In most companies, management usually decides what will be written, the format and sometimes even the writing style. Management in most organizations today management also wants to control, or at least approve, social media messages and replies on blog posts. This type of policy control comes from traditionally trained executives. Ones who worked with print and sometimes email campaign channels. I have met countless senior managers, some with responsibility over hundreds of people and millions of dollars in sales. Many expressed desire to “modernize” their marketing with blogging (my experience goes back ten years). Today most want to “update” their blogging with social media promotions. What they could not do with blogging (essentially create a community with informative and attractive writing which leads to comments) they want to do now with Facebook and Twitter.
To this I respond with “this is a great start” – much like the happy regular bar (pub) drinker admitting for the first time they are really a drunk. Sometimes after running into a telephone pole, sometimes just falling asleep at the wheel. The realization which you need to communicate directly with prospects and customers usually has a compelling event. This could be a change in the market (people are not buying they way they did), or an entry of a strong competitor using the new formats (usually social media). Sometimes it’s simply a desire to “keep up with the Joneses“. Whatever the reason, management which wants to create, control or approve marketing work needs to understand how blogging and social media works.
Retraining Traditional Marketers – Sometimes Hard
When a company’s management comes from traditional marketing fields (I worked for an old advertising account manger), the shift may be difficult. When someone comes with expertise and success, they tend to think in the way things worked in the past. Shifting the perspective is not that easy. In the case of print advertising, there is a desire to make things “beautiful”. The term “pixel perfect” comes to mind. Art, or at least professional design, is a seductive throwback to the print world. The same applies to old newsletter, white paper and event marketing professionals. If the gap between an old marketer wants and the reality of today’s world is too great, breaking down the training into smaller elements can work. Sooner you realize what the need for training someone to change, better off you are going to be.
Realizing The Big Change – Not The Small Shift
Realization of how much marketing has changed and how blogging has become one of the standard method to communicate is a crucial first step. This is a step which most people see superficially. You can look at an industry blog (see Tim O’Reilly’s RADAR or Google Blog) and get a great deal of information. But it takes experience in the field to fully understand how to inform and attract readers. It takes a whole other level of understanding to actually influence someone’s thinking. While anyone can see a blog, realize how it’s constructed and the elements on the screen, understanding the actual writing and the discussion enough to even emulate the process is the first step.