Posted on September 25, 2006 by Roland
I’m sure you think my answer to this question is yes. But this is not that simple. If you’re the owner of a small company, there should be no problem. And if you work for a private company not involved in heavily regulated sectors, such as the pharmaceutical or defense industries, I think you also can blog. But if you work for a public company, things are becoming more complex. As an executive, you need to comply with financial regulations and your legal staff. So what to do? Read my analysis…
So, let’s first look at an article from Shel Holtz about Blogging and the Role of the CEO. He starts by quoting Dave Taylor and his Leadership for the 21st Century blog. Dave Taylor says that a CEO has to make money, so it’s not his role to write a blog. [Note: even if Taylor’s posts are often interesting, I hate the look-and-feel of his various sites; you can’t simply scroll through his pages; they’re re-displayed all the time; highly irritating!]
Anyway, Holtz disagrees — and so do I — writing that an even more important role of a CEO is to communicate effectively about his company. Here is a short quote.
A blog is merely one tool a CEO can use to communicate, if it suits his or her style, the nature of the company’s audiences, and the issues the organization faces. Blogging is a new tool a CEO can opt to use for some of his communication responsibilities, replacing time he formerly spent using less effective channels. In total, though, he need spend no more time communicating today than before blogs emerged.
In the first paragraph, I also mention financial regulations. Holtz is more optimistic than me on this point.
Nobody — not the CEO, not a front-line employee — should ever blog anything that violates regulations. A GM employee told me that Lutz does not allow company lawyers to review his posts, asserting that as Vice Chairman, he already knows what he can and cannot say in public. The fact that he is writing a blog and not, for example, giving a TV news interview, does not diminish his ability to know the difference. Fastlane has never caused GM any regulatory problems.
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So, if you’re a CEO or an executive, are you now convinced that you can blog, and that the advantages are outstripping the risks?
If you think time has come, here is a link to Kari White’s seven tips for corporate blogging, which circulated widely this summer. Here are some of the most important ones.
- Pay attention to legal issues
- Be sure to craft a blogging policy
- Avoid the sales or marketing pitches
- And encourage your employees to blog
You’ll find an extended version of White’s tips at the British Association of Communicators in Business (CiB) website.
And remember that if you have not the time — or writing talents — to animate a blog, you still can outsource it to a professional blogger.
Sources: Shel Holtz, for WebProNews, September 22, 2006; Kari White, Brook Group, Maryland, Summer 2006
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