CEOs and the blog…

As blogging continues to grow, the question of corporate blogging and more to the point, CEO blogging, is becoming more prominent.

Blogs do, I’m sure you are all sick of hearing, provide a human face on an organization to its stakeholders and audiences.  Blogs do promote interpersonal communication rather than dry corporate or technical writing – not that either of those skills will disapear you understand.

The question of CEO or even Executive blogs is more complex.  I think the majority of CEOs will not blog.  They won’t blog because they won’t have time or becuase it’s something they’re not comfortable with or it’s something that they believe other executives are better qualified at doing. That’s the reality in my opinion.

Bill French has written an interesting piece on the role of PR in CEO blogs.  He has a number of interesting points including how PR people can coach CEO’s and measure its success.

My belief in this matter is as follows.

The value of an executive blog is that it provides your audience with an authentic, personal, inside view on the thinking of a company. PR people need to be very careful in getting involved with this endeavour.

Obviously executives need to be aware of the legal restrictions – though as officers of the company this should be fairly obvious to them – they should also be aware of any other restrictions regarding pre-announcing products and initiatives – but ultimately they should be themselves.

I personally don’t agree with a blogging process where the CEO runs his posts past the PR department.  I don’t subscribe to ghostwriting – after all the CEO has to stand behind what they’ve written and opinions are all part of the process.

My recommendation is that once the CEO is happy to start a blog and is aware of the statutory and competitive limitations let them at it.

Certainly it would be a useful exercise for PR to have editorial meetings with the CEO if that was relevant, but hands on control is a no no in my opinion.