Saturday, March 25, 2006

CEO Blogging


I listened to an interesting session this week. The teleconference call was set up by WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) and had several interesting speakers talking about blogging -- Richard Edelman, President & CEO, Edelman Public Relations; Laurie Mayers, Senior Vice President, Deputy Managing Director, Hass MS&L;and Michael Wiley, Director, New Media, General Motors.

Richard Edelman identified several rules of the road that he abides by when writing his blog (e.g., make it ethical, yield control of the message, make sure it's not spin, engage your critics). Richard says that he checks Technorati to see if anyone is commenting on his blog and writes them a comment if his words have been misunderstood or taken out of context. I thought that was a smart idea. Will try it myself.

Hearing about General Motors' Fast Lane blog was also illuminating. Laurie Mayers works on the Fast Lane blog and noted that it received 8,000 comments in its first year. She mentioned that GM's return on investment with Fast Lane is many more times greater than what you would get if you had to pay for conducting focus groups to obtain the views of 8,000 car enthusiasts.

Michael Wiley made good points too. I was particulary interested in his comment that Fast Lane had become a feeder to various news media and that it was often picked up verbatim. Nice way to get the GM message out and speak directly to the public while bypassing a critical press.

All of the speakers agreed that the hardest part of CEO blogging was content creation. Tell me about it. For me, the pressure to come up with new and interesting content is hard enough. For CEOs, it has to be nearly excruciating. Yet, it is being done and clearly the ROI is bountiful.

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