Businesses continue to tread carefully in the emerging global conversation known as the blogosphere. Ask public relations professionals why their companies aren’t more aggressive about blogging and chances are they will cite concerns about liability, negativity and losing control of the message.
- Influence policy: General Motors, Google and the National Association of Manufacturers are three organizations that use blogs to state their positions on public and commercial policy issues and to influence regulators. Choose knowledgeable and articulate writers and make sure they’re clear on the company line — then start writing.
- Reinforce an image: Southwest Airlines’ frothy, fun Nuts about Southwest blog meshes perfectly with the airline’s carefully cultivated image as the friendly carrier. The authors are employees, not executives, and their enthusiasm for their work shines through.
Support customers: Intuit, Microsoft, Dell and many other high-tech companies let customers connect with employees to solve problems and brainstorm new products. It’s surprising more mainstream businesses don’t adopt this model.
- Give advice: Kodak, Extended Stay Hotels and Owens Corning are examples of companies that build customer loyalty by offering advice about topics they know interest their customers. It’s a low-key sell, but a great engagement tactic.
- Educate: English Cut tells you why it’s not outrageous to pay $4,000 for a custom-made suit, while The Tinbasher teaches the finer points of sheet metal artistry. Both companies have more than doubled business since going online.
In short, a blog is a great way to reach customers and prospects with a message that stresses enthusiasm, commitment and market expertise. Ask yourself again why you’re not participating.
Join Gillin for his teleseminar the “Secrets of Social Media Marketing: Set Strategies, Choose Tools and Build Customer Affinity” on Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 3–4 p.m. EST.