Getting your executives onboard with blogging

At a recent event in San Francisco, I spoke with a CMO from Telco manufacturer in Texas who was wrestling with a common problem: he’s the only one in his firm who thinks social media has potential as an effective communication channel. His peers look at him like he’s nuts when he says he writes a blog. I’d like to share some of my experience from HP “outting” content experts and executives into social media.

At HP, we are making significant investments in trying to get everyone – all of our content experts – to dive into social media. For an executive or content expert, the most logical place to kick off his or her debut is through a blog. From my experience, about half the time, an executive blog starts off with great enthusiasm. Everyone’s delighted to bring their executive in the 21st Century. However, after a few entries, the exec runs out of time or patience. Don’t let this happen to your executive!

With only so many hours in the day, the most common concern is “Where am I going to find the extra time? What’s the ROI? Will it sell more product?” These are all great questions which don’t have easy answers. It really depends on the executive, the company culture, and the communication objectives of the company. Here’s an easy litmus test to determine whether you or an executive should start a blog. Choose the question that best fits your situation, then write down the number on a piece of paper.

Company Environment

  • Is your company a startup eager for PR and Buzz? (2) 
  • Do you work at a larger organization with a sizeable marketing budget (1)
  • Do you work at a company that handles highly confidential or regulated information (0)

Executive Patience Level

  • Does your executive have a strong point of view or a passion about his or her business? (2)
  • Is your executive somewhat interested in social media, but have very limited time? (1)
  • Does your executive have little interest in blogging (0)

Communication Objectives

  • Is it very important to be perceived as a thought leader or have differentiated products? (2)
  • Is awareness an important communication goal? (1)
  • Is every ounce of communication resource focused on driving sales? (0)

Executive Availability

  • Is the executive able to spend 1 hour a week on blogging? (2)
  • Will the executive only participate if he/she has a ghost writer? (0)

Add up your score…

Score 6 – 8: you’ve got a shot. Give it a try.
Score 4 – 5: Perhaps your exec can write a guest blog entry on a prominent team blog rather than starting his/her own.
Score 0 – 3: don’t bother.

I would not set expectations about expected results at the beginning. Some executives are able to have amazing successes with their blog, some flop. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Please post your thoughts and comments.


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