4 CEOs Successfully Blogging To Reach Their Company’s Target Audience

Posted on February 28, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

4 CEOs Successfully Blogging To Reach Their Company’s Target Audience

Guest Post

By Ashley Wirthlin (@ashleywirthlin)

As a member of a small business team, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand what is required of a CEO and their team members. I’ve also been able to see the importance of blogging as a small business, and I in turn blog every day. The owner and CEO of the small company I work for also blogs daily, and has many different blogs that he manages.

The blog, a social media tool, serves as an introductory method to start that connection with buyers and customers, and can be a great place to showcase expertise, share information, and give advice. When executed properly and not used solely as an advertising tool, the blog can greatly increase a company’s good WOM (word of mouth).

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With some help from Steve Farnsworth, I sent out a request through HARO (Help a Reporter Out) looking for other CEO bloggers to see what their experiences have been with blogging and to see if there were some noticeable trends. We wanted to evaluate their reasons for blogging, the results they’ve seen, and their future goals and expectations.

The Players

Through HARO, I was able to connect with many bloggers, and got some great responses. Those who responded include SEOmoz’s own Rand Fishkin, MyWorkButterfly’s Terry Starr, Big Fuel Communications’ Avi Savar, and Grasshopper’s David Hauser. Each company works and operates online serving very different audiences.

Though blogs have been around for more than a decade, they’ve gained more reputability, credibility, and importance in the marketing and PR mix online, and that can easily be seen in the responses these four CEOs gave.  Blogs can be the first impression a customer/buyer creates about you; the lack of a blog can also help to shape that first impression. Though customers may not think much about you not having a blog, you can miss out on an opportunity to really share something of value with them and to capture their interest.

Why Did They Do It?

Your reasons for blogging may differ from other companies in your industry, and that’s normal; the CEOs who responded certainly began blogging for different reasons. David Hauser’s goal was to “talk about the entrepreneurial experience”; Rand’s responded, “What started as an experiment to share some information and get feedback from a community turned into a remarkable company.” Terry’s goal was to ”support moms in their return to work, while guiding working moms striving to achieve work/life harmony”. And lastly, Avi’s response was: “Our primary objective was to establish our organization as a thought leader, drive awareness of our brand, increase traffic to our website, and ultimately drive sales.”

What can be seen in the responses above is an underlying want to provide something of value to others and to share what they know. Each of the CEOs found great success and positive results from their blogs. When interviewing other professionals who blog, like Richard Wilson of HedgeFundBlogger.com and Jason Aiken of 99designs’ blog, I’ve heard resounding consensus: they wish they had simply started earlier and not been afraid of change or the potential of the blog failing. 3 of the 4 CEOs had been blogging less than 2 years, one only having blogged less than a year. They have already gained some impressive results and positive returns, only further helping to reiterate the importance of simply getting started.

In my own experience, it’s taken time to gain confidence in my blog posts; writing everyday, you inadvertently become a better writer. On top of that, it’s definitely taken time to become disciplined enough to post everyday. Avi from Big Fuel Communications said that blogging has become their primary communication tactic; they use other outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, but have found that their blog traffic and customer/buyer communications have increased and are easier to measure.

Getting Closer To Customers

Though each company has a different mission, goals, and objectives, blogging has helped them to get closer to accomplishing those goals. For example, Terry from MyWorkButterfly wanted to create a resource for mothers hoping to reenter the work place. The MyWorkButterfly has become just that, with many “mom-bloggers”  contributing to the blog and more and more mom’s finding this blog to be a great resource for information.

For Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz has become a well-known name and online brand. Working with and learning about SEO (search engine optimization), you inadvertently run across some of SEOmoz’s content. Rand has seen many benefits, including revenues, speaking opportunities, and definite SEO benefits from the blog.

David Hauser, founder of Grasshopper, a virtual phone system designed for entrepreneurs, stated that his reason for blogging was in part because of its benefits as well as its potential: “It became a great way to enhance personal branding and give a personal voice to myself and the company.”

Lastly, for Avi Savar of Big Fuel Communications, a marketing and communications firm, blogging has been a worthwhile venture; they’ve seen traffic grow tremendously from 1,500 page views a month to 15,000. It can be a rather difficult and time-consuming process to increase page views; with results like Avi’s (and the other CEOs), it is very encouraging.

You Got To Do Your Own Time

The key point to remember is that these results did not happen overnight; Avi’s increase in page views took place over the course of 8-12 months. During that time, he consistently blogged (with the help of others contributing content), and worked hard to build the blog to its current state. The same can be seen in the increased revenues of SEOmoz and the increased customer communication Grasshopper experienced. These improvements take time, and blogging is a full time commitment that requires dedication.

While many CEOs are reluctant to blog because of time constraints and other business strategies to implement, clearly the successful CEO of the future needs to take a lead in her/his industry’s conversation. That conversation ought to take place on your blog where you can encourage participation and offer value to your readers. The days of hiring another firm to be your company’s voice are over; it’s time for CEOs to step up to the blog, and embrace it wholly.

This blog series was made possible with HARO, the CEOs who responded, and Steve Farnsworth.

Ashley Wirthlin is the author and editor of PublicRelationsBlogger.com. She has experience in SEO, Internet marketing, blogging, and social media. She is also the creator of the Public Relations Specialist (PRS) certification program, and has written The Free Public Relations Book, a how to manual on P.R. 2.0. To download a free copy now, click here Public Relations Blogger.