(Dis)*agree? A Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) needs to Spend Some Hours a Week Working on SEO

Many companies would be better run if more managers did hands-on work. For example, if the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)/Director of Marketing spent some time each week on tasks such as writing blog posts, doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), etc.
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If the CMO/Director of Marketing has time to spend every week writing blog posts, doing SEO, etc. I would say they are probably not doing their job very well.

It's not about having to. It's about keeping skills sharp, earning respect, having the right perspective, etc.
James » Mike
I agree but bill Gates and many other famous celebrities are always blurting out how Chief Executive Officers (CEO)s should be reading X amount of books per year. If that's the case, they could certainly write some influential blog posts
Mike » James
I'm not saying they could never write a blog post. I'm saying expecting them to do it weekly is ridiculous.
Mike » Thompson
A director of marketing is kind of like the captain of the ship. They are not the pilot, cook, navigator, etc all in one. They make sure they have the right people under them to do the job. They lay out goals and a vision. They make decisions on budgets. They make sure all the parts of the marketing team are working together. If they are spending time every week doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they are failing at their job.

Strongly disagree. A boss stuck micromanaging is a performance sinkhole. The job of the manager is not to work the details but to enable those who do to be comfortable and motivated, and at the same time to hold them responsible for performing as expected (i.e. to keep slackers away).
Bill Gates, who was given as an example above, was an unmitigated disaster at Microsoft during the early years when he insisted to read (and often rewrite) every line of code written by his underlings. Only when he hired Charles Simonyi, who helped Microsoft adopt certain coding standards, and made himself 'chief metaprogrammer' removed from daily writing of code yet fully responsible for overall product direction, did the company manage to start growing in earnest.
If you're talking about a lean start up, sure.
If you're talking about a larger, more traditional corporate, no. That's a leadership role. They don't need to lay the egg. They just need to know where to put the chickens. They deal with higher level strategy. Doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) would not be in their toolkit and doesn't need to be.

That may be the key distinction – startup vs corporate. I do see a lot more hands on leadership in the startup world than in the corporate world.

If you are a director, you must have the skills to hire the right people for the right job. You must be able to understand your industry, the company goals, their differentiator and be able to provide the big picture so everyone is on the same page. Being updated with trends and new technologies is required as well but that doesn't mean they have to execute the tasks themselves to understand how things work and how to use those new technologies in their product or company. All their responsibilities are enough work. If a director is writing weekly posts he/she is probably not doing all their responsibilities and that would worry me if I was working in that company.


This is something a junior employee would think/suggest. Corporate leaders' value does not lie in writing blogs.

Many companies feel differently, and have their senior leadership contribute to their blogs. Their thought leadership and experience can be an invaluable addition.
Although my point was more along the lines of the management doing a little hands on work to keep their skills sharp and lead by example.
Alif » Igor
True. The higher the ladder, the more they use PowerPoint
Many? Sure. But most don't. The % of company blogs where an executive contributes to them is likely below 1%. Nobody is arguing that their thought leadership and experience AREN'T valuable. It's that they have far more important shit to do.
Thompson » Alif
I agree, and I feel that's a problem. A leader with no/outdated hands on skills will be weaker at strategy, hiring, evaluating employee performance, etc. For example, a lack of hands on knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is part of the reason so many companies hire terrible SEO agencies. Their leaders don't know enough to cut through the BS.
Igor is spot on 🙂
Even most posts that shows as written by an exec… isn't…
Larger companies have become large as they have done at least a few things right on terms of management
Andrew » Igor
100%. Now Tesco's in the UK used to spend 1 day a year on the shop floor of one of its stores.
But doing it every week or even more he would have hurt the business in the long run as that's not his job to scan someone shopping

I'm a firm believer in working your way up – or, at least having sampled every single task you manage/delegate.
But, actively doing those tasks on a weekly basis? That sounds crippling.
We are but a small company, but I'm speaking from my own personal experience. I do almost everything at our company, and only in the past few months have stopped directly providing our service. This coincides with our most rapid growth phase in company history.
The longer I stay away from this task, the less relevant my advice will be. Does that mean I should go back and try it again? Perhaps. Or, maybe just keep hiring and delegating people more relevant to that role, and keep working on the skills I should have to execute my role.

"at least having sampled every single task you manage/delegate" Yeh, that's a nice way of putting it. My view is: How can you effectively manage something you've never done and don't know how to do? (It can be done, of course, but I've rarely seen it done well.)
My feeling is that some level of hands on involvement is beneficial, to keep your skills sharp and up to date. 5 year old skills can sometimes be more dangerous than none at all. Eg, hiring new staff based on your old skills.
I agree with that, at least today. Catch me in a year, and I might lose this perspective. That'll be when things get dangerous.
Perhaps this is also about mindset, confidence in your hiring, etc. — does this Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) trust their colleagues to execute well, or are they the micromanager version of Gates mentioned above?
Thompson » Greg
I'd say don't lose that mindset. I've become a stronger believer in it as my team size has grown. I see too many managers making bad strategic decisions because they lack tactical/execution knowledge.
Yeah, something to be said for remaining a "floater" to steal a hospitality industry term.

In a small company they often have to, but in larger companies, as little as possible… This level of thinking is what makes most SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and similar companies stay small…
The best Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), develop people to be better in the different aspects than they are, as long as they are the "expert" they don't generally focus enough on management.
Yes but not everyone is a good writer. You might need someone to listen to their stories and transform them to correct formats whether is blog post, POV, video or info graph


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