Blogging is no longer just the realm of conspiracy theorists and teenagers with a celebrity crush. Tech companies and their CEOs have embraced the medium as an avenue to share some insight – and a bit of personality – with their networks.
Allan Wille, CEO of Klipfolio, started penning a weekly blog last year. Return on investment might have been the original impetus for Wille to start blogging, but that was never the focus of his writing, he says.
“Outside of the fact that yeah, content marketing is good for business, we needed to find something that was going to resonate and help our customers. So for us, what better thing to write about than our experiences?”
As the CEO of a smaller business that primarily caters to small and medium-sized enterprises, Wille says he has been in the shoes of his clients – his prospective readers – and has a unique opportunity to share that perspective.
“I didn’t know what the benchmarks were for growth. I didn’t know how to go about hiring senior staff. I didn’t know how to go about bringing in venture capital money. A lot of these experiences, I think, are really valuable for our own audience,” he says.
He will often write about his management style, something notable that he encountered in his week, or about some of Klipfolio’s growing pains. The ideas aren’t hard to come by. Wille says that most CEOs are already thinking about the business 24-7. It’s just a matter of putting the words on the screen.
“The difficulty comes in editing and actually getting it done. This is where I have some help,” he says, reflecting on the role his team plays in bringing his ideas to fruition.
Beyond connecting with readers, there have been unexpected benefits to writing a regular blog for Wille. As the CEO of a rapidly growing company, he says the majority of his employees actually read his posts and that serves as a great internal communication mechanism.
Additionally, Wille has found his blog acts as a chronicle of Klipfolio’s advances. The high times, the lows and how they got to where they are today – it’s all bundled in various blog posts.
“It’s the same reason people keep diaries. It’s a nice way of capturing that blip in time and your thought process when it happened.”
There are a few things that have helped Wille achieve success with his blog. Keeping posts short and simple makes it readable – leave the jargon in the boardroom. Having a regular cadence to his posts and thinking about when his audience is going to be reading is also crucial.
“Every Saturday morning we publish this blog … and we’re finding that’s when people are in a receptive mood. They’re sitting down with their coffee and they actually read the post. It’s an uncluttered time,” he says.
That’s also what surprises Wille about his blogs: people actually read them. He didn’t expect the gratifying and positive responses that have come since he started sharing his posts.
He recalls a comment just a few weeks ago: “Allan, Happy New Year! Do me a favour: keep posting blogs.”
That people actually care about what he writes, Wille says, is pretty awesome.
TECHOPIA has gathered a few excerpts from our favourite Ottawa CEO bloggers.
Read them here and then check them out online. Let us know on Twitter at @TechopiaOTT who your favourite local bloggers are!
“Why it’s important to have guiding principles – and follow through on them”
Aug. 28, 2015
“Improving the user experience was a conscious decision on our part. We knew – and our customers told us – that we needed a journey that was self-serve. And if I can count my recent experience as scientific proof, I’d say that in the last two and a half years there has been a 10-fold improvement in the time it takes to build a Klip.
By defining your must-haves, by setting targets, and by motivating people to reach them, we’ve dramatically improved our product. We’re not done - not even close. It’s an ongoing process.”
— ALLAN WILLE, KLIPFOLIO
“Just the Beginning …”
Nov. 27, 2015:
“I always have mixed feelings when I see this little startup’s Version 1 getting compared to the giants ... WordPress, Wix, Squarespace. It’s both flattering and frustrating at the same time. We are 15 months old. This is just the earliest of expressions of our vision for the web. They are each almost 10 years old, with hundreds of developers. We have seven. But we are growing fast, thanks to the wonderful response and support from our paying customers. And we are in this for the long haul. We too see this as an ecosystem. With third-party developers, widgets, plugins and places where others can create and share their wares. It won’t take long before we catch up on that front.”
— CRAIG FITZPATRICK, PAGECLOUD
“My Business Rules Blog”
Oct. 29, 2015
“The concept of eating the elephant one bite at a time centres around the idea that when facing a big activity, that may even seem insurmountable, it is important to break it down to manageable smaller tasks and address them on a priority basis, one task at a time. Breaking the large task into smaller chunks provides a number of added benefits as the subtasks can be distributed among members of the team. This in turn could facilitate adding an external resource with the required talent, and it may lead to increased productivity as the team witnesses progress and success.”
— ELI FATHI, EFEI
“Mind Blown in China – Week 1 Recap”
Nov. 14, 2015
“Travelabulous was recently selected into the Chinese Angels Mentorship Program (CAMP) … Masha and I were thrilled and excited to be selected to the first-ever cohort for the chance to work with other great entrepreneurs, access to and learnings from the world’s largest market, and mentorship and business partners from China’s best entrepreneurs and technology leaders. So, one week ago, we jumped on a plane for Beijing and the start of this unknown adventure.”
— Kirk Munroe Travelabulous