The world is changing. Communication between organisations and audiences has shifted dramatically online. Conversations are less formal. Interactions are more fun. Blogging is the new black.

In the past, organisations were afraid of journalists: What if they misquote me? What if they make us look bad?

Now, ironically, organisations seem afraid of themselves: We can’t possibly let our staff blog. They could say anything.

Yes, they could; but they probably won’t.

At SCVO, we originally started blogging as a new way to share news and views on big policy issues. The short word count makes a blog a great way to cut complex policy discussions down to short, sharp commentary.

In the past, organisations were afraid of journalists… Now, ironically, organisations seem afraid of themselves

The management team were hugely supportive and, surprisingly, it was staff who were nervous. Not everyone jumped in at first. A few brave souls took the plunge and enjoyed the success of positive feedback. Then others followed.

We’re lucky here to have a communications team to support people to blog, to help them work out what they want to say before they start and to give hints and tips on how to improve. We also did writing training to help people discover their own style and voice, and to help build confidence.

Soon blogging became a core part of our policy communications. We dropped policy e-bulletins in favour of regular blogs and reaped the rewards in terms of views.

And so started the SCVO blogging revolution. Now we have colleagues across the organisation blogging on everything from governance and employability, to leadership and volunteering. Some blogs are hard hitting calls to action, others are reflective musings. The real trick to success lies in publicising the blogs and gaining a following – but that’s another blog entirely.

So if you’re thinking of making a start, here are some things we’ve learned at SCVO that could help:

  • Be yourself – like writing a letter to a friend rather than writing a report
  • Keep it short – around 500 words is good
  • Stay focused – aim to make just one or two points
  • Avoid jargon – big words don’t make you sound clever and abbreviations are confusing
  • Connect with your audience – write something they want to read, not just what you want to write
  • Be bold – try to really say something and use descriptive words to grab attention. Bland is boring
  • Ronseal headline – be creative with it but also make sure the headline says what the blog is about
  • Don’t be daft – informal doesn’t mean flippant. Be respectful and only say things you and your organisation are willing to stand by

The only time blogging will bite you on the bum is if you ignore the last point. If you say something daft then you can’t be surprised if there are consequences.

Otherwise, blogging rocks. Try it!

Thinking of starting a blog or need some tips to brighten an existing blog? Check out the free event Brilliant Blogging at The Gathering.