Work in Japan Advice Board
Despite the rising popularity of executive blogs, many executives still struggle with the question of whether or not the boss should blog. Considering that trust and transparency go hand in hand, your company is certainly better off having a social media presence. We live in an attention economy, in which it is better to have a face, a voice, and an online identity.
For employees and executives alike, the first thing is to establish a corporate social media policy that prevents problems without crippling creativity. Many companies have addressed this problem, and examples are readily searchable online. Shift Communications produced a template of 10 Guidelines for Social Media Participation that you can customize, which can be downloaded at: http://budurl.com/benw
Executives have a high profile, and bear more responsibility for what they say and write online. The problem is that excessive caution can conceal your personality. When blog posts read like corporate press releases, it is a kiss of death for credibility.
Even worse is something called blog abandonment. Executives experience surges of demand on their time that may prevent regular blog posting. However, if the most recent post is last year’s news, readers may rightly assume that the executive doesn’t really care. If you are going to start a blog, do so for the right reasons, and be prepared to feed it often enough to keep it alive.
The next step is to gain a point of reference by looking at examples of good and bad executive blogs. On Intranetblog.com Toby Ward offers a compact list of 8 ingredients of a great executive blog, illustrated with examples at: http://budurl.com/p2s6
This is a useful list that can help you walk the fine line and still express your personality. Content should be engaging, fresh and well focused. The blog should be easy to navigate, well designed, and integrated with social media. The content should educate and entertain through a combination of text and media, without being self-serving.
Appearing in U.S. News & World Report on July 25, 2005, Christine Larson’s article Blogging Bosses still speaks to the issues executive bloggers face today: http://budurl.com/kzby
The essential issues are still the same. What will shareholders think if the executive publicly mixes his business and private persona? More importantly, will people even bother to read button-down executive communications? The social and business climate today favors the person who is a strong leader with an approachable personality. People read blogs to find out what you think, not to get a financial report.
What about length and frequency of blog posts? What writing style is appropriate for executive blogs? Short or long, frequent or infrequent, formal or informal, for a blog to create value and gain a following, it must accomplish the following:
Be written in your own voice, and express a clear point of view.
Provide content which is authentic, engaging, and worth reading.
If you can do this, you are ready to look at the techniques, design, and strategy that will help you gain maximum leverage from your blog. Much of this comes from experience, other people’s experience. If you try to learn by trial and error you are likely to run out of ideas, enthusiasm, and end up abandoning the effort altogether. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Study the blogs you admire for their structure and approach, as much as for their content.
Starting on your own, blogging can be an uphill climb with a long learning curve. You have to navigate through decisions about blog platform, domain name, hosting, plug-ins, graphics, writing good titles, a sustainable calendar, social media, search engine optimization, personal branding, and a host of other issues you are better off not facing on your own. You can save yourself hours or months of time by getting coaching to start off on the right foot.
The payoff is being able to put your passion on a platform. From here you can develop a personal brand that will enhance your career and all of your communications.
William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.