I wrote this post over on Medium to startups: "Startups: If You?re not Blogging, You?re Making a?Mistake" and it got picked up by the AustinStartups publication on Medium.
And the advice was really intended for startups, but I think equally applies to the Fortune 500.? Writing your thoughts and sharing your narrative with your team is a powerful way to create and attain alignment with your goals and objectives.
It's also a great way to find your voice, and to think through your ideas.? So with that in mind, let me share the post with our clients and team members and subscribers:
Communication is everything in a startup. If you?re a startup, you need to be blogging for your own team. I know everyone says blogging is dead in the age of Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn. But blogging is your best competitive edge over larger firms: how fast you can learn and how fast those learnings permeate the organization determines how fast you can evolve???and evolving is your edge.
I believe having a good narrative version of who we are at BP3 is important. Too often we think in bullet points and sound bites (hello, Twitter!). But we need narratives. Tell me the story behind this project. Tell me why this client is working with us???no no, not the $$ involved, but the narrative. Tell us the story of what this means for their business if we can build a great solution for them. Help me understand who they are, who we are to them.
For as long as there?s been a BP3, I?ve been a prolific writer for BP3???in keeping with the importance I assign to it. I?ve published more than 100 stories on Medium and more than two thousand on our company blog.
Internal communication is something that has evolved in fits and starts as our needs changed. I started writing weekly email updates to the team many years ago and that worked well for a small team. Gradually that slipped to monthly email updates as our business grew. The updates were taking more and more time to assemble and get right because, quite frankly, there were so many interesting things going on that I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to stay in touch with. And then again: a new team member would start the week after an important email???and not have any of the previous emails that build on who we are as a company? they were missing critical organizational context and history. Something had to change.
Last year we started leveraging Jotto to publish internal blogs. The basic idea is ?Medium for your company?. Easy authoring/editing environment and easy to publish to internal-only audiences. It is integrated with Google apps for authentication, which works well for us and for many startups who use Google behind the scenes for email, etc.
At first I was the only one writing internal blog posts on Jotto. After some time passed, a team member was wondering where to post something and I suggested they put it on Jotto? and we started to open up the aperture. Although it worked well, for a time we were still struggling with engagement???not everyone would realize a new post went up, or that someone had commented.
When we connected Jotto to Slack???so that every post and comment drives a slack channel notification???engagement with our internal blog posts immediately increased. It was a dramatic change and has helped encourage more internal authors. Now we have a dozen internal authors who periodically share their thoughts:
- on Tech Sales
- on our Annual conference, Driven
- on finding motivation
- on meeting protocol
- on design-thinking
- on brainstorming
The quality of the posts is exceptional. I think the idea of a relatively permanent blog post causes us to up our game: producing a professional version of what otherwise might stay informal, in unstructured email and hallway conversation. And it becomes an important repository of our culture, thinking, and understanding of the world around us.
These narratives are shaping our impressions of each other, and of BP3. We?re setting a higher bar for ourselves and I couldn?t be happier about it. An additional benefit: from time to time we?ll take those internal posts, and push them to the BP3 blog for others to read (or to Medium itself)???because some of the content is both good, and appropriate for public consumption!
If you made it this far, go write a blog post for your team. Picture Han Solo telling you to fly casual (write casual!) and share with your team what is occupying your headspace. If you need a good internal platform to do it, check out Jotto!