There are many ways to engage stakeholders. You can facilitate discussions in your project meetings. A business analyst may elicit requirements. The lead tester may develop a team for testing. Let’s look at a different form of engagement–the use of an internal blog.
Engage: occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention)
One communication tool that I’ve used for enterprise programs such as implementing a Project Management Office (PMO) or an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Program is an internal blog. Blogs are a form of pull communication used for large volumes of information or for large audiences such as an organization. Subscribers access the blog content at their own discretion.
What’s An Internal Blog?
An internal organization or company blog is a regularly updated website or web page that is written in an informal or conversational style. An individual or a small group may run the blog. Blogs are a great way to share internal news and knowledge, improve company and team communication, and inspire stakeholders.
How to Engage Stakeholders
There are several ways to attract and involve stakeholders through a blog including:
- Cast the vision. When you initiate your program or project, share the vision. This could be an article from the project sponsor.
- Educate stakeholders. Do you have new concepts or information that you need to share? Consider the blog as a tool for educating people. Perhaps a member from your trainer could share a few articles.
- Keep people up to date. Things change over time. You can use your blog to keep everyone up to date. Individuals can read previous articles to refresh themselves.
- Conduct polls and surveys. If you like, you can include a poll or survey on your blog/website using a tool such as SurveyMonkey or Polldaddy. Click here to see how I used a GRPI survey in one of my projects. I often share the survey results in subsequent posts.
How Often Should I Blog?
Your blogging frequency will depend on the type of program or project that you are undertaking. I normally write one blog post/article per week.
What Should I Blog About?
It’s critical that you clarify the purpose of your blog. Here are some questions to help:
- What are the needs, interests, and concerns of your stakeholders?
- Is your aim to inform, inspire, entertain, or to direct?
- Do you want to see stakeholders move from an unaware, resistant, or neutral engagement level to a supporting or leading position?
Blogging and Email Tools
You may also wish to use an email platform such as MailChimp to email your contacts with a brief overview of each week’s blog post and the link to the post. This is a form of push communication where you can send emails to specific recipients. MailChimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. (I have no affiliate relationship with Mailchimp.)
What are the benefits of using a tool like MailChimp compared too simply emailing people? Not only can people subscribe and unsubscribe, but you get analytics such as the number of opened emails and the number of clicks links. This allows me to see what is of greatest interest.
If you prefer, you can skip the blogging platform and just use the email platform. In this case, you could include your post/article in each email.
Blogging and Email Policies
Check first with your IT department to see if there are company policies concerning the use of company blogging and email platforms. You will need their help to get things set up.
What happens to the blog when you close out your program or project? That’s up to you. In some cases, it may make sense to continue to blog. For example, the blog could be used to help transition the project deliverables into daily operations. The transition may require additional training, support, and encouragement that may be supplemented via the blog.
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