Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire; I led their social media efforts from 2007 past their IPO. These are my thoughts on tomorrow's social products, today.

Let me clarify: Should CEOs blog?

Summary: Well, Should CEOs blog? — Steve Rubel answers the question on BNN — Business Week and Godin’s take on it — My take on CEO blogging and my forecast for the future of corporate blogging


Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz pens one of the most popular CEO blogs [Source: Duncan Davidson]

Maybe! Well, this is the million $ question; isn’t it? My friend, Debbie Weil, who has written one of the two definitive books on Corporate blogging (the other being Shel and Scoble’s Naked Conversations) referred an opportunity to be interviewed on CEO blogging to Edelman and then Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion.

The Place: Canadian News Network – BNN! (Shouldn’t it be CNN?)
The Interview: On Squeezeplay, a program on money, power and politics
The Topic: CEO Blogging! (Not again)

The Question: Should CEOs blog?
Steve’s Answer: Not really.

My take: I agree with Steve. It’s a “No”, given the monumental task that every CEO has to steer his/her organization. I think this is just the wrong question. The right question is: what are the right qualities for a blogger?

Let’s ask a few more smart people

Dave Taylor argues that Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz shouldn’t blog. Why? He’s got a big job to turn around Sun–too much work to spend time composing posts, battling trolls, and making sure that the blog conforms to the onerous disclosure regulations of a publicly traded company. [Source: Business Week]

Godin defines the essential attributes of blogging and asks if CEOs can afford to do that?

Here’s the problem. Blogs work when they are based on: Candor, Urgency, Timeliness, Pithiness and Controversy (maybe Utility if you want six). Does this sound like a CEO to you? [Source: Seth Godin]

I think that settles this question. However, Godin’s questions now lead me to another question on Company blogging. Should all companies blog? As more and more of us realize (check out Jeremiah’s Death of a Corporate Website post), corporate websites will have to morph into more easily accessible buckets of content. Want to know how the future of corporate websites will be like? I think 2/3rds of Godin’s attributes will suffice to describe the future of corporate websites.

Candor, Timeliness, Pithiness, Utility (Urgency and Controversy)

I’d like to think a company blog is a great way to achieve that. I’m working currently on defining the contours of LinkedIn’s corporate blog and as we make updates, you’ll get to read about the rationale for those decisions right here on this blog. So stay tuned. Subscribe to Marketing Nirvana’s RSS feed.

Check out my other posts on corporate blogging and CEO Blogging, which you may find interesting:

* ROI of Corporate Blogging
* Would Jack Welch have blogged as a CEO?
* Top 10 CEO Blogs (Redux) | March 2007
* 3 Resources on Corporate blogging
* The original Top 10 CEO Blogs (a year ago – July 06)

Filed under: Business Blogging

8 Responses

  1. My take:

    Larger organizations: not so much. I don’t think enough CEOs of large companies have the required human touch.

    New Business or Start-up: Yes. Young/inexperienced CEOs let their enthusiasm for their product shine-through. A CEO of a larger company is going to be “by the numbers.”

    I also think that the right Marketing/CS person should steer the direction for most blogs. After all, they have the most contact with regular customers.

  2. Mario Sundar says:

    I think personality plays an important role in somebody taking up blogging.

    And, I’d rather read a company blog (I’m not saying this because I run one for LinkedIn), but because that’s the role of marketing and evangelism as opposed to the person tasked with steering the organization!

  3. WebUrs says:

    Mario

    I hope you continue with this ranking, it is very interesting
    but I feel it is also very difficult to rank CEOs especially if they blog on their own domain versus a corporate one, large versus smaller firm, etc.

    We have tried to address this in our post here

    http://commetrics.com/?p=53

    I hope you will give us some feedback about what you think.

    Thanks
    WebUrs

  4. [...] I’ve maintained in my earlier posts, it is not realistic to expect CEOs to maintain a blog. Having said that I know how important it is for a company to have a legitimate representative [...]

  5. [...] linkedin, sunceo, twitter trackback How about ubiquity of CEO blogging? I don’t think so. I have said this before and I don’t mind repeating myself. I don’t see the era of CEO blogging happening, but [...]

  6. [...] I personally think every individual can blog well when it comes to a topic of their interest and passion – product managers can describe their products superbly well while engineers have their own tech needs. Part of my role at LinkedIn is finding out what those special niche interests are and getting them to blog fluently on those topics. Having said that, I do argue whether executives should blog regularly. Methinks there are far more important issues to deal with. [...]

  7. [...] Let me clarify: Should CEOs blog? – July [...]

  8. [...] to gain trust, something that would be pretty hard to do if they did not have at least four of the six traits above.  Most people have the preconceived notion that a corporate blog is nothing more than a well [...]

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