Turn your blog from a sinkhole into a maypole in 3 simple steps!
Wait, what’s a maypole?
You know, it’s that tall pole surrounded by ribbons that everyone spins around. It’s the center of everything and ties people together in celebration. That’s whatyour blog should be; An educational, persuasive, and an inspiring central voice for the company. All too often however, it develops into anything but, which is where most companies are today.
How did it come to this?
When an organization outgrows the first oversized oak table where everyone used to fit comfortably, communication starts to break down. This is only natural. Headcount is added, hierarchy develops, management processes restrict the flow of information, and you develop the dreaded enemy of open communication: information silos!
Along with this comes a declining sense of common purpose. When you were small and everyone saw themselves as David taking on Goliath, they all lived and breathed for the company. When you get bigger, new employees are less educated on why it was all started and are more loyal to the paycheck. They’re lacking in the unifying ethos of the early days and perform less well because of it. You become just another company.
Yikes. Seem like too much gloom and doom? Worry not, it’s not too late to save yourself. There’s a simple answer.
Use your blog to create a common purpose!
Far too often your blog is an afterthought. Responsibility for it falls into the hands of someone far too low on the marketing totem pole and they launch rafts of “thought leadership” articles modeled after your competitors' which are bland as sawdust. This isn’t what customers or employees want to hear, and just because you’re saying it doesn’t mean that anyone is listening.
On the other hand, a great blog run by somebody with experience becomes the unifying voice of your company. As a shining beacon it will highlight what makes your company unique and tie all departments together like ribbons around the maypole that is the company’s central mission. A blog of this quality educates and persuades your employees to bind everyone together with common purpose!
Want a maypole of your own? Here’s how to do it in 3 steps:
Step 1: Education: Focusing the blog on education makes it vastly more readable. To accomplish this, you absolutely have to get away from asking the intern to write articles. That’s lazy, and that’s inviting the least knowledgeable person to get in well above their head. For their own good they need the opportunity to learn from someone much more experienced whose writing will reflect well upon the company, serve as a proper demand generation tool, and which teaches its readers something that they don’t already know. Readers should learn at least one new thing from each post or it doesn’t belong on there. Look to your executives, your founders, your top performers, and your key players to write and share their genuine insights.
Do this and you’ll create digital, top-down loudspeaker spreading those fascinating stories about the foundation of the company, it’s unique value, and the challenges that it helps your customers solve. This educates your customers but also everyone within your company. Salespeople get smarter, customer success becomes more responsive, and your developers make products that are more intuitive. Education improves performance for all.
Pro Tip: Don’t have time to write? Make time! Or, find a freelance writer whose background matches your company and who can take your drafts and flesh them out into thought-provoking copy.
Step 2: Persuasion: Persuasive content keeps your message consistent and compels more people to share it. The best way to create this type of sizzling copy is to have a strong voice in your industry which comes from softly beating your own drum through targeted content marketing. Identify your customer personas and interview them to find out what they’re most interested in hearing about. For executives, it’s always high-level strategy. For analysts and mid-level employees, it’s usually more tactical day-to-day operational tips. Write your content based upon these topics with the sole purpose of helping them do their jobs better. Avoid overly promotional topics such as “5 reasons why we’re the best” (we wish we were making that one up) but rather weave your product in either as an understated hyperlink or a soft suggestion in the footer offering to help them learn more.
This process produces content that’s genuinely helpful and which actually gets shared. Within your company, customer-centric content trickles down to give your employees a better understanding of the five Ws of journalism (who, what, where, when, why) about your product. Those type of employees are far more persuasive about spreading the word of what you do through their personal and professional lives, and this keeps everybody pushing the same message.
Step 3: Fighting spirit: Once your blog is up and you have plenty of credible content, open it back up to let employees contribute again. Set standards for journalistic rigor and abstain from publishing anything unreadable and yet, let them each experience the editing process. Explaining what your company does in writing is the ultimate form of on-the-job learning and done right, you’ll find that everyone feels more engaged and involved when each morning they check out the blog to see who around them has been published.
In my experience I’ve always been pleasantly surprised to find that those who step forward and contribute will actually have a lot to say on subjects that you’re lacking in. It’s great for their resume because they snag a byline and it imbues them with more authority when speaking with customers. Sometimes, they’ll even evolve into full-time storytellers (like this author). The net effect of all of this is more common purpose and a central blog which everyone reads and believes in!
Tying it all together
Done right you can turn your maypole blog into a thriving ecosystem of thought, discussion, and learning. When it’s geared towards education and written by someone who is experienced enough to have great ideas to share, it will become more readable. Match that with a focus on helping customers do their jobs better and you’ll gather a loyal following. Top it off with broad contribution from within the company and you’re in a great spot to tie everything back together of your common mission like it was in the good old days when the team was small enough to huddle around an single oak table!
Now, time to go put pen-to-paper (or, let’s be real, your MacBook) and whip that blog into shape!
Looking for a freelance writer? At Find A Way Media we help companies tell their story through persuasive blogging. Click here to learn more today!