Blogging is so much more than just an important tool in the overall public relations counselor’s arsenal. Rather, it represents that rare opportunity in which we can not only provide counsel, but “live the experience” as well.
It was that intention to live the experience that first drove me to launch my own blog, Repman, two years ago. As is the case with any client I counsel, I was intent on first discovering what the “competition” was doing, what I could uniquely own and, critically, what fresh content I could generate to reinforce my desired positioning and point of view (POV).
The blog’s name, Repman, was a winner in terms of being a double entendre. It served as both an abbreviation for my subject area, reputation management, as well as becoming a “nickname” for me personally. I stayed laser-focused on my blogs. Each and every one dealt with image or reputation. Each and every one provided my POV on the good, the bad and the ugly. And, each and every one reflected my personality: edgy, irreverent, hopeful, and insightful.
I made sure to follow the blogging rules I’d preached to clients, including:
- Posting fresh content every day.
- Being transparent about any former, current or prospective clients being mentioned in the blog.
- Responding in a timely manner to individuals who posted comments — pro, con or indifferent — about my blog.
- Generating as much original material as possible. (As opposed to commenting on breaking news stories, which seems to be the typical modus operandi.)
- Linking to other blog sites I found particularly fresh or relevant.
- Making sure that the blog represented my views and not my firm’s.
I’ve learned a tremendous amount of firsthand information over the past two years of blogging. Some has been instructive and some, frankly, has been painful. But based upon my frontline experiences in the Web 2.0 world, I’m much better equipped to counsel clients on when and how to launch their own blog. Nothing provides more credibility than walking the walk. So, roll up your sleeves, come up with a few ideas to get started, and launch your blog. You’ll love it (and your clients will benefit from your firsthand perspective).
By Steve Cody, managing partner and co-founder, Peppercom, is responsible for overall agency direction and management, new business development, new product development and agency marketing. He has been named a finalist for Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year,” and is a frequent guest lecturer at the Association of Management Consulting Firms, the American Marketing Association, the PRSA Counselors Academy, Ragan Communication Seminars and other leading industry events. Steve has appeared on CNBC and APRadio, and has been featured/profiled in publications ranging from Investor’s Business Daily and The Asbury Park Press to BtoB Marketing and PR Week.
Join Cody for his roundtable, Creating and Maintaining a Blog, at the PRSA Counselors Academy 2008 Spring Conference, Survival of the Fleetest: Anticipate. Adapt. Act., in Naples, Florida, Sunday, May 18 – Tuesday, May 20, 2008!
It’s amazing to me how many firms have not yet engaged in the blogosphere. There are those of us in PR who got this a long time ago and have moved to the next level of using social networking sites and Twitter to develop relationships with media, clients and prospect. How do firms and practitioners who have not yet begun to blog, much less get a handle on all other forms of social media, expect to ever get caught up?
It’s a good question, I appreciate the comment. There is a natural evolution of going from blogging to using twitter, de.licio.us tags, podcasts, etc and then of course using the appropriate analytics out there for feedback on your 2.0 tooling. Overall its important to use the tools that makes sense for your business needs and not just doing digital for digital sake.
At Peppercom’s digital blog: http://www.pepperdigital.typepad.com we talk about this and the need to have smart and transparent conversations with clients, partners and internally with colleagues. To your question though; I think digital conferences and PR industry webinars are a great source of learning about digital and its many relevant business applications.
However, the important first step — in my opinion — is selling the ROI of digital to the c-suite first.
Hope this helps. Many thanks