Saturday, December 30, 2006

Like Construction Tools, Blogging Can be Dangerous to the Unprepared

Much has been written about the benefits of businesses getting into blogging. To some, it seems like a no brainer, like it should be an automatic part of your PR arsenal. If you’re not blogging, you’re among those who don’t “get it.”

Others who frankly are more in touch with the purposes of public relations know that blogging is one tool in a large toolbox. And each tool has its function. Nothing new there. But new tools can be dangerous when you don’t know how to use them. That’s a big reason more companies haven’t entered this arena. They’ve seen just how a mistake can turn into a nightmare.

Before you convince a client or your organization to dive into blogging, do some homework. Do lots of homework. Read blogs. Watch trends. Engage with bloggers. Set goals for specific audiences or stakeholders. Learn from others’ creativity and learn from others’ mistakes.

There is tons of potential in the blogosphere to turn around an issue, a business or even an industry. But faking it won’t work. Ethics aside for a moment, what may have been possible in other media, just isn’t in this one.

Noelle Weaver of Advertising Age has a great post, “What we should learn from Sony’s fake blog fiasco,” that discusses false marketing practices. There are many great resources online and off about how to blog effectively. But Noelle shares four lessons that are deeper than a how-to.

1. “Good advertising doesn’t rely on tricking, lying to or deceiving your target
2. “The consumer is smarter than you think, alternative marketing
tactics must be genuine, authentic and in today’s world, transparent.”
“Today’s interest in brand politics means that everything you do will come under
scrutiny from someone. See number 2.”
4. “Involve your consumer in the brand
conversation, give them the tools to do so and they will repay you four-fold.”

The real homework has nothing to do with the technology. As I’ve said before, for many this is a different kind of strategy.

No comments: