No CEO blogging: Good analysis or ignorance?

I commented last week on an employee communication survey by the Edelman PR agency entitled New Frontiers in Employee Communications: Current Practices and Future Trends (see post: Room for changes in internal communication).

Among the findings in the survey report was this – nearly 20% of the survey respondents said, “My CEO would never blog.” I wondered what this actually meant. Did it represent purely the opinions of the communicators surveyed in that’s what they think, or did it indicate their reporting of their CEOs’ specific stated opinions?

I emailed Edelman to ask. Their reply:

Twenty percent of the communications professionals we surveyed said that their CEO would never blog. It is just their opinion, and is not a direct response from the CEO.

That is what I thought would be the answer.

I do not know any detail of Edelman’s survey methodology, nor how they conducted the survey, nor the depth of any of the questions. So it might not be valid to draw any substantial conclusions from this survey finding.

But I’m going to speculate for a minute.

Let’s imagine that these communicators answered the survey question based on a considered analysis of how executive blogging may or may not fit into the strategic communication plans at their particular companies, whether those plans relate to internal or external communication, or both.

They also considered the ability or otherwise of their CEOs to be effective bloggers. Taking these things into account and based on their own knowledge and awareness of blogging as a corporate communication channel, they came to the (likely correct) conclusion as illustrated in the survey finding.

I really want to believe that’s how it happened. Unfortunately, I believe it’s not likely. I’m partly influenced by the way the survey finding is phrased: “My CEO would never blog” implies a totally personal emphasis, simply stating what the respondent believes.

So here’s what I think actually happened.

The communicators gave their answers based wholly on their own opinion without having either fully considered executive blogging in the context of overall communication planning – internal or external – or without ever discussing the concept with their CEOs. The communicators thought about the question and simply answered, “No, my CEO would never blog.”

If this is the case, then let’s say it’s due to lack of knowledge and understanding of blogs and how they fit into organizational communication. Or, it could be a dismissal of them as unimportant and not relevant, perhaps for the same reasons.

In the worst case, the communicators simply do not want to look at such channels and continue on with their heads in the sand.

Whatever the reason, to those communicators here are my suggestions for some of the basic things you need to do right now:

  • Get up to speed about blogs – find out about them. If nothing else, Google ‘blogs’ and see what you get, and then go from there.
  • Start your own blog! Easy way:
  • Visit other blogs and join the conversations.
  • Reach out and build a network among communicators who blog. Check the blogroll on any communicator’s blog to find others.
  • In your company, research your own IT infrastructure – find out how your company can support a blog from the IT point of view.
  • Connect with like-minded colleagues, whatever their discipline.
  • Talk to your colleagues in other communication functions – find out what they think and what they’re planning or doing.
  • Create a group blog for your function (or with your clients if you’re a consultant).
  • Find an influential champion in your company to support your blogging initiatives.

Also, see related posts on this blog:

Start immediately! You have no time to waste.