If Your Team Hates Blogging, You Need A New Team

My friend Steve Farnsworth recently shared a link to some tips from Matt Ceniceros at Applied Materials about how to encourage blog posts from team members who hate blogging.

Something about that concept got me thinking. It wasn’t encouraging team members to blog, as that’s critical for all organizations seeking to embrace the notion that every company is a media company. It was the point about team members who “hate blogging.”

They don’t really hate blogging. They hate their job: and that’s a problem beyond the fact that you can’t get them to blog.

Love this.

One thing I never really ‘got’ about social media, and blogging in particular, was why other people didn’t really want to do it. I think this post has given me at least part of the answer: it’s because they don’t really like their jobs!

It’s a broad brush and a hard line (are these mixed metaphors?) but I like it. It accounts for why I so seldom see comms people who actually read the papers, or read business publications, or listen to podcasts, or actually do anything outside of their immediate work that is even slightly work-related.

The way I’ve approached this topic before has been “Your job just changed. Tough.” But from now on, I might change it to “You don’t like your job. Tough.”

Anyway, hop on over to thefuturebuzz.com for the full piece…

5 thoughts on “If Your Team Hates Blogging, You Need A New Team

  1. “You don’t like your job. Tough.” Might not be the best way to go about it. If people don’t like their job they’re not going to perform nearly as well as someone who loves their job. I would suggest finding people who really are passionate about writing and blogging and giving them the job.

  2. Yeah, I have to admit that if I was in that position, my response to “You don’t like your job. Tough.” is likely to be “You don’t like that I’m not blogging for you? You don’t like that I’m not setting aside my backlog of work so you can make this week’s content target? Tough.”

  3. Scott, I think the actual writing part of blogging is just one aspect of it. Whenever I have actually managed to get people to blog, they realise that it helps them in so many other ways too, for example it helps them with research, with knowing what the current issues are, with crystallising their own informed views, and so on. I certainly know that almost without exception, when I’ve blogged about something, I’m able to refer back to it over the next few days. In other words, I carry all that useful, current info in my head and people think I’m on the ball, because I am.

    Rob, I was kind of joking! But only half joking. The real difficulty with social media is, I think, the culture change. People just don’t like doing things differently. So, how about, instead of a Big Stick, we try Juicy Carrots, such as a league table of bloggers, showing who gets the most feedback/tweets/links/whatever? However, at the end of the day the situation really is that people’s jobs have changed. For example, there was a time when managers point blank refused to type anything because they saw that as the job of typists. Can you imagine…? The sooner people accept this, the better, whether through Big Sticks or Juicy Carrots.

    Overall though, I do generally see a lack of engagement that I find disappointing in comms. I know people work really really really hard but, just to take one example, I seldom find that people who work on tech accounts really enjoy or even understand tech. I think that’s quite sad. I’m not saying you need to live the brand, but some sort of engagement at a higher level than it being ‘a job’ is probably beneficial all round.

    • Brendan, thanks for the thoughtful reply. I have my own experience with the kind of thing you’re talking about, except that it involved workplace rules that expressly prohibited managers from typing letters or updating web sites. (I’d check to see if it’s changed at all in 10 years, but I’m scared of what the answer’s likely to be.)

      I’m wondering if we’re talking past each other a little; are you just referring to communications jobs? Because I can certainly see that point of view – although what I often see from managers is a failure to recognize that social media takes time, and if you’re layering this on top of their other responsibilities, something’s going to have to give.

      But most people in other positions not only never signed on as communicators but may well be extremely uncomfortable in a public-facing role (and if I read him correctly, those seem to be among the folks Adam was talking about in his post). With them, social media strategists need to be a lot more accommodating. As much as we might want to conclude that people don’t hate blogging, but just hate their jobs, the reality is that a lot of people don’t want to share their work lives with the world.

      And when push comes to shove, I’d much rather know that whoever’s repairing the gas mains outside my house is really, really good at it, than that he or she writes kick-ass posts for the gas company. If the employer can get both in one person, more power to them… but the employer had better be prepared to pay a premium for it.

      • Hi Rob,

        I think you sum my position up well when you say “something’s going to have to give.” This is what I mean by “Your job just changed.” Something is indeed going to have to give. Notice I didn’t say “Your job just got harder/longer/more pressured.” Just different.

        I guess I am talking about communicators in my post – not people repairing the gas mains! And I think that if I were to start a blog programme I would choose people who were willing and able to do the blogging.

        The point about “You don’t like your job” was just me echoing the sentiments in the original post that I linked to. I have a friend who is an occupational psychologist who is always, always reading books about psychology. When I go to his house there’s a stack next to his chair. Why? Because he just likes his job enough to read about it, even when he’s not doing it. I very seldom see people in comms who have actually taken the time to read about what they do or, for that matter, subscribed to a podcast or even read a blog. And that’s all before you write a blog.

        I go back to the theme of my original reply: the act of writing is the least important part of blogging. If you blog, you become more engaged with your job because you need to research, share, comment, reply – basically, become engaged. The fact you come out with a paragraph or two is a byproduct. People who genuinely like what they do will become engaged with it, and I think it’s a pity that more people in comms don’t take more advantage of the incredible, powerful and above all free tools at their disposal.

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