Getting started with CEO blogging:
So, you want to start a CEO blog?
You’ve been through the detailed list of pros and cons of CEO blogging, read all of expert opinions here, and you’ve decided that it’s time to sit down and write your first CEO/NED/Executive blog. So let’s talk topics… what should you talk about?
Just a quick reminder before we jump in at-depth. There’s three things you need to do to earn a return from CEO blogging:
- Have the right alignment between your personal and business positioning,
- Deliver valuable, well executed content,
- Have an effective digital sales funnel in place to capture interest and build relationships.
This article is primarily focused on #1 above – getting the right alignment between your personal and business positioning.
If you need help with #2 (delivering valuable well executed content), or #3 (an effective digital sales funnel) you may want to have a look at our Thought Leadership Marketing Audit in more detail.
1. Getting the right alignment
CEO blogging is a thought leadership marketing strategy. Earning returns from any thought leadership strategy is dependent on the right alignment between the product/service you’re selling and your scope for thought leadership.
As we talk about in what is thought leadership marketing?, alignment is critical because of the specific way that thought leadership leads to returns:
“Thought leadership as a marketing strategy does two things:
- Establishes front-of-mind awareness
- Builds trust in your expertise and ability to deliver
Thought leadership as a marketing strategy works in market segments where it’s difficult to understand the specific quality of the product or service before it has been delivered. Typically this means relatively high price points and a substantial amount of customisation for each customer. Because in these segments it is difficult to predict the specific quality of the product or service prior to delivery, trust plays a key role in the sales process.”
To get the right alignment between your scope for thought leadership and your products/services, we’d always suggest you start from a customer first perspective.
Some of the common questions that we discuss with clients when establishing a scope for thought leadership:
- What does your product/service do for your customers (in language they use)?
- What is the head-in-hands moment/problem that you want to be front of mind?
- What questions do buyers frequently ask (in sales conversations)?
- What are your differentiating opinions and beliefs on this space?
- From the perspective of a customer, how are you different vs. the competition in solving this head-in-hands problem?
- In 10 years time, how will this space be different from today?
In answering the six questions above, you’ll see recurrent topics/themes pop-up. Those big ideas that are aligned to the differentiation of your product/service are the keys to well aligned positioning.
2. Finding specific topics
With the right alignment (see #1 above) and topic level positioning (see #3 below), finding topics for CEO blogs is the same as finding topics for any other blog.
For a start, read this post on how to come up with killer ideas for your blog.
Need more ideas?
See this post from Revathi Krishna on What should a CEO blog about?
In the article Revathi suggest five topics:
- Explaining your vision
- Announcing a product release
- Connecting with the target market
- Establishing thought leadership
- Speaking about the true state of affairs
3. Positioning your topics as inevitable
As we say in our definition of thought leadership: “It’s called thought leadership because of the implication that you shape the way that the industry thinks. You ‘lead’ the thinking about your area of expertise.”
By definition, “leading the thinking” in your area of expertise means that you’re talking about NEW ideas.
With this as a foundation, the biggest piece of advice we give clients who are looking to achieve true thought leadership is summarised in Crazy ideas + Inevitability = Thought Leadership
“A key ingredient in thought leadership is inevitability. Thought leadership without inevitability often sounds “crazy”. As a thought leader, you’re speaking about ideas that are dramatically different to current “best practice”. This means that there’s always a risk that you’ll be perceived as somewhat ‘crazy’. You can mitigate this risk by positioning your ideas as the inevitable future – whether the reader/listener accepts this or not.”
When you’re positioning topics as inevitable, you need to make a crazy idea sound inevitable – which isn’t always the easiest task. Data (whether trends, predictions etc) can be very helpful in bridging from crazy to inevitable. One resource you may find especially helpful here is our post on the data that you need to write on the future of work.