When you entrust your company’s image to someone, there are many things to consider. Your blog may be the first “contact” a user has with your brand, and the first impression can be just as important as when you first meet an individual. But there’s much more than that to building a personality into your blog.
There are a number of characteristics that readers typically pick up on, which will allow them to form their attitudes toward your brand, directly affecting the way they receive your messages. Is your blogging persona perceived as friendly, helpful and trustworthy? Is the information provided considered reliable? Does the persona have credibility in your niche? Are these perceptions consistent?
These will often vary in order of importance, depending upon your niche and audience, but will nearly always be considerations. So finding the right individual to be the “face” of your brand can sometimes be challenging. You want someone that is knowledgeable of your company’s products or services, capabilities, policies, procedures and values.
They must be capable of writing in an engaging fashion, dealing with customer service issues that might arise in comments, being empathetic with readers’ problems… and they must be plugged-in with the appropriate SEO techniques for making content visible to search engines while making those techniques undetectable by users.
If they can already walk on water, you may have the right person for the job.
Not Matching the Wrong Person to the Job
Let me share a little story, from the early days of my management career, that may help you avoid some pitfalls in your selection process.
Many years ago, I was hired as General Manager for a turn-around project by a large international company. One of their plants was experiencing worsening problems in meeting quality goals and production schedules. Personnel problems were everyday occurrences and all efforts of the corporate offices to find and fix the problems had been unsuccessful.
Shortly after I arrived, I saw that the Plant Manager was the biggest problem – his attitude toward the workers, specifically. I let him go and took over his functions temporarily while looking for a replacement.
My first priority was to fix the quality and production problems, and I asked my HR head who was the most knowledgeable person on the floor. She identified a 3rd shift line supervisor, but told me that he was on the final leg of a progressive path toward termination. When I asked her why the sharpest knife in the drawer was stuck on 3rd shift and slated for termination, she wisely advised me to investigate it myself, with no input from anyone else.
So I first checked out his personnel file…he’d had numerous write-ups for failing to meet standards on his production line. The previous plant manager had hammered him time after time, but although his line’s throughput had improved, it never hit the goals. He was moved to 3rd shift, probably hoping he’d quit voluntarily. He’d been branded a slacker with an attitude problem.
However, before he’d been made a supervisor, he had been recognized many times for leading the plant in individual productivity and quality checks. Hmmmm….
I met with him and learned that he had never wanted to be made a supervisor, but was forced into it. It was a classic case of someone assuming that because someone is really good at one thing, they will also be great at something else. As a business consultant, I saw this time after time.
Don’t ruin a person’s success by expecting them to be as good at one task as they are at another. A fantastic worker doesn’t necessarily equate to a fantastic supervisor… the skill-sets are entirely different.
I know some great public relations people that couldn’t SEO their way out of a paper bag, just as I know some kick-ass SEOs that should never be allowed to meet with a client. Don’t assume that the most knowledgeable person in your organization is the ideal evangelist for your brand. There are many facets of successful company blogging… if you can’t find that perfect walks-on-water candidate, you may need to consider some sort of collaborative effort, either with an in-house team or with an external professional.
By the way, that young man on 3rd shift… I moved him back to 1st shift as a production lead, then assistant supervisor. After nearly a year of helping him develop the necessary supervisory and leadership skills, he became the best supervisor we ever had. I’ve been gone from that company for years now. The last I heard, he was the plant manager there, leading the entire company in quality and production standards.
Which just points out the fact that just because someone doesn’t possess all the skills or characteristics you need to be your brands evangelist, doesn’t mean they can’t eventually learn how to walk on water. ;)