When we talk about a corporate blog, the first thing that likely comes to mind is a “public facing” channel where organizations connect with external audiences. What about internal blogs?

There is a lot of learning and risk associated with launching a public facing blog including audience analysis, content strategy, the use of tools, the development of guidelines, understanding best practices and developing implementation discipline. An employee-only blog presents organizations with the opportunity to soft launch their public facing initiative – offering up the ability to develop strategy, test ideas and practice tactics within a safer internal environment.

The Internal Blog Factory

Audience

Understanding your audience and their information needs is critical to the success of any blog. Treat your employees like any other audience – conducting research into their content needs and channel expectations presents a great learning opportunity that can be transferred to the launch of your public facing blog.

Content

Content is…well…you know. I know you get it – relevant content is one of the cylinders that drive the blogging engine. An internal blog provides a great testing ground for developing content ideas, learning how to use the tools, executing on content creation, etc.

Tools

It’s not rocket science, but there is a learning curve associated with the set up and use of blogging tools such as WordPress. An internal blog let’s your team practice how to create and format blog posts, use plugins, etc. so that when you launch that external blog everyone is up to speed.

Guidelines

Guidelines are an important part of every social media initiative. Using the internal blog to build understanding around guidelines related to posting etiquette, reader expectation and blog comments is a great primer to the development of any future public blog policies.

Best Practices

There are so many things to learn when it comes to blogging best practices. An internal blog presents an opportunity to teach important tips and tactics – this “practice as you go” approach helps embed learning, making the launch of any external blog project much easier and more effective from the onset.

Discipline

Blogs are hard work. Using an internal platform to develop discipline around writing, content creation, posting frequency, schedules, work flows, monitoring and responding to comments builds a valuable asset that can be used to position a successful launch of a public facing blog

Ambassadors

Leveraging employee participation is a great way to build blogging capacity – developing programs to recruit guest bloggers for an internal program can pay dividends when launching an external blog. Building a culture of “Blog Ambassadors” helps position the scaling and effective management of a public facing blog project.

What do you think about launching a corporate blog “inside” before taking it public? Please share any ideas you have about internal blogging in the comments – I’d love to hear your take.

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at Solopreneur.ca and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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