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Five things to do before launching a business blog July 7, 2007

Posted by Steve Field in Naked Conversations.

In the first part of Naked Conversations, Shel Isreal and Robert Scoble are the ultimate blogging cheerleaders. They strongly advocate the power of online technologies for business to have real, honest and transparent conversations with their stakeholders.

I agree with them for the most part. The rules of business communication have changed.

However, the great thing in the second half of the book, in my opinion, is that Scoble and Isreal first begin to explore the potential dangers of blogging.

In recent years, blogging has become “en vogue.” Often times, a CEO or other C-suite executive will hear about blogging while listening to NPR or reading Business Week and instruct her professional communicators to create a blog for her. These decisions are often made devoid of strategy. They are executive dicta, much like what was referred to while I was working for the U.S. Army as “GOBIs,” or “General Officer Bright Ideas.”

Scoble and Isreal make a good point that corporate blogging is not for everyone. As an addendum to their thoughts, here are five things to do before starting a CEO blog:

  1. Stop. Take a breath and ask yourself “why?” Why am I creating this blog? What am I trying to achieve? Who am I trying to reach? Can I do this better in some other way. Keep asking yourself questions until you run out of them to make sure you have fully explored the purpose of creating a corporate blog.
  2. Research. After thinking about what the topic of the blog will be, look for others who write about your issue and become familiar with the existing community.
  3. Decide who will be authoring the blog and talk to the communications staff about the time commitment. Do not have the blog ghost written by a professional communicator; it should be written by the principal.
  4. Commit to openness.  Allow comments on the blog and be willing to accept criticism. If you can’t do this, don’t blog.
  5. Jump on in. The best way to learn about the space is to jump in. Mistakes will be made as you work through social media. Do not let these setbacks discourage you or prompt you to shut down your blogging efforts.


1. John Bell - July 7, 2007

Sensible points. We shouldn’t all jump into this like a bunch of lemmings. Understanding what you hope to get out of it and what it will really take to do is pretty sound advice.

2. lpunzy - July 8, 2007

Good post, Steve. You’re right. A lot of CEOs and top-tier managers herald blogging as the be-all-end-all of digital communication. They hear how other businesses have successfully woven the tool into their marketing communications operations, and then get worried that they’re behind the curve. Well, chances are the probably are. But, as you point out, that’s not an excuse to hop on WordPress and start posting with no clear sense of purpose. These businesses would fare far better in the blogosphere if they stopped to think about how this new endeavor could benefit their bottom line.

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