Blogging Q & A; With Northeastern University
I was contacted by a senior at Northeastern University whose advanced organizational communication class is studying blogging. We did an interview over email with regards to blogging and specifically, the purpose of our company blog at Webmail.us. They asked some good questions, so I figured I’d share the Q&A; here.
Why did your company begin the blog?
We started our blog in order to create a more effective communication channel between us and our growing number of customers. We currently provide services to more than 12,000 businesses throughout the world and more traditional forms of communication won’t cut it. The blog allows us to stay in touch and keep our customers updated on our business.
Are you the only one who writes for the organizations blog or do other employees contribute, and if so, is it in their job requirement to do so?
We have many contributors. Some occasionally write to the blog, others provide me with information that they want me to communicate to our customers. I encourage people to write to the blog and I require that they at least provide me information relative to our customers, that I can blog.
Where do you write your blog? At work? Elsewhere?
I write to the blog from work and home. Being the co-founder of my company, work is my life… so it doesn’t matter where I am.
What do you see as the primary purpose or aim of the blog?
The primary purpose of our blog is to have an open conversation with our customers, keeping them up to date on everything that happens at our company, good or bad, that might possibly affect the products and services we provide. We run a very transparent culture and our blog is one of the ways to promote that transparency.
What policies or guidelines, if any, does your organization have about blogging?
Rule #1: all blog posts will have potential impact on a customer—they will have personality to them, but they must have impact, even in the smallest way. This isn’t something we were shooting for before, but as we refine our strategy, we think this is the best and most effective way to go.
Rule #2: we will blog as concisely and often as possible. Instead of writing really long posts, we will focus on posting often but we’ll try hard to be short and to the point.
Our goal is simple. We want to be as transparent as possible with our customers and the rest of the world. We want to engage our customers in conversation. We want your feedback. I promise we will listen.
Do organizational members receive any training or guidance about blogging or how to blog?
We don’t provide formal training, but I work with people on improving their writing skills.
How do you generate the content of your posts?
Most of the content is generated by actions we take within the company. For example, we might upgrade a feature or want to make an announcement about a new service on the horizon. From there, we turn that into a blog post.
Are blogs used by the organization in any way to facilitate collaboration among organizational members?
The blog helps to keep everyone the company up to date with the information we provide our customers. An employee might find something out about something for the first time from the blog.
Is there anyone monitoring what information goes on the blog?
Everyone in the company subscribes to the blog, so in a sense, everyone monitors it.
How do you think the blog has helped/affected/changed communication within your company?
It has helped facilitate more of an open communication stream, especially with our customer base… but it has also helped to keep everyone internally informed on what is going on. We all need to know what is being communicated to the customer and the blog is a great tool to help keep everyone informed.