How many times have you read a company’s mission statement and wondered to yourself if they’d ever read it? It looks great in its frame hanging on the wall or on their about page, but wouldn’t it look even better displayed in the attitudes and actions of the company’s employees? What about your small business? Is what you’re writing on your blog being reflected by your employees?
This disconnect between what a company wants its brand to be and how people actually see it often comes down to a lack of training and ongoing reinforcement after the ink of the flowery language has dried.
It’s not that business owners don’t intend to live up to these lofty principles, it’s just that the issues of the day-to-day management of the company take center stage.
Advantages of a Blog Over a Traditional Mission Statement
Unlike a mission statement, a blog is an ongoing conversation with the stakeholders of your company. It’s not something you can simply frame, put on a wall, and walk away from. Because of this, it has distinct advantages over traditional methods of defining your company’s culture and brand.
- A blog isn’t easily removed from center stage. When you have to keep coming up with new post ideas for your blog, it forces you to keep thinking about why and how your business operates as it does. This naturally brings a comparison of how you’re operating your business to how you said you were going to operate it.
- A blog begs for interaction from stakeholders. The nature of social media is that it virtually demands for people to comment, discuss, and debate any idea you introduce on your blog. If writing your blog isn’t causing you to compare what you’re doing against your stated mission, you can count on your stakeholders to do so.
Engaging with your stakeholders through a blog allows you to keep an accurate image of your brand, and helps you respond when you’ve veered away from what you want your brand to be.
Using Your Blog to Train Your Employees
In my last post, I wrote about what your customers really want to read on your blog. One suggestion was to answer your customer’s questions before they ask them.
You know the answers to these questions inside and out because you’ve heard them so many times before. Make a list of these questions. Each one should be the title to a post you’ve written on your blog that answers that question.
If you’re following this advice, you should be able to see what a great training tool your blog can be for your employees. Not only will it train your employees how to answer the questions asked most by your customers, but it will do so in a way that your customers expect and conforms with the image you want your business to portray
Another suggestion I made was to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your small business.
Walk potential customers through the process starting from when they first walk through your door to when they’re making their next purchase with you. Your blog should be like a practice run for them.
Obviously, if you’re describing to your potential customer what their experience will be like when doing business with you then you’ll want your employees to know what was promised and to conduct themselves accordingly.
Incorporating Your Blog into Your Training Program
You may be thinking that this sounds great in principle, but how do you get your employees to read your blog? Fair enough. Most employees aren’t going to be naturally inclined to read your blog on their own accord.
As a business owner, you’ll need to provide incentive for them to do so. Here are just a few ways you can accomplish this.
- Mention your blog often. If something is important, people tend to talk about it. Mention your blog when interviewing new recruits, make sure employees are aware of it during the onboarding process, and discuss the latest posts with your employees.
- Include pillar posts as part of your training manual. If you’re like most small business owners, you don’t have a written training manual. Your pillar posts can serve as modules within your training program that can be role-played, read, and tested for proficiency.
- Enlist your employees as editors. Before you publish a post, give it to some of your key employees for feedback. Make it an informal setting over coffee once a week where feedback is encouraged without reprisal. Make sure your company really does what you’re about to write.
- Recruit employees to contribute to your blog. What better way to get your employees to read your blog than having them help write it? This also gives your readers another point of view about your business which will often be very illuminating to you. Allow your employees to become owners in the vision for your company.
Are you using your blog to train your employees? How are you doing it? How are you ensuring that the company you write about on your blog is reflected in the attitudes and actions of your employees?
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