It’s finally happened. After months of prodding, your skeptical boss has agreed to listen to your pleas for how your company should be blogging. She calls you into her office, and when you sit down, she asks pointedly “So, tell me why we should start a blog.”
You smile with pride and explain that “Blogging is a conversation, and right now we aren’t a part of it. We need to start a blog so we can join the conversation.”
The sudden frown on your boss’ face tells you that you just watched your company’s blogging strategy die a premature death.
Every week I talk to mid-level managers that are trying to sell their boss on using blogging and social media. Almost all of them talk about the importance of the conversation, of interaction, of being social. Anyone that’s read The Viral Garden, or this blog knows that I am a champion of the ability of social media as a set of tools to build interaction and community.
But your skeptical boss isn’t. Your skeptical boss wants to know how blogging and social media is going to help them grow their business. They don’t care about ‘the conversation’ simply because they don’t understand how ‘the conversation’ is going to lead them to ‘the sale’.
And unfortunately, the office social media evangelist probably doesn’t understand that connection either. But if you want your boss to commit to using social media and/or launching a blog, you need to show them how their business will benefit from doing so.
Social media evangelists understand that a well-positioned blogging strategy can create interactions and community and a larger conversation around that company. But is that the end business goal of your blog? How does having more comments per post help you sell more stuff? How does more RTs from Twitter equal more widgets sold?
These are questions your boss will want to know, and IF you want the buy-in from them, you better have compelling answers. Often, we stop short in crafting our blog’s positioning. We think that we need more interaction, but once we have that increased interaction, we still need to build a bridge to the larger business goal for our blog.
Think of it this way; You have well-positioned/valuable blog, which leads to more interaction, which leads to X, which leads to more sales.
You need to determine what ‘X’ is. That is what your boss wants to hear about, not more interaction or more comments. If you can explain to your boss what ‘X’ is, and how more comments/interaction relates to and influences ‘X’ (which influences sales), then you’ll get your buy-in.
Then your boss will start to care about ‘the conversation’. But only if they understand how ‘the conversation’ relates to their larger business goals for their blog. Your boss probably understands ‘X’. So you need to sell your boss on ‘X’ as much if not moreso than ‘the conversation’.
So what the hell IS ‘X’? That’s the magic question, and it will be different for every business. And it will probably have more than one part. For example, I will soon be publishing an interview I did recently with a major company, and they explained how they evaluate their blogging efforts. In their case, they DO have their main blogging goal as being increasing interactions on their blog via more comments and more emails. But they set that as their main goal because they have seen from years of research that when there is more interaction on their blog, and more POSITIVE interactions with their readers, that they are more likely to create POSITIVE content about the brand, and that positive content shows up in Google search results, which makes a POSITIVE impression on customers that do Google searches for the company and its products. So this company is fine with having more interactions on their blog be their main blogging goal, because they understand how more interactions leads to more sales. But the key is they set that as their main blogging goal after studying their efforts and how their customers are buying. Which is why meticulously studying your blogging efforts and tracking stats is a must, but that’s a post for another day.
For your company, your ‘X’ could be more traffic, it could be more links, it could be more traffic from the blog to your website, etc. But the odds are your boss understands ‘X’ a lot more than they do the importance of ‘the conversation’. If you want your boss to launch a blog, you need to show her how the blog will help her business. You need to understand what needs to happen AFTER ‘the conversation’ happens on your blog, and how that ultimately helps your business reach its larger business goals.
PS: If you have questions about selling your boss on social media (or need help in launching a social media strategy) and would rather email me your questions, contact me at mackDOTcollierATgmailDOTcom