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 I’d agree with the ubiquity of corporate blogging for obvious reasons, I’ll enumerate below.
(Credit: Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks)
Why CEO Blogging won’t work for most CEOs.
Earlier today at the Web 2.0 Expo, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz who’s one of the few CEOs blogging today suggested that rest of the executives will catch up with blogging and I beg to differ.
And he predicted, in effect, that the rest of the executive world will catch up. “Historically, communication took place by being a celebrity CEO who met with heads of state, and got the local media to cover it,” he said in an on-stage interview with O’Reily Media chief Tim O’Reilly.
As Godin stated earlier, here’s the problem with that assumption
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]
However, I agree with Schwartz when he suggests that there is a need for executives and leaders to communicate
“At some point the word ‘blogging’ will be anachronistic,” Schwartz said at the Web 2.0 Expo here in San Francisco. “I communicate.”
And, since not all CEOs are in the mold of a blogger (like Schwartz), the right question here is what are the easiest ways for CEOs to communicate effectively with their audience, given their disposition.
What may work for time-strapped CEOs?
CEOs can use twitter as a great online customer focus group where they can listen to users talking about your product/service. It’s as easy as steps 1-2-3 (just track your company name on twitter via a tool like tweetscan) and be a fly on the online wall.
As if on cue, yesterday’s post was followed with a Twitter Q&A initiated by Tim O’Reilly (again questions culled by tweetscanning Schwartz’s name) where Schwartz responds to questions from users’ on the panel.
However, I did collect all the questions after the fact, and forward them on to Jonathan to answer by email. The questions and Jonathan’s answers are below. I’ve presented it as if it were a twitter interview, snarfing up the questions from tweetscan, and then getting Jonathan’s twitter image from his own feed.
2. Corporate Blogs
Speaking of responding to user questions, despite my apprehension about CEOs wrestling with the challenges of a full-time blogging, I think it’s important that CEOs connect with the user community at every given opportunity. At LinkedIn, we’ve had our CEO Dan Nye respond to user questions on the NYT blog in the past.
And more interestingly, members of a company’s executive team can also be contributing bloggers (depending on how much time they’ve to spare). For e.g. how about a series from your CEO or maybe your VP of product around major product announcements. You can actually create a separate feed for these contributing posts if your audience so demands.
3. Professional networks.
Given my current day-job at LinkedIn, I’ve a close view of how you could use a professional networking site like LinkedIn for effective communication both within the company (via LinkedIn News) as well as external Q&A sessions with users of your product (via LinkedIn Answers).
Are there any other ways you see CEOs communicate effectively. Feel free to leave a comment, or two…
If you’re into corporate blogging, you may find these earlier posts of mine, interesting as well.