Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brief Remarks on Business Blogging

Geoff Livingston’s Remarks on November 9, 2006 to the CXO Forum on Business Blogging

Traditionally, generating buzz has been a function of public relations. The value of public relations is its ability to generate credibility for a corporation’s brand through third party vehicles (i.e. press, films, speaking engagements and now
blogs). The dot com crash and the advent of new web 2.0 technologies is revolutionizing media and marketing, affecting every part of these disciplines.

Consumers and buyers no longer trust the newspaper/magazines/media in full. The truth of the matter is that people are savvy to news reporting and its strengths and weaknesses. That's why independent verification of product usage through third party users is an increasing must. And blogs are filling that void. That’s why most businesses want a piece of the blogosphere.

A blog strategy can do great wonders for a company. Examples include FortiusOne, Google, GM’s Fastlane. Blogs may not work for all businesses. The key is whether the blog serves as a mundane propaganda mechanism, or if it has real value and experience for its readership. GM’s Fastlane works because it’s all about building hot cars and auto technology, and experiencing these innovations.

Here’s a tongue in cheek Five Musts of Generating Buzz, which directly apply to creating valuable blogs.

1. Companies must Get Out of Themselves and pay attention to their target audience’s interests to succeed.
2. Companies must build value for these target audiences and disseminate the information in ways that are viral.
3. The value that companies build needs to be related to their product: Starbucks = coffee, but buzz = relaxing, hip ambience while you have coffee.
4. Companies must inspire their target audiences to believe in the company, to talk about the company, to serve as its advocates.
5. Companies must commit to regular, consistent communications. A flash in the pan does nothing to help the company long term.

If your company starts to wrack up negative blog posts, hire a professional. Engaging with negative bloggers is dangerous thing, and requires crisis communications skills. Act quickly, too, and make sure you have your factual version of the story posted on your site in a press statement.

Most importantly, no matter your take on the situation be 100% honest and factual. There’s no recovery from being caught in an untruth.


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