Twitter’s Editorial Director On the Art of Blogging
This post is part of the Branded Blogging Series, which features tips on how to learn from the successes of some of the most innovative and successful brand blogs.
When Karen Wickre started blogging in 2003, the act itself was quite radical. Google had just purchased Piralabs, the company that built the Blogger platform. Wickre, a former journalist and member of the communications team, was incredibly excited that there was finally a publishing platform for non-engineers. She and her team pulled together a proposal, and within a few weeks the Google blog was born.
“The world of publishing has blossomed!” Wickre explains enthusiastically over the phone. The self described “word-wrangler” is now the editorial director at Twitter, where she’s hoping to take the micro-blogging platform’s content strategy to the next level.
With nine years of corporate blogging experience, it’s good to hear that Wickre is still thrilled by the concept of company-created information flow. “Content is in such a rich period,” she explains. “Yes, there’s dreck, but people are throwing out conventions.”
Wickre’s job at Twitter is focused on editorial, rather than marketing — her current goal there is to develop a better internal blogging system that provides more context about the amazing things happening inside Twitter. “There’s a fuller story there. One that you can tell in more than just a tweet,” she explains.
Unsurprisingly, Wickre’s approach is somewhat based on the work she did at Google. Of course, the circumstances were different; at the time press releases were the companies’ main form of customer communication. Press releases take time to draft, publish, and promote, though — so the team looked to quicker ways to publicize its ever-changing company. “It suited us to be blogging,” she explained. ‘It was informal, faster and less stiff,” Wickre explained. And so the Google blog was structured to work like a more efficient PR mechanism.
From there, the site became a place for employees (who were also often subject matter experts) to share their passions and projects, as well as their problems. “It showed outsiders we put a lot of thought into what we do,” Wickre explained. The culture building exercise became a useful way to show stockholders, customers, and recruits what the company was trying to do.
By implementing similar guidelines and structure, Wickre is confident that her team can give the microblogging company’s strategy some shape, authentically. “We want to treat our audience as grownups,” she explains. “share the hard as well as the good.”
But don’t expect any fluffy marketing content. Wickre is a firm believer that blogging should educate rather than entertain. “You don’t want your blog to be a big happy case study,” she warns.
She hopes that by taking people behind the scenes, Twitter can show the world a more human face and capture the company’s content-centric spirit. “The whole point of Twitter is what people do with it,” she explains. “We built a platform, and people do amazing things with it.”