The commitment of a CEO blog

This item was filled under [ Blogging, Social Media ]

“Should our CEO be blogging?”

I can’t tell you how often I hear this question these days. Last week it came up in a meeting with the CMO of a global hotel chain. I have summarized the criteria down to four simple elements and if the answer is yes to each, then there is a chance your CEO should consider blogging.

1. Personality

Is your CEO personable? Is he or she eloquent? Does he or she inspire and mobilize great ideas? If your CEO has a personality that translates well and is open to being a collaborative communicator, then a blog may be a great vehicle.

2. Point of View

Does your CEO have a solid vision? Are opinions part of his or her discourse? Does he or she challenge ideas or concepts that may be sub par? If so, you have a real opportunity to leverage his or her personality and point of view to offer a unique and engaging perspective.

3. Substance

It’s one thing to say something. It’s another to prove it. Does your leader have access to the research, the customer insight and competitive analysis that supports his or her perspective, point of view and personality? Aligning the facts with the opinions gives people something to consider as they read the blog.

4. Time

I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve seen come and go. I even think my blog is on life support because I have such limited time to keep it alive. But I hope that insight like this is enough to offer some value to those of you that still pay attention to what I say. A CEO’s time is at a huge premium. Does a blog really make sense to your business? Will your shareholders, business partners or customers really find value in it? If so, then it may be worth the time, but it’s a commitment.

My Point of View

I also think there is an important consideration in answering whether or not your CEO should blog. A blog levels the playing field. It makes your most senior professional incredibly transparent and approachable. Do you want this type of egalitarian access? Or do you want to retain an authoritative position for your CEO? I have suggested in the past that having your CEO comment on a thought leadership blog and acting as a guest contributor may give him or her the mystique and leverage desired of the top executive.

The Changing PR Landscape (PRSA teleseminar reactions)

Once again I had the pleasure of sitting on one of Peter Himler‘s legendary panels. Today I joined Peter, Adam Christensen (manager of social media communications at IBM), Stacy DeBroff (CEO of MomsCentral) and Max Kalehoff (VP marketing at Clickable) for The Changed PR Landscape: What Works, What Doesn’t.

It’s amazing how insufficient 60 minutes seems when you’re discussing the most significant evolution the public relations industry has ever seen. There is so much to talk about. Topics during the session ranged from:

  • companies managing their viral and Google footprints
  • how much time an organization should devote to managing social media initiatives, 
  • leveraging employees as online ambassadors and corporate representatives
  • using social media to collaborate, inspire and motivate action, and
  • the role of search in communications.

We really only scratched the surface. The first half was an opportunity for each speaker to talk about what they do and comment on where PR is headed. The second half opened lines to listeners to ask some really great questions.

  • A team of county public affairs professionals from North Carolina asked how they could capitalize on social media at the local government level and they were directed to Personal Democracy Forum.
  • A PR consultant cited an encounter with a client disappointed that her work landed an article on a Wall Street Journal blog, but not in the print edition. I argued that there is great value in this since that content will remain accessible for a longer period of time than an article in the print edition that may appear online, but may only be accessible to subscribers. Reader commentary and reactions to the blog could improve credibility of that coverage. Stacy also suggested that a placement like that can be linked to from other sites and used in ongoing PR initiatives.

Determining value and quantifying ROI is a major hot button for many PR professionals. Why should they integrate social media? What does success look like? We talked about quality vs. quantity of coverage as a major point of distinction in social media. Digital communications allows you to pinpoint the audience and reach those that genuinely care or affected by your offering. You can also measure direct response as a result of social media.

So many topics. So little time.