Sorry Mr CEO …

Often magazines, eDMs and now even online magazines contain a message from the CEO. They typically contain a picture of the CEO decked out in his suit and underneath is a generic few paragraphs of words with the CEO’s signature at the bottom … boring!

Think about it, as a reader when was the last time you read the CEO’s message and felt engaged? Probably never, yet it is still the number-one request and a non-negotiable item when discussing the content that should be included within a publication, be it print or digital.

Is it because the CEO’s ego is so huge that not to include their message would offend? Or is it because you have simply done it for 20+ years and the prospect of not including it seems too bold? Or are you under the pretence that it actually matters and is being read by your readers?

Whatever the reason, it’s time to take a step back to determine if it’s adding any value. There is nothing more frustrating than generic content that is cold, stale and corporate. The CEO’s message is usually the first piece of content shown to the reader, it sets the tone for the publication and so often it is a let down. On most occasions the CEO isn’t even writing the content, it is written by someone else and the CEO simply approves it. This is an approach that savvy readers hate.

So what can be done? Well number one would be to drop the CEO message, which personally as a reader is what I would prefer. Alternatively you can add personality to the message, even go as far as to have it written by the actual CEO. Wouldn’t that be crazy?

With social media we engage with those who appeal to us and who we relate to; that’s why, on average, we are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be influenced by a friends or even a stranger’s recommendation than by a brand or organisation’s recommendation. So if your CEO message is generic, dry, sales-driven and not showing your transparency or personality it is pointless adding it to any communications that you send out.

Think about this carefully, it is important to get it right and stop the generic drivel that most CEO messages contain.