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Executive Leadership: Why You Should Blog
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Executive Leadership: Why You Should Blog - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Leadership: Why You Should Blog

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Leadership: Why You Should Blog

Only 7.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs are on Facebook and only 4% are on Twitter, compared to 50% and 37%, respectively, of the general public, say Fishbowl CEO and President David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott in an article for Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2012/07/new-research-on-why-ceos-shoul). There's no question that the social media space is a minefield that has claimed the careers of (or at least caused embarrassment to) many a careless tweeter, so reluctance to play ball on that field is surely understandable. Yet the authors also cite research that says 77% of customers are far more likely to buy from a company "whose values line up with their own as defined through their leaders' involvement in social media," and 82% are more likely to trust a company whose executives engage in social media. And few things can put a face to the leadership of your company quite the way an official blog can.

This will not be the first time you read about the value of engagement, but a cliche is a cliche for a reason, and the public likes to have access to the thoughts and presence of a company's leadership. A blog puts you on even ground with your readers, giving them insights into you as a person, rather than merely a name, a title, and a resume. A blog offers readers a chance to chime in, and responding to the comments section tells participants that you're more than a person in a corner office on the top floor. Obviously, your thoughts on tough decisions or issues of the day as they relate to your field can provide the kind of transparency consumers value, but even a few thoughts on parenting, the latest blockbuster in theaters, and the stress of holiday shopping can give readers a meaningful connection.

Writing your own blog gives you direct control over how the public sees you, and although that is only one piece of the picture of your overall repuation as a leader, it can be a meaningful, significant piece. Nobody has to wonder how Mark Cuban feels about most issues; one simply has to check his Twitter account or read his blog, and whatever your feelings about the high-profile CEO, you and he both know that they are formed in large part by how he expresses himself publicly, rather than relying only on what others say about him. This is not to say that you should (or want to) be as blunt or forthright in putting your opinion out there as Cuban is, but that’s the point: you get to present your public face the way you want.

Another nice thing about a well-kept CEO blog is that it fosters loyalty in customers and employees. When readers see that you do your best to engage with them, a general sense of good will is developed over time, so that in rockier moments, they are more likely to give you and your company the benefit of the doubt. This applies to readers who are customers and readers who are employees: when employees see that you’re working hard to meet the consumers where they are, they take greater pride in their company and their work, especially if you give them the occasional, sincere, non-pandering shout-out in your blog.

The longer, more thoughtful structure of a blog means you can explore the nuances and depths of a topic in a way Twitter and Facebook simply do not allow, an advantage not only for a readership interested in the way a CEO makes decisions, but also for you. Let us not forget that a blog is a journal, and a journal exists for the enrichment and enlightenment of the writer. You already know how beneficial the practice of writing is for your communication skills, but here is a gentle reminder that good writing and good thinking are inseparable, and practicing one strengthens the other. The lifeling pursuit of improved writing is the lifelong pursuit of good thinking, something we can all use as much of as possible. Finding that wonderful space between blogging for your own sake and blogging for the sake of your company and customers can put you in that rarified air in the corporate blogosphere, where a blog stops being merely a channel for a company’s engagement with its public, and starts working as a satisfying connection between a human being and a community.


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