Things Executives Should Ask Themselves Before Blogging
Executive blogging issues. Robert Scoble wrote: I keep asking executives "when you gonna start a weblog?" But, quite consistently get an answer of "way too busy." ... internal bloggers will need to build better ties to execs and PR and marketing so that we can help solve the problem. [a klog apart]
A weblog can be a valuable tool for improving team communications, but isn't a tool for everyone at your company. To provide relevant content, even to jot daily notes, can take that an executive may better spend elsewhere. Executives aren't the right people to be blogging.
Executive, before you start blogging, ask yourself these questions:
What value does executive blogging bring your company? You are already aware of how ineffective current communications channels can be (i.e. email, letters, phone, ...) for any company. Learn how to better use what you have and see improvements without engaging in anything new. If you can't improve relationships with what you have, how will adding blogging improve things.
Will a blogging strategy be part of your interactive communications program? For a consistent message, blogging should be incorporated into existing interactive communications strategies. Never start blogging on your own without including those who already communicate on your behalf, because it will only harm their support of you in the future.
How does blogging fit in your sales, marketing, and service programs? If you circumvent the good talents of your supporting teams, what message are you sending them. Blogging should be a part of your customer outreach and support, but do you need to be involved.
What will be your message and why would you say it instead of public relations? Most companies already have tools to reach their buying public, represent them in the industry, and keep them out of legal trouble. Your message has to be consistent or you will undermine these resources who are paid to make the company look good.
Could you say something that would hurt your stakeholders? Every company has channels of communications to verify information before it is released for general distribution. More than policy must be in place, because things said by an executive have more meaning. Even if taken out of context.
How much time do you have to dedicate to a weblog? You'll need 30 to 45 minutes per day on top of what you are already doing to prepare, edit, and publish a meaningful weblog entry. Think of it as writing a long email message without a clear idea of how many might receive it.
Who would you be talking with on your weblog and is that the best channel? Regular and personal messages to customers does improve your relationship with them, but is something they receive on-line really personal. Broadcast messages are cheap, your time would be better spent sending a personal note to your most profitable customer.
How will you handle responses from weblog readers? Imagine getting 50 or more additional email messages each day. That's exactly what can happen if you have even a moderately successful weblog. The interactive nature of a weblog may add more work to an already busy day.
Are there better ways to strengthen business relationships? Your public relations, marketing, and sales departments are full of experts that can share news about your company. They will jot down your input and do all the work. If you want to connect with customers, employees, and partners, consider other more rewarding actions.
Does blogging improve your ability to manage? Your stakeholders may see blogging as something that distracts from your real job of managing a company to sustainable profits. In most organizations executives are recognized for actions taken rather than their commentary on daily events.
Blogging isn't something to do on whim. It's not something you want to start today and stop next week-- this could be perceived as a lack of commitment to your companies message. If you must do a blog then contribute to an internal one, or one dedicated to project management.
While there are a hundred more reasons why executives should not blog, in all fairness there are two sides to this conversation. As a tool to build business relationships, blogging by executives is not the most productive use of your time. Blogging is better left to those who already interact with the blogs target audience.