It’s something I’ve seen a few times now. If you’re the or one of the first people in your organisation to start an internal blog, you can leverage much more influence than if you’re late to the party.
I’ve seen people get the ear of the board, senior Vice Presidents, influence company policy, gain exciting projects and become promoted to official ‘2.0’ ambassador both within and outside of IT lines. How and why? They have been quick to leverage one of the most powerful communication channels emerging inside the firewall. They’ve also realised that getting in early, before it gets ‘noisy’ is key to success.
First a word of caution. If you really are the very first person to set-up an internal blog you are going to be subject to scrutiny, risk being shut down and might be disappointed if your efforts go nowhere. This is especially true in large bureaucratic organisations.
Now the good news. Being the very first (or one of just a few) puts you in an influential position. People will sit up and take notice. Here are some reasons you’ll attract attention:
- Senior management will want to know who you are and what you are saying. Are you a threat or an innovative individual who’s willing to share his thoughts in a public forum?
- The first blog is like a when a new kid starts school. People want to know who you are, what you are like and what you have to say. Whether they take to you after this is another matter and is up to you.
- It can feel like a new era has dawned on your company. This is especially true if the blog originates outside of a technical IT line. Such a simple thing as a blog can make people feel like the company is moving with the times both culturally and technically.
- You are doing something new that others wish they had the courage to do, so they’ll take notice and champion your efforts.
- You’ll be seen as a risk talker and innovator. In many companies this is a good thing.
So now you have this attention, what are you going to do with it? Well, I’d steer clear from being too hard-line about anything or controversial to begin with. Remember that by becoming the first blogger you have the unofficial job of setting a precedent, theme and image of blogging in general. If you start off ranting and raving about why the company is in a bad way, then you’ll just give blogs a bad name and represent yourself in a negative light.
Here are some way’s to get started:
- Speak on behalf of a interest group or project. This gives you a hook, subject matter and identity.
- Brand You. Brand yourself, give the blog and by association yourself an identifiable image. I mean logos, tag lines and aesthetics as well as your writing style.
- Be consistent. Get a post out on a regular basis.
- If supported, allow people to subscribe to your blog.
- Promote the blog in your email signature.
I’d suggest you start off by posting material with broad appeal. Whether it’s something like reporting on developments in a certain area/interest, or discussing an important project, this is your hook to gain readership.
So now you you’re up and running and have an audience how do you up your game and get some of that influence?
- Challenge the status quo. If there’s some stupid stuff going on or out of date practices in your company why not question them? Don’t come across as negative; instead offer to be part of the solution. Solicit ideas for how improvements might be made.
- Establish an unofficial interest group via the blog. This should be on something important to the company goals, industry or playing on trends on the outside, such as online collaboration.
- Be true to yourself. If you’re just playing the game and doing this just for a promotion then people will see through it and you’ll lose respect.
- Been seen to facilitate discussions and keep comments and content appropriate. By this I mean keep the language clean and be grown up with what you are saying and allowing others to say. If someone starts an inappropriate rant on your blog, then politely bring them back in line or filter the content. This will establish you and blogging in general as a mature communication medium.
I’m not saying any old Joe can achieve great things just by blogging. However if you really are great, and have great ideas and interesting things to say, then step up and get noticed.
These are just some of my ideas and observations over the last few years. Many factors are at play when it comes to elevating yourself to an influential position. Being first to set up a blog could be one way to gain advantage.
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