Oh, boy. Just as I am getting ready to retire from teaching at Kent State here comes a whole host of job opportunities. And maybe I will be rewarded for all the lonely hours I’ve spent cranking out copy for this blog.
It seems that companies are starting to hire “chief bloggers.” “Does Your Company Need a Chief Blogger?” That’s the headline for an Advertising Age article, published April 14. Here’s the beginning:
To blog or not to blog?
It’s a question marketers are still grappling with years after the first waves of corporate blogging flooded the web. But for better or worse, it seems corporate blogging — and the title of chief blogger — is beginning to hit its stride. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak all have recently recruited chief bloggers, with or without the actual title, to tell their stories and engage consumers.
I’m most likely missing the big picture here. But I recall having a job like this –“tell their stories and engage consumers” — 35 years ago. It was called newsletter editor.
I’m OK with having someone at a senior level advising management about communication strategy and techniques — with blogging included in the mix. And in fairness the article does get into this; it’s worth reading if you are interested in all of this or if you are considering a blog for your organization.
Here’s my take on all this. I understand how blogging can become an important part of the marketing mix if done effectively and ethically. And I guess a chief blogger could type his/her fingers off addressing sales (oops, meant marketing) and related subjects. Bob Lutz appears to gain high marks for this at General Motors. Although it hasn’t helped the share price much — or the employees who are trying to figure out whether it is better to take a buyout or stick around with the prospect of being laid off. I digress.
But if the corporation wants to opine on subjects covered by timely disclosure regulations, then the chief blogger better be the CEO. And that’s why blogs are never going to be a primary communications tool for publicly traded corporations — if you accept the idea, as I do, that blogs are really only beneficial when they lead to an exchange of views and information. Or, dare I say it, two-way communication?
The Advertising Age article says that today just more than 11 percent of Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs, according to SocialText, and only a handful have a designated chief blogger.
Wonder if GE has a blog and a designed chief blogger? If so, I would like to know what the company’s sales and earnings forecasts are for the next several quarters. That way, my retirement savings accounts won’t take such a big hit — like last week — when GE reported lower-than-expected earnings.
And if AT&T blogs — think I could get an answer to my question about how much they are willing to pay for qualified customer service personnel? No response as yet (or ever) from the media relations staff.
Also, Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO/President of Sun Microsystems, is always mentioned in these articles and in every book about blogging. Maybe he is the best example — or the only one. I don’t know. But as a long-suffering shareholder, is there any chance he could take an occasional break from blogging and do something to increase shareholder value?
Chief blogger. Nah. Probably better off as a newsletter editor.