both getting started, and choosing the right representatives for the company.
Moreover, we recognize the importance of establishing specific criteria, customized to each business, to evaluate potential bloggers who are excited to the join the cause, but might not be prepared to accept the challenge.
The Standard Requirements
Traits that all recruits need to possess are accountability for their personal brand and how it affects the company (both offline and online); a willingness to adhere to and enforce the social media policies and initiatives set forth by the company; an understanding of the benefits of producing optimized, relevant content as part of the company’s Website strategy; and the general feeling that their efforts are part of something bigger, for the greater good, not solely based on professional advancement.
Corporate blogging is a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s key to find contributors that can see the big picture, work together toward a common goal, and are dedicated to building leads and loyalty for years to come.
Targeting individuals skilled in marketing and communications is the natural first step. By trade, these employees know how to write, understand audiences, create clear objectives for the pieces and track the performance of their work.
But in today’s content-flooded environment, we need to look beyond the usual suspects, and find the resources and hidden talents that lie within corporate walls. By identifying characteristics, backgrounds and personality traits that support the blog’s strategic objectives, it becomes easier to promote engagement, and retain the contributors through the lifelong commitment that is social media and blogging.
It also helps demonstrate the well-rounded, diverse resources that exist in the company, to connect with audiences on a more personal level and help differentiate the company among the competition.
Traits to Look For
Employees that possess any or all of the following characteristics that inspire, entertain and educate, could be candidates for great blog contributors.
Where to look: entrepreneurs, president, C-level, management, division leaders
Experience, expertise and leadership qualities make these great candidates for contributors, and give a personal connection between end users and corporate leaders. Often they can offer a more big-picture perspective, derived from experience and ability to take risks. They are often the ones that bring new ideas to market and might embrace the opportunity to talk directly to their end users. They also are committed to long-term success and vision.
What to consider: Time constraints are tough, as well as sensitivity of sharing subject matter. Often blog series can work well, offering educational resources and inspirational messaging that can apply to business or the specific industry.
Where to look: marketing, public relations, HR, sales, customer service
Those in professional marketing have a natural knack for understanding audiences and communicating messages, while those in HR, sales and customer service can have constant interaction with key audiences - such as customers, employees and partners - and the stories and information to share to speak directly to these audiences.
What to consider: This talent pool has the skills and personality to represent your company, and meet the deadlines or goals they are used to working under. As the social Web is vast, with endless opportunities to monitor, participate and publish, make sure expectations are met as far as core job functions and time availability before adding the new responsibilities of blogging and social media.
Where to look: IT, legal, project management, market research, interns, consultants
While audiences like to be inspired and entertained, they also like to hear the facts and increase their knowledge in a subject area, whether for general know-how or help in decision making. Especially when it comes to highly technical or extremely niche subject matter, such as might be the case for your company.
People also like polls and statistics, and as part of their job, employees of different departments and roles have access and insight into useful data. Also, those newer to the company, or in the learning stages such as interns, can offer a fresh perspective on a topic.
What to consider: Many highly technical people that are experts in their focus areas, may not consider themselves adept at writing creatively for the blog or other channels. Guide them and educate to help unlock their hidden potential. Short, simple, and to the point is the kind of writing that works great in blogs. Think of post ideas like step-by-step guides, lists of resources, or covering an industry trade event.
Help from the outside?
Companies don’t have to always look inward for captivating blog content. Consider guest authors to add outside perspective and insight, such as in the form of a series, a support piece or to enhance the resources published for blog subscribers.
The outsourcing of blog article writing to freelancers and agencies is also a hot topic right now. While our agency will be exploring this subject in future posts, different situations can call for different levels of support and expertise, and definitely worth the discussion.
This blog's for you
Sometimes the best authors, with the most relevant and captivating content for audiences to share, aren't always the ones with the writing backgrounds. It’s important to find the combination of personality traits, expertise and dedication that match the goals of the blog strategy.
Recruiting authors that possess a willingness to learn, and desire to share and help promote the content through social media channels, helps build a great blog and may encourage others to join the force.
Who blogs for your company? What are other traits to look for in potential authors? What's next for corporate blogging?
Links of interest:
- 11 Characteristics of Highly Influential Blog(ger)s, Techipedia.com, Tamar Weinberg
- The 7 Traits Of Highly Successful Bloggers, dragosroua.com, Dragos Roua
- How to Become an A-List Blogger, Copyblogger.com, Glen Allsopp
Capadona-Schmitz is an assistant vice president and consultant at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. She can be found on Twitter @ChristinaCS.