Monday, Monday …
… will get another blog post your way. And how do I know that? Could it be that I’ve got something to do with these blog posts? Telling you about our machines, our customers and trial projects, about Krones’ presence at trade fairs and experts’ opinions, and last but not least about our employees and company events – here on our blog we take you with us on a journey to our Krones world. But who are the masterminds involved? Who is hiding behind this blue-and-white façade?
Well, nobody is actually hiding here – our authors are all designated by name, and I myself have likewise been unmasked just now. But after 1,670 articles published and seven years of our corporate blog, I think the question of “Who and what precisely is behind our corporate blog?” is definitely justified. And why are we going to all this length? As an intern in the Social Media Department, I am one of those responsible for the blog, but our team also includes an experienced colleague who can tell you much, much more: Maria Seywald, who has been looking after the blogs since 2015 and was willing to answer a few questions. She brought Charles Schmidt along as support; he was among the people launching the blog in 2013.
Maria, basics first: who is actually behind the corporate blog?
Maria Seywald: The editorial core team is relatively small: that’s something you – as my most important editorial colleague – have always known anyway. But all in all, many, many more colleagues are behind the corporate blog – after all, we have international and cross-specialism authors from the entire group, every single one of whom is making a major contribution towards the blog’s added value.
And what were the reasons involved: why was the corporate blog launched back then?
Charles Schmidt: There were a number of reasons: firstly, we wanted to create a platform, enabling us to tell stories rather informally. Many of those stories are too long for a Facebook post, let alone Twitter – or we’ve got quite a lot of suitable pictures, a video or additional useful links. A blog offers you an opportunity to draw up your article as required by its content – NOT as specified by the channel in question. Moreover, we wanted these stories to be as authentic, as frank and unadorned as possible. For our external readers, this comes across as more credible, and it likewise effectively reflects our corporate culture. That was why we liked the idea of letting a most diverse line-up of employees from the entire group write and tell their stories. This is what a blog is perfectly suited for as well. And it’s only fair to say that blogs were the trend at that time and absolutely state of the art. Perhaps like podcasts are today. And that confirmed us in our intention to create the blog.
What sort of role does the corporate blog play at Krones? Or to put it another way: how does the corporate blog fit into the communication strategy?
Schmidt: The blog is a kind of content hub for authentic, hardly “whitewashed” stories from the company, which are then – starting from the blog – shared through a huge variety of channels. Meaning that readers find their way to the blog or to a particular article through widely disparate paths: through links in social media, by searching for quite a specific subject, or as regular readers who keep on looking at the blog because they know that new contents are periodically posted online.
Seywald: As far as publishing new articles is concerned, you can say that the blog is one of our most flexible channels, something of paramount importance for our communication strategy. We do have editorial planning, that’s true, but in the shape of the blog we’ve got a channel that enables us to be ultra-fast if necessary and get an article online within a minimised timeframe. In regard to trade fairs or ongoing trends, for example, this sort of flexibility is worth a lot. Other topics are planned on a longer-term basis, in close consultation with other communication channels, of course – for instance, when a story from internal communication is also suitable for being disseminated externally, we always take care to ensure that its contents is optimally edited for the blog, too. That works in the opposite direction as well: from the staff magazine, we can sometimes refer readers to the blog when this offers a larger picture gallery or a video on a particular subject online that is not provided in the print version.
What are the distinctive characteristics of the corporate blog?
Schmidt: Quite definitely this authenticity I mentioned earlier. Every author has certain subjects, fields for which he or she is an expert. Moreover, everyone has his/her own style of writing, which we are trying not to dilute if possible.
Which leads me to my next question, one I think that’s interesting for our readers. How is a blog post being created, and how do you make it a good one?
Seywald: First of all, the article needs an exciting subject, something our readers or our target group are/is actually interested in. Let’s be honest: every one of us will read an article only if it offers some added value and the promise that after reading it we will either have learned something new or enjoyed good entertainment at the very least. When authors from a different business unit (e.g. from a technical department) write an article, we provide above all linguistic support. It’s true, we want every article to reflect the author’s own style of expressing him/herself but we likewise want the reader to enjoy the article in question. Here, we pay particular attention to ensuring that contexts and interrelationships are clearly comprehensible even if the reader is not an expert for this particular field. And by the way, here it actually sometimes helps that we editors aren’t technology experts, either: allegedly “stupid” questions often help to express specific contexts and interrelationships in a more straightforward way, so that articles can be properly comprehended by a larger number of readers. And then, when both the author and the editorial core team are happy with the article as it reads, all we need is a picture for it. That isn’t always easy, but when we join forces we’re bound to find something suitable that fits in with the article’s content. And after that, we from the editorial core team see to it that the article is entered into the system at the backend and published at the agreed date.
In what way has the blog changed over the course of years, and what aspects have remained your top priorities?
Schmidt: The basic approach we chose for the blog has remained unchanged – as has the added value that the blog is offering for our channel mix in corporate communications. What has definitely changed is the number of authors, plus: our team of authors now comes from a lot more countries, something we greatly appreciate. In 2018, moreover, we relaunched the blog in its entirety, meaning we gave it a new look while simultaneously also responding to the feedback we had gained in previous years with the first blog version. We continue to place great emphasis on regularly publishing on the blog contents with a genuine added value, something that the reader cannot find on other platforms. I have to admit that is not always as easy as it sounds but it has always been and will remain our top goal.