How I got my execs to start writing blogs

Posted by gminks in social media | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

One of my proudest accomplishments of the last few months is that I was able to assist my executives (in the Dell Data Protection group) to start blogging. So far half of them have published their posts, and the other ones have posts in draft. Check out what they have posted so far:

There are two things I love about these posts. First of all, these posts sound exactly how these guys talk. They wrote in their voice, and I love that. Secondly, they published their blog posts in the Dell Tech Center. This mean they are looking forward to interacting with anyone who has questions or comments on their blog post topics – so please don’t disappoint them..write a comment!

I wanted to share how I was able to pull this together, for those of you who are trying to break that habit of ghost-writing content for your execs:

  • Have an exec who is all in and will champion your cause. In this case, my boss’ boss, Eric Enderbrock, is my champion. He wanted to get people blogging across our org, and when I shared my idea of the execs blogging their predictions for data protection in 2014 he jumped right on board.  He was the first to get a post published, and he put pressure on the rest of the execs to get it done.
    Remember – execs have zero time for writing and publishing. Having one of their own to nag them helps make it happen!
  • Make it easy to participate. To get your execs to blog, you need to remove all barriers. I came up with our editorial calendar by identifying a theme (data protection trends in 2014), and then tossing the theme to the execs to brainstorm. I started the list with a couple of topics I would like to see, and they had no trouble coming up with the ideas they wanted to write about. Once I had my list of topics and authors, I created a spreadsheet with dates. The next step would have been to send them an Outlook invite the day before the blog post needed to be published, but it didn’t come to that.
    Remember – execs have zero time for writing and publishing (yes, this is the major them). Involve them in the planning, but take as much as the operational work out as you can. If necessary, add instructions to an Outlook invite.
  • Make blogging less scary. Some people are really scared about putting themselves out there by writing blog posts. The thing I’ve heard the most is that it’s very scary to put something up, under your name, that will be out there forever. If you want your execs to blog, give them some practical advice. Here’s what I told my execs:
    • Write this like you are at lunch talking to a technical friend. Or at an analyst briefing. Write like you normally talk, and it will come out perfect.
    • It should only be one word document page long. If it goes to a page and a half, you probably have enough for two posts.
  • Create templates. I made a blogging template out of one of my recent blog posts. I’ve posted it on slideshare. I broke the blog post structure down like this:
    • Title
    • Intro
    • Main Content
    • Call to action
    • Conclusion
    • Tags
  • Make them do it themselves. Make them publish the blog post themselves. It will take longer at first, but this way you’ll know that they have the access they need to the publishing platforms. Plus, if they write and publish blog posts on their own, no one else can give you any excuses when you ask them to blog. 🙂
    Have them fill out their profiles. That is one step we’re still working on for a couple of our execs. Again here – take the guess work out of it. Tell them the bare minimum of the profile that must be completed (otherwise it can seem very overwhelming because of all the choices).
  • Encourage the hard work! Make sure to give them updates on how their posts are doing, and remind them to respond to any comments. I’ve been sending emails daily, along with the view count to my execs. I’ve discovered that they are very competitive, so that serves as a great source of intrinsic motivation. 🙂

That’s how I did it. I think I lucked out, this group of execs has lots to say, and I do work at one of the most social companies in the world. Have you been able to get your execs to blog? What advice can you share?

3 Responses to How I got my execs to start writing blogs

  1. PauloC says:

    Gina, congratulations! Just recently, I was asked to explain what was the most challenging part of my work (Instructional Designer). I had to say that it was getting high ranking executives onboard and coordinating work time with subject matter experts.

    I am certain that blogging is not for everyone. Some people have the skills to put ideas in writing very clearly and with passion. Others will bore you to death or insult you with their grammar. For those who can be influential, the steps you took to make it happen are definitely a way to ease the resistance to blogging. Thank you for your post.

    ~Paulo Castro | http://www.fullminddesign.com

  2. gminks says:

    Thanks Paulo!

  3. Pingback: How Gina got her execs to start writing blogs | watsoncrystal

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