Today’s post is written by Amy Cunningham – a communications consultant specialising in blogging for businesses and senior executives. Amy is also my blog manager and the other half of The Leader’s Digest. 

If I asked you which company CEO you would most like to have dinner with, who would you choose?

I’m betting your answer is someone you find intriguing, interesting and inspiring.

Someone you have a significant amount of respect for.

Someone you think you’d get along well with, learn something from and have a bit of a laugh with. Am I right?

Let’s delve a little deeper. How did you come to form such a positive connection with this person in the first place?

My answer to that question is reputation.

We are living in an age of instant global connectivity. Yet the reality is, many CEOs still feel lonely at the top. A recent *survey validated this fact, showing over two thirds of CEOs feel isolated – and likewise, many employees, stakeholders and the general public feel disconnected from organisational leaders as well.

So, how can leaders work towards bridging this gap? One of the most accessible and effective ways CEOs and senior executives can elevate their individual and organisational reputation is through blogging.

Here are 6 reasons why CEOs and senior executives should blog:

1. Relationship building. One of the first lessons we learn in business is relationships are everything. Blogging is a highly effective tool for building and maintaining both internal and external relationships.

Why? It builds trust, credibility and ultimately, reputation.

The importance of building strong relationships with stakeholders before the proverbial hits the fan is illustrated in a crisis. CEOs we know and trust will always come across more positively in a crisis than those we have no prior relationship with.

2.  Personality. If giving your company a human face is high on your to-do list, consider leadership blogging as a tactic.

Richard Branson is an example of a CEO who has done this exceptionally well, through his blog on the Virgin website. Sure, he’s a well known business leader anyway, but his blog is not about self-promotion. It shares useful tips and insights about how others can become entrepreneurs. He even posts some holiday photos now and then which give it a nice personal touch.

3. Thought leadership. Blogging is a great way to establish yourself as a leader in your field. Writing posts about issues in your industry allows you to position yourself as an expert. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential/current employee or client – you want to work with the most experienced and knowledgeable people, right? This doesn’t mean you need to know everything. You have knowledge, expertise and most importantly, an opinion – all you need to do is share it.

4. Employment branding and talent acquisition. Bloggers are essentially authors; publishers of their own (or their company’s) brand. Your blog will raise your professional profile and help direct interest from potential new talent directly to your door. In addition to enhancing the reputation of the organisation you represent, you will grow your own public image – a valuable asset when seeking new opportunities.

5. Communication. The main difference between blogging and more traditional forms of communication (i.e. print advertising), is people only read information which resonates with them.

We invite people to read our blog post and if they find it interesting enough to read, a ‘conversation’ of sorts can take place – when the reader submits their feedback by leaving a comment/s. This can lead to an exchange of dialogue where questions can be asked, solutions offered, ideas transferred and most importantly, relationships developed.

We can’t have this type of interaction with a billboard or an ad in a magazine, but we can with bloggers.

Research* also portrays senior executives who blog engage with external stakeholders better than those who don’t.

6. It’s inevitable. CEO ‘sociability’ (i.e. use of social media as a form of professional communication) increased from 36% to 66% between 2010 and 2012. Having a strong digital presence is no longer just a ‘nice to have’.

Peter Aceto CEO, ING DIRECT Canada, summed it up nicely when he said:-

“Successful leaders will no longer be measured just by stock price. Managing and communicating with shareholders, employees, government, community, customers will be table stakes in the future. They are talking about your business anyway. Why not be included in the conversation?”

If you want to earn a seat at more ‘dinner tables’, consider entering the blogosphere. If you’re reading this blog post, you’re already half way there.

About the author:
Amy is a communications consultant specialising in helping business leaders to harness the power of blogging. If you’re interested in finding out more about Amy’s blog management service, get in touch.


*Data from the Executive Coaching Survey by the Center for Leadership Development and Research (CLDR) at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and The Miles Group.