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Should Marketing Executives Blog?

I have been asked by a number of individuals, “why do you blog?” and “how do you find the time to blog?” Probably the best reason is that I blog because I find it interesting. It gives me a chance to experiment with a channel that is growing exponentially. It allows me to participate in a dialog with other interested persons I may not see or touch by other means. I am learning a lot and I think in the long term it will help me professionally by helping me explore ideas for promoting my business and also personally by helping me meet and establish relationships with some very interesting people. Social networking via Linkedin is helping there as well.

I came across the following article by Dan Schawbel titled “Should Marketing Executives Blog? Dan provides good rationale why executives in small and large companies should consider blogging.

If you want to know what people are saying about you (and/or your company/product) you need to be part of the conversation.

Until next time – all the best!

RolandB

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Should Marketing Executives Blog?
By Dan Schawbel

From the board room to the cubicle, there have been very few discussions about the role marketing executives should have when it comes to social media and blogging. At its core, social media breaks down communication barriers within an organization and allows a company to talk directly to stakeholders like never before. It provides an opportunity for businesses to change the way they interact with customers and receive feedback. Social media’s effect on the world of business was once a threat and is now inescapable.

As the size of companies increase, corporate governance over blogs becomes more convoluted. There are a few reasons why this happens. First, enterprises have the largest and most complex legacy processes. Second, they have sustained business growth without ever implementing a social media program, which makes them less likely to switch over. Finally, their labor force is of great mass and spread globally, which makes the message harder to control and blogs impossible to monitor.

Smaller companies, especially startups, have an advantage because they are starting to emerge and develop their businesses and can readily include social media components in order to achieve their growth goals. In each situation, the face of the corporation is directly tied to that of each employee, with an even greater impact at the executive level.

The Truth Comes Out
There is a lot of speculation in the blogosphere about whether marketing executives should blog. One train of thought is that if they were to blog it wouldn’t be authentic or transparent. Some assume the message would read as spin, typically included in press material. People automatically label marketers as people who are just spitting back corporate messages that may or may not be true. Are all marketers liars? Well, one thing is for sure, when you are actively involved and participating in social media, the truth does come out. If you aren’t true to your subject matter, then you and your company will endure bad publicity.

If you think there are no marketing executive bloggers out there in cyberspace, think again. Some are under your radar, while others are out in the open. Randy Baseler, VP of Marketing for Boeing, was one of the first marketing executives to actively blog. He posts about twice a week, with an average of 20 comments per post and about 460 blog reactions on Technorati.com (trackbacks). Then there’s Rohit Bhargava, who is a SVP at Ogilvy and Mather, and owner of the Influential Marketing Blog, which has over 5,000 subscribers and has given him the opportunity to speak at almost every high profile industry event. Both bloggers promote research, thought leadership and advice before even mentioning where they work.

Like Rohit, many marketing executives choose not to dwell on their own corporate template websites. Gary Bembridge, VP at Johnson & Johnson and C. Edward Brice, VP at SAP, choose to keep their personal identity, but also contribute knowledge from their fields. Social media is most prominent in the technology industry, with companies such as EMC, HP, and IBM, who all have formal blogging programs. Marketing executives, such as Chuck Hollis (EMC), Eric Kintz (HP) and Surjit Chana (IBM) have been highly regarded and received by partners, customers, journalists and even competitors. In this way, they have humanized their businesses and their roles.

The Benefits of Blogging
Blogging has been a great decision for marketing executives who don’t understand the basic fundamentals and want to get a feel for how the medium works. Ted Demopoulos, co–author of Blogging for Business, says, “All Marketing Executives should consider blogging. They need to understand social media marketing techniques, and there is no better way than first hand experience. If they don’t want to blog on something related to their profession, they can start a ‘throw away blog’ on an unrelated topic in order to gain familiarity with the medium.“ Aside from an unrelated blog, they can do a private blog or an internal blog, behind the corporate firewall. If the marketing executive isn’t aware of social media, then their organization will suffer.

There are even more benefits for marketing executives. Some of these benefits include positioning power and recognition in both traditional and new media sources. In a recent Brodeur study, over three quarters of reporters see blogs as being helpful in giving them story ideas, story angles and insight into the tone of an issue. Also, involvement within an organization can help a marketing executive gain visibility or a sales force deliver its message. Social media is a channel where the reader does more than respond to products or new and innovative ideas, they also observe and listen.

I think Jackie Huba, co–author of Citizen Marketers and the blog, The Church of the Customer, said it best, “I see no reason for a company not to blog, unless they’re sleazy. Companies have a unique opportunity in time to speak to consumers in a human voice. Provide understanding, clarity and void of corporate bunk. It’s an amazing time to be in Marketing, Communications and Advertising. There is no reason for a company not to leverage this channel to build credibility, loyalty and add humanity. I write this from an airport while dealing with flight delays, so trust me – a corporate blog and humanity does (and could) go a long way.”

So, the answer is yes. Marketing executives should absolutely blog.

Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for gen–y. Dan publishes Personal Branding Magazine and Personal Branding Blog. He is also the first social media specialist at EMC2 and has seven years of experience in marketing.

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