Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Corporate Blogging

A rehash originally from September 21, 2006:

As boss you are always worried - at least you should be - that your message is getting out to the troops. Getting this out to them and having them embody it is always a challenge. Having quarterly company wide get togethers is great if you can pull it off. I was lucky to do it once every six months even with a small company. The CEO blog is becoming an effective mechanism for not only presenting the corporate strategy and goals but also the person behind the big desk. CNN recently published this article on corporate blogging and Mr. Charkin is getting quite a reputation. While I didn't start this blog while I was at Bowker, I wish I had because it could have been an effective communication tool. While I spent most of my day with my staff, communication at the level of status meetings and product development discussions can be disjointed and somewhat out of context to the strategy. The type of corporate communication you strive for should be integrated, coherent and concise to be ingested and internalized by the staff. It can often be hard to attain this when you are dealing with the minutia in a editorial or IT status meeting. Offering a perspective on the big picture puts the daily activities in perspective which is what the CEO can do as king of the mountain. A blog entry once or twice a week can bring clarity to what everyone is striving for.

The other aspect of blogging is that is can be personal - Richard recently mentioned his cricket team's closing match and Karen Christensen (also mentioned by CNN) discusses all types of things that aren't strictly related to her publishing company. For staff, this makes their boss more human. You can't have a personal relationship with every employee but it is interesting how much commonality exists across the levels of an organization. Blogging if used as a pseudo-corporate communication method has to be kept up and it also should have some standards - good (not perfect) punctuation and no swearing. It wouldn't be terribly funny for the boss to be written for creating a hostile work environment via their blog. There is the confidentiality aspect which some PR departments are concerned about which is legitimate but I would hope blogging CEOs know enough about what they can say publicly or what they should be cagey about.

Bowker is a private company, but early on in my tenure I was paranoid about email messages from me getting to our competitors since there was so much inter mingling of staff over the years; however, as the years went by we were doing so many more interesting and positive things that I ceased to care. I am more surprised that more CEOs don't do this - maybe it has to do with more mundane matters such as an inability to write coherently in a free form manner.

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