In a time when the internet is overflowing with interesting and fun business blogs, you would think that a company’s internal blog would be just as entertaining to read. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. With thousands of blogs to compare with, somehow company internal blogs are notoriously dry, boring, and the last thing your employees are going to browse through while they sip their morning coffee.
Because the fact of the matter is that few people want to read generic PSAs about break room cleanliness or a bland announcement of the company picnic this spring. In fact, if you closely examine your intranet traffic, you might even find that employees are more likely to read your external blog, the one targeted for future customers, than the blog written just for them. Fortunately, your dream of creating a strong company culture with shared interesting content is not dead. You just need a new approach to improve your company’s internal blog.
And that is exactly what we’re here to talk about today. Join us as we explore some of the most useful tips to make your blog a fun, compelling, and informative read for company employees.
When deciding on company blog topics, it can be tempting to think like a corporation. To write blogs that remind employees to wash their hands, or the importance of remaining in compliance with your industry regulations. But stop for a minute. Before you jot down or commission another installment in your 12 part series about GDPR rules, think about what you’re doing.
Given a choice, would you choose to read the internal blog content over a news story about rescue dogs? If the opening of a new Ice Cream shop down the road would be more interesting than your internal blog, then you’re doing something wrong. Instead of thinking like a corporation, think like a real human employee. What would you read? If you weren’t the blog -creator-, what would you like to see in your company’s shared internal content? What would compel you to check in weekly?
Ask yourself this every time you choose a topic. And, because sometimes boring topics can be interesting, challenge yourself to write content that -you- would find to be a compelling topic or a fascinating new look at a once-boring subject.
Once you’ve given yourself a little perspective, it should be clear that an endless string of generic PSA articles about safety, cleanliness, and protocol are not going to attract readers. Company blogs often neglect the idea of being interesting for the goal of being useful. But those PSAs aren’t helping anyone if no one reads them.
A blog that is nothing but corporate-related data gives your audience no reason to read. You’re either telling them something they already know or or information that only applies to other departments. There is a place in your company’s internal content for important info on regulations and best practices: A resource center.
Cut the PSAs out of your blog and instead build up a well-organized FAQ section (see our example here) that will be much more useful. This way, if an employee wants to refresh their knowledge of safety procedures or brush up on best practices, they can seek that information directly instead of having to browse the blog.
Corporate blogs also have a bad tendency of speaking in corporate jargon. This goes hand-in-hand with writing like a corporation instead of like a person. But your employees don’t want to read about how we’re restructuring the paradigm to achieve greater success. They want to know what the new report structure is and whether their desks will be moved. They’d rather be told that the company’s doing very well and to expect a wave of new hires in the next year, not that the company’s reached its necessary milestones to expand the current workforce by 15%.
You see the difference? Instead of writing like one corporation trying to impress another corporation, write like one person to another. Speak in a friendly, personable tone. Use normal words and explain things in laymen’s terms. Feel free to use a little industry jargon, you are talking to industry professionals after all. But write as if you are speaking to people, not corporate drones.
Many internal blog writers don’t realize this, but having only one ‘voice’ for the entire blog can be a detriment. Unless you are a particularly entertaining writer with a diverse subject matter to cover, employees will eventually get ‘used to’ your native writing voice. It will become easier to skim over articles and eventually interest may flag. This may not even be the fault of your content, just approaching content with the same mindset and turn of phrase each time.
But you have a resource that few marketing blogs ever will: Your coworkers. You are surrounded by skilled professionals who are as connected to the company internal process as you are. Invite them to share. Encourage and commission coworkers to write their own pieces. Even topic proposals that you write up can change the feel and overall content of your blog, increasing topic diversity and inevitably making your blog more interesting to every member of staff. Not to mention ensuring your content shares interesting insider information from every department.
Writing an internal company blog is about building on your company culture. But many internal blog writers have also overlooked just how valuable the existing company culture can be. After all, it’s the one thing every single staff member shares across departments and authority levels. You were all at last year’s holiday party where the Director of Finance got drunk and started singing Gilbert and Sullivan pieces. You all remember that one hectic summer when everyone stayed late for a week, trauma bonding as you made deadline. Or the intern who wouldn’t stop talking about their new kitten. These are all personal milestones to be celebrated in your internal blog.
These inside jokes and shared experiences are blogger gold. If you want to make your blog feel like an engaging and connecting part of the company culture, use your company culture! Any inside joke is great fodder for making your internal blog unique. Your coworker-readers will chuckle and remember that they all share these experiences. Especially if you then aptly relate your inside jokes to the compelling topics of today.
Here’s one invaluable trick for your internal blog: Learn to make boring things interesting. There are times when your company blog really should feature a few key requirements of GDPR, or remind everyone that workplace injuries are no joke. But you don’t want to do this in a dry, jargon-filled way that causes reader’s eyes to cross and cursors to automatically click away.
Instead, work hard to make this information compelling. Tie it to real-world examples that readers can see the importance of. Like a an employee (of another firm) whose identity was stolen because of a GDPR violation. Or a heartfelt announcement that one of your engineers was injured in the workshop along with some pointed reminders on how to keep the workplace safe to avoid any future injuries.
Make it personal. Think of ways to relate the important-but-boring information to compelling stories or concepts. You can even make it funny if your goal is simply to brush everyone up on their best practices.
If you think there are -only- boring things to write about for your internal blog, open your eyes and look around. A living company always has something going on and, once discovered, you can write about it. What is your app development team up to this month? Have there been any cybersecurity hack attempts that IT dealt with quietly? Has a coworker recently had a new baby?
There are always interesting updates to share with the team, and these updates are going to be some of the most compelling topics you write about. Your colleagues want to know what the other departments are up to, if the company has been nominated for awards, and if there will be cake in the break room next Thursday. So share!
Finally, don’t be too shy to reach out to your fellow employees and write personal bios or stories. Personal pieces are incredibly powerful in marketing blogs and they can pack a punch for internal company content as well. Feature a new employee and encourage everyone to welcome them into the company culture. Feature a team lead who was recently nominated for an industry award. Feature the beloved manager who will be retiring this year.
As the blog writer, you can even write about yourself in the first person as long as the content relates to the company somehow. Talk about your commute, your desk plants, or your thoughts on that weird lingering smell in the first-floor break room. And invite your coworkers to submit similar personal musings. Because, quite frankly, people will read them, relate, and laugh.
Personal features are a great way to customize the blog directly to your audience -and- they nicely break up the industry news and best practices articles.
Is your company blog a drag, a flop, or just sort of chugging along without notice? It’s never too late to completely transform your approach and create a blog your colleagues and even the execs will eagerly keep up with. For more insights on how to improve your internal communications from message boards to blogs, contact us today!