Bloggers believe that CEOs rarely, if ever, take the right steps in order to properly engage them, according to a survey of prominent institutional bloggers who cover corporate and business news for top-tier national, regional, and trade news outlets, by the 10 company and Gotham Research Group.
Key frustrations with CEOs include:
• Lack of appreciation for the power that bloggers have today. Bloggers believe their influence already rivals that of traditional media journalists and is likely to grow over time. Said one survey respondent, “I get a lot more eyeballs than anyone writing for a paper.”
• Lack of respect. Bloggers believe that CEOs and their senior communications staff do not pay sufficient attention to the blogosphere and are too slow to respond to requests for information. “It’s amazing,” said one blogger, “how could they not be watching what we are writing about them?”
• Lack of direct access. Bloggers don’t except full access, but believe an interview once or twice a year is reasonable. They feel they are given less access than traditional media.
• Excessive control by the communications staff. Although bloggers understand the need and desire for CEOs to avoid mistakes, they believe CEOs and their staffs go too far in attempting to manage the media, and in the process, come off as artificial and scripted. Said one blogger: “It’s important for at least some of the real person to come through—that’s what the best ones do.”
“The frustrations that bloggers expressed are real and important, and can be remedied with a strategy of inclusion,” according to Valerie Di Maria, principal and co-founder of the 10 company. “CEOs and their chief communications officers need to make sure they put a monitoring program in place, read and occasionally comment on the stories/posts of key bloggers in their industries—being sure to focus on those bloggers with the most influence and journalistic integrity—develop relationships just like they do with traditional journalists, and arrange in-person backgrounder sessions.
“It’s an opportunity to create a real dialogue with the blogosphere. As one blogger said, ‘it’s tough to trash someone you’ve gotten a note from’.”