March 13, 2012
Business Bloggers Want More Respect from CEOs, According To a New Study From the 10 company and Gotham Research Group: Bloggers are Increasingly Frustrated By Lack of Respect and Lack of Access to Decision Makers
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. Among the key frustrations bloggers have about dealing with CEOs, according to the study, is the perception of excessive control in managing media by the company's communications staff. Other frustrations include the lack of appreciation for the power that bloggers have today; lack of respect for the blogosphere; and lack of direct access to decision makers, even for occasional interviews. "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, in a news release. "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,'" Di Maria added. "We are now well beyond the point where bloggers can be ignored," said Dr. Jeff Levine, founder of Gotham Research Group, in the release. "Some of the bloggers we spoke with have larger followings than the media outlets which executives would have interacted with in the past."
Key blogger 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 expect 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 report is based on findings from 10 one-on-one in-depth interviews with prominent institutional bloggers who cover corporate/business news for top-tier national, regional, and trade news outlets, conducted in December 2011.