How to Write an Engaging Blog for your Organization

Many companies and organizations now have intranets that allow individuals to create their own blogs or contribute to monthly staff blogs.  This is a fantastic way to connect with people across the organization and to really have your voice heard within the company. Follow these tips for success with your intranet blog:

1. Choose a theme

Choose topics that are directly related to your department, unless you are posting to your individual blog on your profile page. Some topics might expand on information that would come up in “watercooler” discussions, such as the following:

  • Your summer travel adventure and recommendations for travel locations for your colleagues.
  • Nominations and awards received by colleagues in your department (which may include a compilation of awards received over the past year).
  • Other tributes or congratulatory messages.
  • Professional development activities undertaken within your organization.
  • Upcoming events related to your department, such as staff conferences or reviews/reports of past events.
  • Information about hobbies and activities that other employees may be interested in, such as gardening tips, local restaurant reviews or quick lunchtime workout ideas.

Blog themes should be positive and avoid critiques of the organization or employees. Avoid the following topics:

  • Politics, religion, and other polarizing topics.
  • Intensely personal topics.
  • Any posts that single out a particular employee, even if they appear to be positive/non-critical, if that employee has not given his or her consent.

Because you are writing a blog, you might also want to choose a topic that you could build upon through weekly or monthly contributions, or that you could compose as a succession of stories. Broadening your topic can help you to fit it into a succession of stories. For example, rather than calling your blog “My Summer in India,” you could call it “Staff Travel Recommendations” and make your first post about your experience travelling in India, and then allow other staff members to contribute their posts to your blog.

Remember that not all intranet content is approved by communications departments before being posted (for example, if you are posting on a personal blog or on your intranet profile), so if you have questions about whether your post is appropriate, you can usually ask your communications or human resources department to check it over before publishing it. 

2. Include a bio

Keeping your biographical information up to date on your organization’s intranet will help give your blog post some context for those who are from other offices or who may not yet know a lot about what you do within the organization. You could also add a paragraph at the end of your posts in the following format:

Janet Smith is a Human Resources Consultant in the Calgary office. She enjoys gardening, yoga, and jogging, and she likes to spend her summer vacations exploring new travel destinations. Janet joined the HR team in 2008.

3. Establish credibility

You should hold your posts to a high standard and ensure they have been polished and proofread before being published:

  • Avoid errors (in factual content but also in typos and proofreading errors); if you notice an error, correct it as soon as possible.
  • Provide fair and impartial opinions and assessments.
  • Give attribution to any ideas or Web content that you did not come up with on your own (using citations in parentheses or by providing links to the information source).
  • Encourage reader comments by keeping the comment feature active and by responding regularly to those who have commented on your posts (many intranets use content management systems that enable you to set up notifications for any comments on your blog posts).
  • Keep content fresh by asking others to contribute to your blog and by following others’ blogs (both within your organization and on the Web) to keep on top of trends in your subject.

4. Stick to a schedule

One of the best ways to attract and keep the interest of readers is to keep a regular posting schedule, whether it is daily, weekly, or monthly. Many regular bloggers will follow an editorial schedule that they have planned out for when they will post and what content they will include based on the time of year (e.g. August long weekend vs. Thanksgiving). Make sure you are not posting too frequently, however, or your audience may end up skipping most of your posts if they are too busy to read them. Weekly, biweekly, or monthly posts might work best, depending on your topic and your audience.

If you are ever at a loss for words when it is time to make a blog post, you can try different inspirational techniques such as freewriting, which involves writing freely and quickly for 10-15 minutes. Usually at the end of a freewriting session, any writer’s block will have evolved into ideas for a new post.

5. Improve readability through graphic highlighting, being concise, and creating scannable text

If your readers can quickly scan through your blog and pick out your key points, it is much more likely that they will read it. The more you use headings, bullet points, concise wording, and clear text, the more likely it is that your audience will keep reading and enjoying your posts.

Many bloggers do not realize that writing for the web is different than writing for print. It can be a challenging shift for those who are used to writing for print, but it can also be a lot of fun and will connect you to an audience in a way that allows you to reach out beyond those you could access using print only.

When it comes to writing for your organization’s intranet, it can help you connect to people across your organization in a way that goes beyond lunch room or hallway and watercooler conversations. Most importantly, have fun, and enjoy creating your first blog post!