This question still might be asked by some communications and marketing folks in higher education.
You would think the answer would be a resounding ‘yes they should!’ But the answer is not that simple.
Obviously in today’s world of Twitter and Facebook, blogging can be another tool in a president’s belt to achieve their goals. Maintaining a blog can be a great way to reach audiences in a less formal way that promotes two-way conversation more than an e-mail blast or official update would.
Lethbridge College President, Dr. Tracy Edwards has started a blog which she uses to share insights on education and provide updates to external and internal audiences.
But before jumping head first into blogging, consider the following points:
Does your college president have a firm grasp on social media? Do they have accounts on Facebook or Twitter? Jumping into blogging without understanding social media could prove to have unfavorable outcomes.
Make sure that clear goals and target audiences are established. Just like any communication tool, understanding the goals and audiences help shape the message.
Establish an editorial schedule. Dr. Edwards has committed to post a blog weekly each Monday. This establishes expectations for the readers and provide guidance for your president. I have come across several president’s blogs where the are several months in-between posts (I will not mention them, but you can find some by Googling ‘college presidents blogs‘). A blog that has inconsistent posting can be damaging to your brand and comes across as a lack of commitment on the president’s part.
Establish a marketing plan for the blog. Ensure that the blog address is promoted very well to ensure maximum exposure. A president’s time is very limited and maintaining a blog that no one reads is a waste of time.
It’s only been a few weeks since Dr. Edwards has started blogging, but I’m very excited about this communication tool that she is beginning to leverage.
I do think that every college president should be blogging, but only after the above points have been considered. As younger generations grow up with social technologies, adopting them as a form of communication will not be innovative, but required.