So you’re tracking the hits on your blogsite or intranet, and you’re seeing some trends. Perhaps you’ve noted that articles with team photographs or illustrations do well. Maybe you’ve found that esoteric or abstract titles work best, or perhaps your audience prefers direct, meaningful titles.
But even with the best titles, the most relevant images and the most recent breaking news, you can’t make people emotionally care about you or your message.
But some people will care, and these people are your champions – treat them well!
Within your company, if you’re publishing and distributing material (intranet, company magazine et cetera) you should take note of the people who send you feedback. You should learn the names of the people who point out errors, or ask for further information, or ask for clarification. These people care about what you’ve produced, and they’re the ones who will be talking about your stuff to their colleagues, team members and managers.
Whatever people have to say about your work or your messages, be sure to respond in a positive and respectful manner. I see too many professionals responding to brief query emails with even briefer answers. Answering the query is not enough – this is a real opportunity to engage directly with the audience, the workforce, and have a personal impact. Answering the query is not enough; you must:
- demonstrate that you’ve have heard and understood the query / concern – this means reflecting back their very own sentiments to the querent without judgment. Consider it ‘active listening’;
- explain that you can understand why they’ve brought this matter up with you;
- thank them for bringing the matter to you (as opposed to just grumbling about it to everyone in their department);
- address the matter directly, explaining enough of your background thought processes to justify your answer – there’s no need to be aggressive or defensive, just be conversational;
- demonstrate your willingness to be flexible; let them know that you might well consider this issue again in the future or perhaps you’ll discuss it with your team / manager at your next team meeting;
- thank them again for their email / phone call and let them know you’re open and available for anything more.
Does that sound do-able? Is it close to what you do already?
When I get shoddy service, even inside the company I work for, I shut down and cut the responsible person out of my work-life. They become dead to me, and I only interact with them ‘politely’ from then on.
Don’t piss me off, or you’ll never make it to the top of my priority list (and remember, you need me to promote your department, whereas I don’t need your department much at all).
When I get fantastic service, advice, content, guidance, ideas – I get all excited, and want to share and promote the person who has thoughtfully inspired me. This is part of my ‘Three Goal Words’ – RSS – Respond, Smile & Share.
But it also blushingly pleases me (my erogenous zones are all mostly online) when someone says I’m giving decent service, and they go on to promote me and my work. So many thanks to @C Brogan who twittered about me last year, and now thanks to @shonali for tweeting about me. When people recommend other people, those who listen to them take notice. Word of mouth and personal recommendations are gold, don’t you agree? So, hopefully, I’ve got a few more readers, and I know I’ve got scores of new ‘followers’ on Twitter, so plenty of opportunity to make new connections with people – lovely.
Personal recommendations exist inside your company / corporation too. Don’t you take notice when your colleague says “I’m not sure, email Josh; he knows all about this” – so when you go to Josh, you’re really polite and you’re really grateful for his help You respect his knowledge / experience and in turn you recommend him to other people in your company, even though Josh isn’t in your departmental silo.
I must keep reminding myself about my three word goals / approaches – RSS – Respond, Smile & Share. Sharing other people’s expertise is good for them, and it’s good for you, because people will see you as a ‘connector’ and in this ‘people network’ day and age, connecting people is a valuable skill. So who can you talk about this week? Who can you recommend?
Apologies if I’ve flitted from subject to subject today, but I’m recognising that you can’t demand attention, but you can create valuable content that is meaningful enough to people that some of them talk about it and share it. These people are your champions, treat them as heroes!
P.S. I updated the footer of my blogsite, check out the bottom of this page :) You like?