So we are done with the importance of blogging for CEOs, and what they should ideally blog about. Now for the most critical part in this series – rules to follow when you are blogging as a business leader.
I asked Douglas Karr, author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies to add his insights. Doug has been our client for the last 4 years, and more importantly, is a dear friend. As a CEO who blogs regularly himself, Doug’s posts are filled with expert advice, realistic suggestions, and most importantly, wit and humility (read this blog to see what I mean!). Here is what he had to say on the rules –
- Be the compass to your organization: You’re neither an evangelist nor a support person. As the leadership of the company, your blog will become a compass for your employees, your customers and your investors to understand that you are in touch with the value you bring your customers, that you know the gap which your company must fill, and that you’re investing energy to the future of your industry – providing thought leadership and authority. Leave the marketing to your marketing team, the sales to the sales team, and the service to your support team.
- Deliver great news and victories gracefully: Welcoming large engagements that have come onboard will prove to your audience that you’re a trusted, viable company. Getting investment funding is a message that you’re here to stay and investing in the future of your customers. Announcing new leadership and talent, explaining where they came from and what their purpose is within your organization is essential.
- Open the door to feedback: A key reason why social media is so popular with consumers and businesses is that we love doing business with people. Being available to criticism and feedback in a public forum isn’t a risk, it’s the opportunity to develop trust and authority. Trust is the largest factor that decides whether or not a lead turns into a prospect. So provide the forum for that to happen.
- You don’t have to write every word!: It may be interesting to note, but many CEOs actually don’t feel comfortable blogging. This roadblock can easily be overcome. Many corporations employ copywriters that are assigned to the CEO – to question them, capture their remarks, and put them down on paper. They don’t “ghost write” for the executive, quite the opposite. They write on behalf of the executive. Your writer can interview your CEO each week and record the calls, capturing a ton of material for different topics. However, ensure the approval process from your end happens before it is released for publication.
Here are THREE more rules I would like to add to Doug’s list.
- Deliver bad news quickly and honestly: What does a stakeholder really want from his CEO’s blogs? How about the truth? Since bad news travels faster, and wider, protecting your business’ reputation and credibility is more important than losing face. This is the time to step up and spill the bad news. However, while every stakeholder wants her CEO to talk about the “true” state of affairs – low retention rates, falling sales, decrease in morale or domination by a competitor product – she certainly would want the CEO to be cautious or circumspect when relating bad news.
- Focus on your internal communication: What is better than communicating bad news to the outside world? Making sure you communicate first to your internal team (board of directors, leadership/executive team, leads, employees, investors etc.). You certainly don’t want them to read about it on LinkedIn! Even if the message is a simple note that you’re applying resources to investigate the issue – that’s better than nothing. Just set expectations on when you will respond in greater detail.
- Consistency is key to building trust: When was the last time you blogged? And before that? While blogging regularly is important, being consistent in terms of messaging and style is even more so. Ensure that every blog you post goes towards the end product, which in very simple terms, is to build a “reservoir of trust” for your brand, and for yourself. Once you have this trust and credibility established, your stakeholders would be more than willing to give you the benefit of doubt when the going gets tough. And that is worth more than its weight in gold in today’s world.
So there you go. No grammar rules. No style checks. Just SEVEN simple rules to follow when blogging as a CEO.
About the Authors:
Douglas Karr is the founder of The Marketing Technology Blogs. Doug is the CMO of CircuPress and CEO of DK New Media, an agency specializing in assisting marketing technology companies with their inbound marketing – leveraging social media, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click and public relations. DK New Media clients include Angie’s List, Mindjet, Webtrends and many more. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.
Revathi Krishna is Director at Suyati Technologies, and heads the content business, Content Crossroads. She’s an avid blogger, and has been in love with the written word ever since she can remember. This innate talent, along with smart management and intuitive client engagement skills, has seen her nurture Content Crossroads to the 4 million+ word-company it is today. When not blogging for her clients, she is busy training (and bullying) her team to blog!
Image Credit: Sue Richards on Flickr