Boring Blogs

Congratulations! You’ve finally reached the pinnacle of government social media success: you got your executive to start blogging! So what’s next? Well, it really depends on the blog. How good is it? Chances are, it’s probably not that interesting. Like most executive blogs. Dannielle Blumenthal writes on Govloop.com that there are seven assumptions that lead to bad leaderhips blogging:

1. Communications is not important, the work is
2. If we do communicate, we’re talking to our “primary audiences”
3. Senior executives have to sound important
4. All negativity is bad
5. People hear from us so rarely that we can pretty much write whatever we want and it’s all good
6. Silence is usually golden
7. Even if we did care about blogging, you can’t prove what a good one is

Ms. Blumenthal gives some suggestions about how to cure boring executive posts, but that’s really all about fixing one particular blog by one particular person. We should be looking bigger and seeing how we can improve all of the work that we publish. And the folks at Buffer think that one way to do that is to develop a content style guide:

Consistency in style, tone, grammar, and punctuation is essential to an enjoyable blog experience. Successfully done, these elements go unnoticed by readers who are too busy consuming the easy, breezy content. That’s the way it should be. Style guides create uniform content and allow that content to shine.

Having trouble figuring out how to set one up? The blog also has recommendations for how to get started:

The key to keeping the length reasonable is to find an existing editorial style guide that covers the basics—a guide like the AP Style Guide or the Chicago Manual of Style. These guides are exhaustive in their coverage of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and word usage.

Once you have this foundation, your content style guide is free to cover only the additions or changes. There is no need to repeat anything that is in the original guide.

Once you’ve got that set, why leave all of the goodness of your newly very-readable blog to just your executive? In other words, don’t just depend on your executive to blog, look to your experts, too. The utterly amazing Helen Reynolds gives us five reasons we’ll benefit from letting our staff blog:

1. Your brand ain’t your logo (ed. note: It’s your people)
2. People trust people (ed. note: Not press releases and corporate speak)
3. Experts need experts (ed. note: Your staff can learn from other experts more easily)
4. They’re probably doing it already (key sentence: But employees – experts – will be using social media to research, learn and share: they just won’t put your organisation’s name to it, or they’ll do it without identifying themselves.)
5. PR and social media ‘gurus’ (ed. note: PR should be helping our experts to communicate well, not communicating for them)

So, what do you think? Your executive blog might not be the coolest thing on the block anymore. But, that’s okay, because it’s a great start. How else will you get your executive’s approval for more multiple social media outlets?

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Boring Blogs

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