I just read an brief article on corporate CEO blogging. Apparently the new corporate CEO blogs offer mostly PR. No surprise there. (I do know that there are some terrific blogs sprouting up all over, written by experts within companies as well as product-based blogs.)
As the now blogging owner of a political technology company, I am not interested in writing corporate PR crap. I do, however, find myself steering away from writing too much about the happenings in our “space”-- like our triumphs or failures each day; what we have discovered about our competitors and what we admire or disapprove about them; the clients we land or failed to land; what innovations we are considering; status of current projects; staffing changes; client feedback; thoughts, worries, predictions about the future; partnerships, successful or failing; who we trust or mistrust; our financial position; offers to merge or acquire us, or who we might acquire.
I would like to be able to write publicly about the space, and to do it well and get a conversation to take place with interested parties. I would love to mention that we are considering a new service Z, and have someone who is an expert in Z offer invaluable help, or explain why such a new offering would be foolhardy. I can imagine a thriving community that would add a lot of value for us and those for whom we work. I am envious of open source enterprises that have the luxury of this way of conducting business.
I have read Cluetrain Manifesto. I get how markets are conversations—and that these conversations take place whether or not companies participate in them. I have seen a few companies take real advantage of their corporate blogs in this manner, and I give them credit.
But I also appreciate why CEOs who are experimenting with blogging are treading carefully. I see the risks involved in revealing information. As the founder of a small, growing enterprise, giving out more information than I feel comfortable is risky. Whatever can be used against us can have real consequences. I offer an example. We post short biographies of our employees on our company website. I am proud of our staff and we have been loyal to each other. But with this information available publicly it is easy to poach my company’s key asset. Indeed, one of my competitors has taken advantage of this information and solicited key employees, even offering to provide a lawyer to fight their non-compete agreements. That is one way to act on competitive intelligence, I guess, but not one that I personally would emulate. It has not yet hurt us, but it shows why a CEO might want to be careful.
I plan to use this blog to share personal and political reflections that have built up for decades. I am writing about what I feel like writing about each day, however goofy. Not corporate (or family) PR, by and large, and, to be honest, not too much about company operations or dirty laundry either.
I welcome feedback about how to get it right.