Apologies, See-Through CEOs And Why PR People Are Still Valuable …

First off, I owe the readers of this blog an apology – my last entry was too long ago and I have committed the worst blogging sin possible … NOT blogging!!! This is exactly what we tell our clients not to do…and here, I have gone and done it. Being too busy is no excuse. My apologies. It won’t happen again.

There is a great article in the April issue of Wired Magazine entitled The See-Through CEO written by Clive Thompson. In it, Mr. Thompson writes about the power of blogging – and the challenges. He also put his money where his mouth is, so to speak – and put the article idea out there on his blog before he wrote it, creating a dialogue of what the piece could and should be. This is the true value of blogging. Some of the most interesting content in this article comes from the comments from readers of his blog. This article is a great example of the dialogue that can come up from putting your ideas, thoughts and concepts out there.

A lot of articles, including this one, often put forward the idea in this new world of online transparency, of blogging and openness – that you no longer need a PR person or publicist. That we “spin doctors” don’t like the idea of putting it all out there … that with Web 2.0 and the movement to online communications, PR becomes redundant. To that, I say … HA!

Great public relations has always been about engaging in conversation, dialogue, constructive and open feedback – talking and listening. In my opinion, blogging is one of the best things to happen to companies in the past century. Great PR doesn’t spin, hide or bury information, and with the new openness online – great PR people are invaluable. There are very few CEOs who, at this moment, would feel comfortable putting it all out there in a blog – the good, the bad and the ugly. A great PR person can show that CEO the value of this. A great PR person can identify the leading bloggers – and create the schedule for the CEO to reach out and speak to these bloggers and their audience by posting to their blogs. A great PR person DOES NOT write the blog, but can work with the CEO to ensure that he or she consistently delivers the straight goods on their blog. After all, who among us doesn’t want to sugar coat bad news just a little, who doesn’t want to soften a negative story when it is about us or our company. …a great PR person maintains the integrity of the blog and the message – and challenges the CEO to step out of their comfort zone.

We’re talking major corporate culture change here. And to do this right, a visionary CEO needs a strong PR professional with integrity, who has been empowered to open the door to true communication. Like just about everything in a Web 2.0 world, a great CEO and a great PR advisor collaborate and work as a team to create accurate, honest and authentic relationships through a blog.

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