WEF Davos 2017: Best 100 CEO bloggers

Summary: We published a #DrKPI WEF Davos blogger ranking for 2015 and 2016. This post presents the 2017 rankings, as well as:

Being fashionable is transient, but corporate blogs are here to stay. To illustrate, a 2009-2010 study reported that 23 percent of Fortune 500 companies had at least one corporate blog. In 2016, 181 Fortune 500 companies, or 36 percent had corporate blogs for content marketing purposes (see UMass Center for Marketing Research).

Blogs are a more personable way to communicate, and most importantly, foster dialogue with readers.

Interesting read: The no-bullsh*t guide to better blogging

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Every year the road to Davos is littered with companies that once appeared all-powerful, but later stumbled. For instance, Yahoo’s former CEO, Marissa Mayer was an avid blogger until recently, is not attending WEF Davos this year.

World Economic Forum Davos: 4 things successful c-suite bloggers do better

Checklist

  1. Staying on topic vs. Trumping
  2. Posting regularly
  3. Answering reader comments
  4. Benchmarking your blog – see what works best for you

Get answers to this checklist below.

1. Michelle Obama and staying on topic

Some have argued, “One of the biggest flaws that we see in CEO blogs is lack of focus.”

A good point, but this statement is too general. Imagine if Michelle Obama had decided to write a blog during her time at the White House. What her topic of choice might have been would not have mattered much. She could have written about human rights, her travels or shared her ideas about gardening, and countless people would have been interested to read this material.

Of course, writing about a topic you care about makes things easier. For most folks, delivering on a narrower topic helps, but different rules apply for famous people.

Take-away

The more famous you are among your target audience, the less focus matters for your blog content. Writing about a trip to the store, corporate policy meetings, and so forth can be part of the package.

You can be audacious like Mr. Trump… But your compliance folks will have a fit.

2. Guy Kawasaki and building relationships

Building relationships or friendships requires that you invest time and maintain regular contact. For instance, Guy Kawasaki posts once or twice a year, but the The Blog Maverick (Mark Cuban) has managed to post just about every month over many years.

The results speak for themselves: Mark Cuban has a much higher dedicated readership than Guy Kawasaki, even though social media pundits may feel differently. But those are the numbers.

Take-away

Don’t begin your blog by posting twice a week. Look at it as a ten-year marathon or even longer. Start off slowly, at a pace that you can maintain throughout the race. Continue the journey by posting content every three to five weeks.

3. Peter Brabeck-Lethmathe: Actions speak louder than words

Unless you really focus on reader comments, you should drop your blog. You might as well tell corporate communications to handle your media work for you, because it will not stand out… but you will be in good company, I am sorry to say.

As a CEO that reaches out and blogs, you need to be authentic. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Chariman of Nestlé Group and Formula 1) manages this very well. Two things make his CEO blog different:

  1. He receives reader comments – in contrast to many c-suite blogs that do not, AND
  2. Peter tries to respond from time to time if the comment requires a thoughtful reply.

However, recently he has failed to post regularly, which is a real shame. Also, you have to carefully monitor the comments that are left on your blog. Some people seem to forget. In turn, they may end up having several spam-type comments published among more thoughtful reader comments. A pity.

Take-away

Taking the time to reply to thoughtful reader comments makes you authentic. As importantly, it shows that you value your readers’ time. But please, moderate your reader comments to prevent spam getting published.

WEF Davos - Data about the DrKPI BlogRank: Best 100 CEO Bloggers | Copyright: Rawpixel.com | Fotolia #101962153
WEF Davos – Data about the DrKPI BlogRank: Best 100 CEO Bloggers
Copyright: Rawpixel.com | Fotolia #101962153

4. Peter F. Drucker: Metrics can help you improve performance

When I was a student, Peter F. Drucker once told me (I am paraphrasing his words):

Urs, how do you know you did well? You must define success beforehand, then measure your performance.

Of course, not everything should or can be measured.

Trying to assess how much Air Conditioning adds to your bottom line or return on investment (ROI) seems useless. Nevertheless, keeping your offices cool during summer seems sensible.

Hence, a CEO or c-suite executive should define success for their blog and then try to measure it. Comparing one’s performance to other similar blogs makes sense, and puts your work in context.

Take-away

When benchmarking oneself it helps to focus on best practice and the blog’s trendline. We can see if our level of resonance and the ripple our content gets on the social web is comparable. Necessary changes can help improve performance in the subsequent quarter.

Ranking CEO (top management) bloggers for WEF Davos 2017

CLICK on IMAGE - DrKPI - Top 100 CEO bloggers.We publish our DrKPI BlogRank: Top 100 CEO Bloggers every year (find more on the website).

These numbers can be at your fingertips; just bookmark this entry, Top blogs of Davos 2017 | World Economic Forum, and you are all set.

By the way, many luminaries attending this year’s WEF blog too rarely (minimum one entry in the last 90 days) to be included (e.g., Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation).

Make sure that your robots.txt file is set up so search engines can crawl and index your blog. Of course, George Colony: The Counterintuitive CEO may not care, since he is already famous. But if you are not, beware… here is some help for non-geeks on how to set up your robots.txt file correctly.

WEF Davos CEO Bloggers: Three lessons learned
The superstar reigns supreme in the media, publishing and blogging business. If you are famous or have a well-known brand (e.g., your company), it helps tremendously. So if you have left Google or Red Bull, this will separate the wheat from the chaff. Are you still in the top ranks or has your ripple / engagement dropped like a stone?

Below we have used high performing bloggers in one of the three areas we measure and interpreted their high score. We explain why they did so well.

1. Content Marketing & Strategy (Blogger: Randy Tinseth – Boeing)

Randy’s headlines are short and attention-grabbing. His writing style is also to the point – short sentences and paragraphs are the norm. Loved by mobile users.

2. Brand Image and Brand Strength (Blogger: David Armano – Edelmann)

Naturally, how you present yourself, as well as your employer or company does matter. If you just share your thoughts or opinion, added value is not always easy to grasp for the casual reader.

David uses graphics and visuals nicely, but as importantly, he provides links to additional material on the company site and others. Quality is key.

3. Influence, Resonance and Social Shares (Blogger: Carsten Ulbricht – Bartsch Rechtsanwälte)

Readers who care or are inspired write comments. But often we are lucky if just 1 out of 1,000 readers shares a blog entry. If 1 out of 10,000 visitors writes a comment, we’re thrilled.

Social shares are a flash in the pan – important now, but gone in less than 10 seconds in my feed… They do little for building a long-term relationship with your clients or getting potential clients to talk about your product.

Bill Gates gets the best score = 100 for his social ripple, i.e. how his content is being shared on social networks, just above Richard Branson. Nevertheless, both have had zero reader comments over the last 90 days.

Have your say –  join the conversation

Source: WEF Davos 2017: Best 100 CEO bloggers

What is your opinion?

– Who is your favorite top management, c-suite or CEO blogger?
– What would you recommend a CEO blogger such as Jean-Pascal Tricoire (CEO of Schneider Electric) do to get more reader comments (1,000 likes, 13,000 views BUT 0 reader comments)?
– Since it takes Elon Musk six days to go from having an idea to its execution, what would you recommend he do to revive his stale blog?

More about DrKPI BlogRank – the Hit Parade

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author declares that he had no conflict of interest with respect to the content, authorship or publication of this blog entry.

WEF Davos 2017 Top 100 Bloggers: How it works
We did not just gather the over 100 CEO / c-suite blogs we liked best. Instead, our DrKPI® BlogRank picked those that feature the most informative, knowledgeable and experience driven insights, using objective indicators. We also analyse writing style and visual effects, as well as how much reader engagement, dialogue and ripple is generated by marketing content published in the blog.

100 is the highest possible grade for each indicator. The average within the group of blogs being ranked or all blogs (see table below) is 50.

Top 100 CEO blogs

Learn more about the table below from the above blog entry. Get the numbers below with this click.

Register your blog right her

WHAT do Branson, Gates, Obama, Musk, Xi Jin-Ping, Christine Lagard have in common: Most are among the 100 best CEO bloggers
WHAT do Branson, Gates, Obama, Musk, Xi Jin-Ping & Christine Lagard have in common? Most are among the best 100 CEO bloggers – find out who from DrKPI.

Urs E. Gattiker

Professor Urs E. Gattiker - DrKPI is corporate Europe's leading social media metrics expert (see his books). He continues to work with start-ups. Urs is CEO of CyTRAP Labs GmbH.

11 thoughts on “WEF Davos 2017: Best 100 CEO bloggers

  • 17. January 2017 at 14:02
    Permalink

    2009 it was cool for Google’s Sergey Brin to start writing a blog that, while looking, awful focused on his interests (see your point above about Michelle Obama).

    He wrote about Gene for Parkinson’s Disease http://too.blogspot.com

    But he gave up January 2010… probably too much work…. his writing was a bit stilted, maybe not his love writing…

    Too bad really.
    Tom

    Reply
    • 17. January 2017 at 14:14
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      Dear Tom

      Thanks so much for stopping by and writing about Sergey Brin’s now quiet blog. Yes, too sad he stopped blogging. Moreover, I am sure people would have loved continue reading more about his projects.

      Of course, we knew that blogging was not easy. In fact, Debbie Weil who has a VERY interesting blog herself AND wrote another book about corporate blogging, is not having an easy time http://voxiemedia.com/blog/
      Balancing corporate communication (talking about your products vs. the readers’ interests/problems) is a fine act of balancing your own interests versus those of your clients (or potential customers).
      Moreover, getting your content to resonate so far that readers comment is even tougher.
      DrKPI BlogRank data for Debbie Weils helpful voxiemedia blog: https://drkpi.com/rank/*/*/CEOs/*/*/voxiemedia.com/blog/

      Of course, using a platform like Disqus for managing reader comments does not help for 2 reasons:

      1 – readers must log in to be able to comment, AND
      2 – you loose SEO juice, i.e. when I search I find your comment and get routed to Disqus instead of back to Debbie’s blog…

      So if you blog it is a marathon and you should commit for 10 years… but it is great fun, you learn in the process yourself and you communicate things that help your target audience better understand where you are coming from. I find this a worthwhile challenge.

      Thanks again
      Urs

      Reply
  • 3. February 2017 at 11:00
    Permalink

    I fully agree that blogs are a more personable way to communicate, and most importantly, foster dialogue with readers. From my point of view, it is most important to pursue a specific goal with a blog.

    In context with a company brand the CEO can definitely strengthen the company’s brand. He takes on a key role. If the CEO integrates the messages behind the company’s brand identity into what he is saying, and if his own behavior continually reflects company brand values, a CEO can significantly strengthen a company brand image both inside and outside of the company, provided the brand is professionally managed.

    CEOs can internally raise awareness of the company’s brand and initiate brand-specific behavior by employees through their actions and their communications. In external communications, CEOs provide orientation by communicating and presenting the company brand identity through consistent communications. Decisive is the congruence of communications and action. CEOs can intensify the functions of the corporate brand. The personalization tendency prevailing in the media offers CEOs the opportunity to place messages in public.

    Hence, in my opinion, a CEO blog can definitely strengthen the company’s brand. From my point of view, CEOs should recognize the need for when and where they represent the position of the company and explain the context. It is not necessary to write a separate CEO blog. The creation of content as well as maintenance requires a lot of time. CEOs generally have a tightly packed calendar. The outsourcing of the CEO blog to ghostwriters can also be problematic in the context of the demand for authenticity.

    In addition, in the public the criticism can arise that the CEO has more of his public positioning than the positioning of the company in mind when inappropriate content is published. In the sense of integrated communications the content should be useful in order to contribute to the promotion of the brand promise.

    If the CEO is in public eye, he must be aware that he is also exposed to the public evaluation. People do not perceive the CEO as a private individual, but primarily as a representative of the company.

    It is also important to consider how to proceed if the CEO leaves the company. There is a risk that there will be no equivalent prominent successor who guarantees his company a strong media presence. The loss of this presence may result in a loss of image.

    In my master thesis entitled “The role of the CEO in the brand communication of the B2B companies”, I have examined the topic slightly.

    My best
    Christine

    Reply
    • 4. February 2017 at 12:37
      Permalink

      Answer 1

      Dear Christine
      Thanks so much for your comment here. Very hard to answer it though because there so much material in each. I think I split my answer into several repies.

      In context with a company brand the CEO can definitely strengthen the company’s brand. He takes on a key role. If the CEO integrates the messages behind the company’s brand identity into what he is saying, and if his own behavior continually reflects company brand values, a CEO can significantly strengthen a company brand image both inside and outside of the company, provided the brand is professionally managed.

      This is surely correct if the CEO goes to the trouble tow rite content herself. Sometimes CEOs may have an idea but then corporate communication does the work. Then things become stilted. All is done nice but it is often like legal speak…

      If the blog really writes most herself and has people help with fotos, graphics and so forth as well as the SEO work, then it surely comes across as authentic. The latter helps and will get the attention with staff because it comes from the “horses mouth”.

      Thanks for sharing.
      Urs

      Reply
    • 4. February 2017 at 13:58
      Permalink

      Answer 2
      Liebe Christine

      Hier noch weitere wichtige Punkte die du in Deinem Kommentar erwähnt hast.

      From my point of view, CEOs should recognize the need for when and where they represent the position of the company and explain the context. It is not necessary to write a separate CEO blog. The creation of content as well as maintenance requires a lot of time. CEOs generally have a tightly packed calendar.

      I am not sure if I agree with your conclusion that the CEO may not write a separate blog. At least he or she should have a category that allows readers to just subscribe via RSS or an e-mailed newsletter to the CEOs posts. And if she posts once a month it is fine. But at least every 6 weeks.

      Only then will her readers establish some kind of relationship with the blogger – the CEO
      Accordingly, it makes little sense to blog on a platform like LinkedIn, since these are surely neither the company’s customers nor suppliers. To reach the largest audience possible, blogs that are open for search spiders to index them are key. It will bring traffic over months to the relevant blog entry from interested readers that found the material via search.

      In addition, in the public the criticism can arise that the CEO has more of his public positioning than the positioning of the company in mind when inappropriate content is published. In the sense of integrated communications the content should be useful in order to contribute to the promotion of the brand promise.

      That is a very important point indeed, Christine.
      One way to address this challenge is to have several members of the top management team blog. That brings in various viewpoints of interest to the target audiences. As importantly, it reduces the workload since then posting every 8 to 10 week might suffice. As long as there is a new post from a top management team member every 3 weeks to be read, we are doing well.
      I think this problem you have all-the-time but top management

      I think what is key is that we consider a great blog entry takes hours to prepare even if we take the work such as posting images into the entry, graphics and so forth away from the CEO. That is, she focuses on writing only not the nitty gritty stuff that is also needed to make the post fly on a mobile.

      Thanks for sharing.
      Have a great weekend.
      Urs

      Reply
      • 7. February 2017 at 20:55
        Permalink

        Dear Urs,
        I agree with you.

        From my point of view it would be great if the CEO is writing once a month or at least 6 times a year a blog post. My experience has shown me that the time of CEOs is very limited.

        Due to the enormous time pressure it is important to select suitable communication instruments to transport the company’s messages through the CEO respectively management team. A CEO blog can be one of the communication instruments.

        Hence, I wrote CEOs should recognize the need for when and where they represent the position of the company and explain the context.

        You wrote:

        “One way to address this challenge is to have several members of the top management team blog”.

        I like your idea.

        That would be even better.

        Thanks for your comments.
        Christine

        Reply
    • 4. February 2017 at 15:07
      Permalink

      Answer 3

      Dear Christine
      You write

      It is also important to consider how to proceed if the CEO leaves the company. There is a risk that there will be no equivalent prominent successor who guarantees his company a strong media presence. The loss of this presence may result in a loss of image.

      You are pointing out something very important here. Of course, the CEO may leave but another CEO will replace her, hopefully. This is less problematic if you have several top management members that blog on the same blog (see my Answer 2 above).

      You also write:

      In my master thesis entitled “The role of the CEO in the brand communication of the B2B companies”, I have examined the topic slightly.

      Christine, where can one download your thesis as a pdf Datei. Can you give us a link please.

      Thanks
      Urs

      Reply
  • 4. February 2017 at 8:54
    Permalink

    Hi Urs
    Nice to read it !
    Interesting list you put together.
    I am surprised how little dialogue some of these people have in their blogs.

    Reply
    • 4. February 2017 at 15:34
      Permalink

      Dear Mir Mohammad Ali Khan

      Thanks so much for your feedback. Yes it is interesting. What surprises me is that many CEOs do not blog.
      With online becoming ever more important, I would think that any CEO or member of top management would want to use this communication channel. It provides us with a means to reach out and get feedback.

      Thanks for sharing
      UJrs

      Reply

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