Saturday, October 4, 2008

Using Blogs in PR

This week, we were asked to blog about how blogs are used from a PR perspective. Honestly, until this class, I never really thought much about using blogs for personal or professional reasons. I guess I just assumed that blogs were kind of like zanga, mostly just for people to keep a public diary of their lives. That certainly did not appeal to me, because I want my secrets to stay secret! :) However, in just the few short class periods we have had, my eyes have opened up to how pertinent blogs can be in the public relations profession.

Before I began to work as a Marketing and PR Assistant at The Great Game of Business, the organization had started Web site (separate from their main page) that included a resource library and message board-type forum. The site was started before blogs became mainstream, and at the time was a cutting-edge example of what blogs have evolved into. However, the problem is that the experts at my organization became too busy to keep up with the message board. I would love to start a new blog about our organization, but I cannot get buy-in from the people who would need to be contributors. I really think that for an organization to have a blog really shows commitment to their customers. To me, a blog is kind of like giving away free information and advice, which is a great value-add for your client. If anyone has suggestions on how to get buy-in, please let me know! I think this would be a great tool for our organization, but others just don't see the importance like I do. I think it may be both a generational and lack of time problem.

Although I can't get going on an organizational blog, my current job has certainly benefited from me being in this class. Since learning about the importance of blogs, I have taken those things we are talking about and implementing them at work. One of the first things I did was sign up for google alerts. I have google alerts on all of our organization's keywords. Due to this, any time someone blogs about any of our keywords, I am sent an e-mail that alerts me. I am able to click on a link to their blog and read what they wrote. This is important to the public relations of our organization because it allows me to monitor what people are saying about us. Or, if they aren't saying anything directly about us, but still saying something indirectly about us (i.e. not mentioning The Great Game of Business, but mentioning open-book management) I am able to reply to their message and try to get the blogger to contact us or get an expert on the subject, such as my boss, to lend advice. (It is important to note that whomever responds from my organization always mentions that they are employed at The Great Game of Business, so as to practice ethical public relations.) This helps to build a relationship between the blogger and our organization. It is also a great way to get publicity to readers of the blog who may have no idea what our organization is about.

Another way that blogs can be used from a public relations perspective is to set up google alerts for an organization's competitors. I have not had the chance to do this yet for my organization, but is definitely on my to-do list. Even if a blogger isn't talking about my organization, but instead writing about a competitor, I am gaining useful information by learning who is talking about our industry. By finding out what others are saying about my competitors, I am able to step in and offer advice. I am able to fill the holes that the competitor has left open. Likewise, if someone is unhappy with the service they received from a competitor, I am able to encourage the writer to try our services. I will know what upset them about the competitor, and actively work to make sure that those issues do not arise within my organization.

3 comments:

Jameser said...

Keshia,

I think the fact that you are using what you have learned in class as actual application in your current job is amazing. I'm sure your boss(es) must be impressed! I also think it is very important, like you pointed out in your blog, that if you post in response to a blog you should say that you represent - or at the very least are a member of that organization. That does help maintain ethical boundaries that is so important to PR practitioners.

-James

maggie said...

Keisha,
Very impressive and interesting, I second James' opinion about maintaining ethical boundaries and also about applying it at The Great Game of Business. I hope you recieve kudos from your boss!

AmandaK said...

I think it's great that you are applying your knowledge from class into your work expereince. Your employer will surely value your "hip" and savvy techniques! Hopefully, this initiative will gain the attention you need to get someone at your company blogging!