Share your thoughts on CEO blogs and fake blogs!

Global PR Week 2.0

In addition to my other volunteer efforts to help Global PR Blog Week 2.0 be a valuable discussion and event for both public relations professionals and anyone else interested in the present and future of business blogging and PR blogging, I’m also contributing two articles of note:
Why CEO’s Shouldn’t Blog
Fake Blogs: New Marketing Channel or Really Bad Idea?
I have some thoughtful opinions on both topics, and have already started to draft up notes and some specific points I want to make, but in the spirit of an open dialog, I would like to invite you, my faithful readers, to add your own thoughts on these two topics too!
You are welcome to agree with my position, disagree vehemently, or even just point to weblogs that you think are fascinating or wicked cool examples of the specific topic.
In a week or two I’ll begin pulling my articles together and will hope that I can quote at least a few of you therein (with links to your own sites, if you’d like: indicate as such in your comment if that’s something that appeals to you) either supporting my position CEO blog-wise, or offering a smart perspective on so-called fake blogs.
So…. what do you think about CEO blogs and fake blogs?

8 comments on “Share your thoughts on CEO blogs and fake blogs!

  1. Hi Dave,
    I am responding to the question you posed — “Fake Blogs: New Marketing Channel or Really Bad Idea?” I think it’s neither. This is just the good ‘ol bylined story from print in its digital incarnation.
    Open any decent industry publication and you’ll no doubt see an article written by a CEO or someone in upper management about some issue that pertains to the industry. Of course, the article is generously peppered with mentions of the company’s newest changing the world idea and perhaps even some personal anecdotes. Fine and dandy except the story was written by a mid-level account manager at the company’s P.R. agency.
    So, what’s different about doing this electronically? Nothing, except the P.R. agency has to do less work in getting the story placed, it’s available right away and it’s more likely to be read by a more general audience than would read the print story.
    I think it’s a great marketing channel and there’s nothing wrong with leveraging it. It does require the CEO or other alleged writer to be more diligent and find out what they have written in case the inquisitive reporter at the afternoon press conference asks for a comment about this morning’s post. I can see that back-firing on the company.
    Cheers,
    Nik Kalyani

  2. Hi Dave,
    I am a CEO blogging for the last 6 months and I can express my opinion about how it contributes to us as an early stage company. Blogging created for me a channel to test new concepts and get immediate responses. Also it works as a great connector for meeting new interesting people. And the most important it gives people the feeling that our company is “accessible” in a level unparalleled by other mediums.
    I blogged two times in the past about the business blogging debate:
    “Pros and Cons of Blogging” –
    http://www.strategicboard.com/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=146
    “Why CEO should blog – my personal experience” – http://www.strategicboard.com/weblog/pivot/entry.php?id=234
    Dudu

  3. Dave,
    I think CEOs should blog if they are willing and able. However, I think having a CEO blog ghost written is not a good idea. In my experience, blogs are windows into their authors’ personalities among other things. A ghost blogger is little more than a digital middleman and, unless fully disclosed, a violation of readers’ trust. Sure, industry publications have been corrupted, like Nik points out in the comment above, but that doesn’t make the practice right or ethical. Call me a purist, but I think blogs should actually be written by those whose names are used to create traffic for the blog. What do you think would happen to your readership if it became known that you hired a ghost blogger, Dave? I blogged on this topic recently at http://caeexam.blogspot.com/2005/08/now-hiring-middleman.html
    Ben

  4. I would ask: Who should read a CEO’s blog?
    What is the CEO’s target audience? How will the members of the target audience know that they are supposed to be in that audience?
    Possible audiences: employees, customers, prospective customers, vendors, prospective vendors, shareholders, the management team (at a variety of levels), the community, regulators, elected officials. Should the Board of Directors be on that list?
    At what level should the CEO engage the audience?
    At what level should the sudience engage the CEO?
    What sorts of blogosphere chatter should the CEO engage, or should the CEO stay above it all and stay strictly “on message”?
    If a CEO gets advice from a “blog coach”, doesn’t that add a layer of impersonal ghostliness to the blog even if the CEO nominally does all the writing?
    What if the CEO does all the initial writing but then a copy editor “finishes” the post, possibly changing meanings in subtle ways? Is that okay or a violation of having a personal voice in your blog?
    Finally, can we really separate the notion of what gets written and by whom from the forms of feedback and interaction and conversation that are permitted after a blog post is published?
    — Jack Krupansky

  5. Answering the CEO question would be another question: who’s the CEO? there are a lot of followup questions to that, but it starts from the person. Is the CEO’s identity part of the overall marketing strategy? If so, it should be considered, if not, why bother?
    The second question needs a better definition of fakeblog. Are we talking about “character” blogs? Or are we talking about the fakeblogs that consist of scraped content? The answer really depends on what you mean.

  6. Splendid point, Greg. When I talk about a “fake blog” I mean one that’s written by a fictitious character or otherwise purports to have one author when in fact it’s another, or another team of authors.

  7. thanks, Dave.
    Alrighty, then – character blogs. that’s going to depend on the character, to some degree, but I believe marketing should be very cautious with this one.
    Mickey Mouse’s blog would get a ton of readers. As long as the writers could keep Mickey’s tone consistent, that is. On the other hand, Mascot X from Product Y would get zip readers out of the box – we’ve seen a couple of character blogs fail miserably already.
    Like a CEO blog, a character blog depends on audience identification with the “author”. Without the willingness to suspend disbelief, it won’t fly. And getting that suspension is hard. If, say “Veronica Mars” blogged, there would be a hard core audience for it, because fans of that show are already suspending disbelief in her. But that’s because the character is well-drawn already.
    Perhaps that’s the key. A previously existing character or mascot could work, if blogging would be consistent with their personna. I don’t think you can create a character for a blog and make it work, though.

  8. The first FCEOW (Fake CEO’s of the World) Conference was held in secret this weekend in an undisclosed location.
    I couldn’t be there because of prior commitments but I did Keynote via teleconference.I’ve heard that Fake Schartz, Fake Gates and Fake Ellison really turned the place out!
    Fake Branson emailed me the agenda and it was fascinating! These fake guys are really on the ball! I would wager that they would probably do a better job than their CEO’s alter-egos. Maybe I can make it next time, they’ll really be surprised to see who I am. You see like I have said before; I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me.
    Get this, there is a guy who is a fake fake Steve Ballmer who showed up, but he was thrown out after an hour or so for being intoxicated (I heard it was a pretty ugly scene).
    The conference was covered by the “I am Not Fake Steve” site, which covers news on fake blogs.
    Fake Steve Jobs was not invited, he’s actually Copy-boy Dan Lie-ons

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