What is it going to take for (corporate) blogging to become a job skill?

I know many of us are blogging as part of our jobs. But what will it take for blogging is recognized as a skill in and of itself? How long before you see “blogging” as an experience or skill requirement in a job description?

First, let me say that while blogging is a unique phenomenon that I think will be around in some form for a long time to come, I actually see successful blogging as a combination of several specific skills/qualities:

-A gage (or gauge) for relevance. Frankly, I am not sure that a majority of bloggers have this, but successful bloggers do. I think it could be measured by an increase in view of your blog page, the number of people that access your blog via a search engine and the number of comments per post (except on old blogger posts where there was no commenting capability).

-Strong written communication skills. I don't even think that you need to be exceptionally eloquent as long as you are entertaining, informative and/or clear, and of course, relevant. You have to find your voice (some struggle with this). And your grammar, punctuation and word choice skills should not get in the way of your message. If this isn't your area of strength, your blog will probably still get hits until someone more articulate, with similar topic inclinations, comes along.

-An internal filter. Part relevance, part business smarts. Can you post what you want to post and what your readers are interested in without getting in trouble? A lot of this is common sense, but the most interesting posts are the ones that come the closest to the line. Know where the line is. Stare at it, call it out, dance along it, but don't cross it.

-Have original opinions or read a lot of other blogs and have opinions on them. Either post your own original ideas or provide your opinion on the ideas of others. Linking to a bunch of other blogs without some commentary will not get you far when your links get stale (your blog page won't be as sticky as those you link to). Also, your perception as an “expert“ in your space is in correlation to the originality of your ideas (or at least your ability to post them first).

-Know how to argue diplomatically. This is tough, I know (I mean it's tough for me, anyway). But remember everyone is watching. If someone is acting jerky on your blog, people know and they will be watching to see how you handle it.

So these are the skills that I think make effective corporate blogging. And I hope that in the future, as the blogging trend expands (I'm having less people ask me “what is blogging?”), we will see people refer to these as “blogging skills” (I'm trying to think of something more catchy but it is not coming to me). But before we see this show up on job descriptions, I think that we (the corporate blogging community) need to show our companies how blogging impacts our business. A lot of it is about perception and we need to figure out how to measure it. We need to highlight the connection between our blogging activities and results (and I know that we are already thinking about that).

How long will it be?

Comments (21)

  1. Microsoft’s Heather Leigh thinks corporate blogging should be a job skill. I know many of us are blogging as part of our jobs. But what will it take for blogging is recognized as a skill in and of itself? How

  2. Heather,

    Well, with certain sites and corporate blogs, this is becoming a skill. Further, there are already people with the title of "chief blogger."

    While I am not a journalist or PR person per se, the points you mention above are all things think of when writing press releases to be read by journalists, and when I’m writing articles, and, of course, when I’m writing on my weblog.

    I think that relevance and filtering are your most important, and are the things that get people back to your site. I will assume that most bloggers can write, or are trying to improve (as is my case) because they have expended the engergy, and that they have an opinion (originality, I think is part absolute, and part frame-of reference).

    That being said, think of the people you know in your dept. How many would you say ‘know the voice of your organization’ enough to ‘blog’ about it? I would argue that very few have it.

    Now comes the question. Is blogging a skill, or a talent? 🙂

  3. Heather at Microsoft posed the question today on what it will take for (corporate) blogging to become a job skill. Interesting, when you think about it. I think that it will follow suit with things like "Internet Marketing" and other new-age ventures. However, what is blogging, in the corporate sense. Does updating project weblogs count? Anyone can do that (is corporate e-mailing a skill?). Or, are we talking about projecting your company’s voice into the world? Heather has the following to say about the skills required: A gage (or gauge) for relevance. Strong written communication skills. An internal filter. Part…

  4. Heather says:

    Dana, you make a great point when you say ask how many in ones department can actually be the voice of the organization. Makes me think about what it is about me (I’m sorry, I know this isn’t all about me) that makes me a good blogger (if I may be so bold as to say). Part of it I think is passion for your sobject and for blogging in general.

    As far as the skill versus talent question that you pose, I guess I’ll say some of both or either. I think many people can enhance their skills in most of these areas, but some will not become proficient no matter what kind of coaching they get (like the relevancy skill). I guess you need a baseline talent and then the developed skills are what take you from being an OK writer to a great blogger.

    This actually reminds me of when I was in high school and my mother would read my papers and cringe. She told me that I used to be a horrible writer. I definitely feel that I have developed in this area. Wouldn’t say I’m great, but I’d say better than most. I’m not sure if that means my talent was unexposed or my skills were underdeveloped.

    I suppose it can work either way.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ich liebe blogs in deutsch ; )

  6. Alex says:

    You raised an interesting question about Corporate Blogging. While skill and (natural) talent are important there is one major question and that is: Who carries the can when some Blogger fouls up? Haven’t e-mails got enough people into trouble and they were supposed to be private?? I know organizations like to think that everyone is part of "the team" and we all (as a ‘team’ support each other) but that concept usually lasts until you know what hits the fan and the CEO etc. has a symbolic heart attack and wants to know who is "responsible" or alternately whose head is round enough to roll far enough to get everyone else off the hook. It is the old eternal question "Do we speak with one voice" or "A lot of (relatively) little voices?

  7. gretchen says:

    I saw a Microsoft job today that mentioned blogging in the job description (http://www.microsoft.com/careers/search/details.aspx?JobID=1c40cdf2-fd8b-4b08-a1d7-f93baa8dd625). Just now as I did a search for this description, I found 14 jobs on the career site that mention "blog." Of course, some mentioned words that included the "blog" – but more than one actually mentioned blogs!

  8. David says:

    Corporate blogging should be very well defined to avoid missteps caused by crossing the line from delivering a message to writing a diary entry. An approach that is probably familiar to everyone is that of a columnist. Most columns emphasize a specific topic, such as local interest, sports, or politics. Many corporate blogs have the same type of focus. If this is the model for a firm’s corporate blogging efforts, then the same skills a columnist has should be held by those tasked with delivering the message.

    The real challenge here seems to be finding enough content to live up to the blogging standard of posting frequently. Most columnists get a week to develop an idea while working full time on several stories in order to have a constant flow of topics available. Corporate bloggers have more important tasks than putting that much energy into a blog.

    How long will it take for (corporate) blogging to become a job?

  9. Gautam Ghosh says:

    My thought is that Blogging has a long way to go before it becomes a job skill. Skills are important in their various contexts and unless organizations start having "Corporate Blogger" as a job title it is unlikely that Blogging will become a job skill…Guess the dotcoms/tech companies will pave the way for such a job…since some of them like FC and Google have employees blogs on their sites !

  10. ??? says:

    does anyone know what it take to become a CEO???

  11. Anonymous says:

    Louis talks about the importance of business blog ROI

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  13. Matthew Oliphant from BusinessLogs talks about companies who specify blogging as a core skill when hiring, in particularly The Robot Co-Op who have posted job vacancies on their blog. I don’t think this is really that surprising a development. Blogs…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hans Henrich Hoejberg Heming wants Danish companies to see the light

  15. Heather Leigh suggests blogging as a job skill, and goes on to outline some specific components of this skill. I know many of us are blogging as part of our jobs. But what will it take for blogging is recognized…

  16. Alison says:

    I’m doing searches for chief blogger job descriptions today, and this post came up in the results. I’m wondering what that says about how far we’ve come (or not) in recognizing blogging as a job skill in and of itself.  What are your thoughts on the predictions made in this post 4.5 years later?

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