How can the busiest person in the company possibly have time for corporate blogging?
The notion that a CEO could metaphorically “put pen to paper” while running a multi-million Euro, Yen, Dollar or pound company is, surely, preposterous.
It is, indeed, just that, if you consider the findings of Weber Shandwick’s report, Socializing your CEO: From (Un)Social to Social, which show that not one CEO in the top 50 firms featured in Fortune Global 500 rankings can be bothered with a blog. The chief executive communications effort is, instead, directed towards online video (40% of CEOs appearing on a company YouTube channel) or by simply having an biography on the website (which ought to be a given).
The finding that CEOs – according to the research – are disengaged from social media channels is no surprise, with fewer on Twitter and even fewer on Google+. The rapid-fire and potentially free-for-all nature of Twitter is going to be a disincentive for someone who simultaneously carries the bulk of reputation responsibility for the organisation while probably having the least time to be firing up Tweetdeck to monitor brand mentions or haranguing hashtags.
But the lack of CEO interest in corporate blogging is, I think, a missed opportunity.
Take the example of former BDO Chief Executive, Jeremy Newman, who was one of the leading exponents of effective corporate blogging.
In this interview – remarkably done nearly four years ago – he spoke of the value to the business of blogging:
“I have people who track the statistics and they tell me it is doing just fine. Now, did we win a new client or get that world class graduate trainee because of the blog? I cannot say but these days, I frequently meet people who say they’ve read the blog. That’s gratifying and means we already have a common connection. At one time it would have been very difficult for me to get an appointment with the CEO/CFO of a FTSE 350, these days it’s easier. Is that because of the blog? I’d like to think it has had a part to play.”
Four years on and the corporate blog has not gone away, despite the lacklustre performance of the top 50 in Weber Shandwick’s research report.
And with more recent developments such as Google Authorship, there is even more reason for experts – and certainly CEOs – to reconsider the value of committing to a regular habit of corporate blogging.
This example of a CEO blog at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, perhaps unexpectedly emanating from the public sector, shows a willingness for the person at the top of the ladder to talk openly and directly to the hospital’s patients, visitors and staff. It combines personal reflections and opinions with a professional insight into healthcare issues which instils confidence in the reader – just what you want and need from the head of a large hospital.
There’s no denying that the CEO’s role is busy already. But the corporate blog may offer the CEO something that other, competing, voices cannot.