Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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January 7, 2006

83% Of Blogging CEO’s Have Ghost Writers

Dave Taylor wrote an often-quoted post about why CEO’s should not blog for the Global PR Blog week in 2005. A recent survey by David Davis from indicates that the survey participant CEO’s who blog, don’t always write their own blog.

“83% of the respondents said their blogs were written or drafted by someone else, although they approved the text before it was published. Of the 17%, who said they wrote their own blogs, most said they first asked for advice from HR and communications colleagues,? according to the survey, “Who is really behind bosses' blogs??

Though there may be some problems with this data, as the survey had asked the question, “Do you write your own blogs without advice?? That might mean a CEO consults people in their company when preparing their own posts, but writes and publishes the eventual copy, or it might mean the CEO’s don’t write their own post.

Curious about the survey and how it was put together, I asked David Davis about the survey, specifically how many people answered each question, David said, “750 was the overall respondent pool. Of the 750, all were bloggers and 92% answered all the questions. The respondents were drawn from across the board industries, medium to large and mostly with in-house PR people. To obtain the 750 pool we contacted several thousand companies. There was frequent but not excessive follow up largely by email.?

I was impressed with the amount of companies David contacted, several thousand is a lot. From my own experience with the data from the Backbone Media Corporate blogging survey, every single question had a different number of respondents, one reason why I recorded the number of respondents to each question in the results. It surprised me that the CEO survey had 92% across the board for every question. However, 690 respondents is still a great number. I asked David Davis another question about how he put the respondents together, David responded, “I decided a target pool of 750 at the outset and when that figure was built it emerged, somewhat by coincidence, that it represented across the board industries. My objective was a meaningful number rather than industry representation.?

The survey goes on to explain that the reason people don’t write their own blogs is because 48% of people find the blog too time consuming and 39% had difficulty in expressing themselves in writing, so that means 13% of the survey participants did not answer the question. Maybe I am quibbling here, but if the 100% represents 690 people and 17% of 690 had responded by saying that they did not blog there is a discrepancy in the numbers, as at least 17% of the survey participants should not have responded to this question, as it would not have applied to them. Maybe David Davis can clarify that issue? However it does support the first question in the survey as it indicates that survey respondents understood the context of the first question, if 690 responded to the second question.

Lastly, on the question in the survey, “How would you describe a 'ghost written' company blog,? 8% thought it’s a sham, 5% totally misleading, 43% marginally misleading, and 44% acceptable. So a majority of respondents have problems with ghost writing their blogs, but a significant minority thought the practice is acceptable.

If as Dave Taylor suggests that CEO’s should not blog for various reasons, time etc, then if the results of this survey are correct he might have a very strong basis for recommending CEO’s don’t blog. I personally think its all a matter of the goals of the company, and in the best of all worlds a CEO should blog. But if they don’t have the time or ability the writing and credit is best left to others.

Thanks to B.L. Ochman

Posted by johncass at January 7, 2006 8:28 PM

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