The 10 Company and Gotham Research Group have released the results of a new study that suggests CEO's are not capitalizing on the important roles blogs play in building and maintaining brand status and recognition. Many blog writers are frustrated with the lack of communication coming from the top-end of organizations. Experts say this lack of communication between business leaders and bloggers represents a huge missed opportunity for organizations to promote and disseminate vital information.
Valerie Di Maria, Principal and co-founder of the 10 company commented on the relationship between CEO's and bloggers:
"The frustrations that bloggers expressed are real and important, and can be remedied with a strategy of inclusion,"
"CEOs and their Chief Communications Officers need to make sure they put a monitoring program in place, read and occasionally comment on the stories/posts of key bloggers in their industries -being sure to focus on those bloggers with the most influence and journalistic integrity- develop relationships just like they do with traditional journalists, and arrange in-person backgrounder sessions. It's an opportunity to create a real dialogue with the blogosphere. As one blogger said, 'it's tough to trash someone you've gotten a note from.'"
Blogs are an important sources of information for many business savvy people who are too engrossed in the enterprise world to waste their time with general publications. CEO's and other executives need to take full advantage of these insiders and work with bloggers to promote their organizations in a positive way. If they continue to take a hands-off approach they could be missing opportunities to grow interest in their products and services.
Here are some key frustration bloggers have with CEO's in general:
* Lack of appreciation for the power that bloggers have today. Bloggers believe their influence already rivals that of traditional media journalists and is likely to grow over time. Said one survey respondent, "I get a lot more eyeballs than anyone writing for a paper."
* Lack of respect. Bloggers believe that CEOs and their senior communications staff do not pay sufficient attention to the blogosphere and are too slow to respond to requests for information. "It's amazing," said one blogger, "how could they not be watching what we are writing about them?"
* Lack of direct access. Bloggers don't expect full access, but believe an interview once or twice a year is reasonable. They feel they are given less access than traditional media.
* Excessive control by the communications staff. Although bloggers understand the need and desire for CEOs to avoid mistakes, they believe CEOs and their staffs go too far in attempting to manage the media, and in the process, come off as artificial and scripted. Said one blogger: "It's important for at least some of the real person to come through—that's what the best ones do."
Dr. Jeff Levine, founder of Gotham Research Group commented on the importance of addressing the issue:
"We are now well beyond the point where bloggers can be ignored,"
"Some of the bloggers we spoke with have larger followings than the media outlets which executives would have interacted with in the past."
Today many people subscribe to of blogs looking to stay informed on what's happening in their organizations and fields of interest. Blog writers provide a trusted inside voice. Business leaders could be capitalizing on the relationships authors build with their readers. It's not tabloid garbage or sensationalized stories, these bloggers are in touch with the core of the industry and are constantly scanning for new information and press releases that can give them something interesting to report on.
Short interviews with CEO's and an occasional inside scoop could forge a useful alliance that would serve the organization as well as the blogger. I am surprised more organizations don't help fund and foster these relationships. Believe it or not, blogs have become an essential PR tool.