In a presentation I gave last week, I spoke about the passion that many people feel about their technology choices as a key reason why our technology clients who are not aggressively pursuing a blogging strategy need to tap into this conversation. Of course, passion can be positive or negative and being in the world of public relations, many of our competitors have focused on the risks of blogs. They drive their client advice from a crisis management point of view, developing terms like the "determined detractor" to characterize individuals bent on destroying your company and encouraging clients to get involved in the blogosphere as a strategy to minimize this risk.
Is there risk in the open conversations taking place on blogs? Without doubt. The problem with blogging for crisis management is that it fosters the fear many communications professionals hold of giving up control of their message. As a result, it ignores the most powerful potential of blogs and other forms of consumer generated media … providing a voice for your brand enthusiasts, and letting them speak loudly. In today’s NY Times, Tania Ralli explores the idea brand bloggers – individuals who feel so passionately about a brand that they write about it, share their view and often serve as a brand’s most compelling ambassadors. She writes:
Most consumers are searching for unbiased opinions, a niche that blogs can fill. A testimonial from one blogger can speak directly to readers in a way advertising does not.
As more and more of our clients begin to realize this, communications agencies like us will need to develop stronger and smarter ways of helping each client to understand the value these brand enthusiasts bring, do what we can to help them (transparently) and then step back, shut up and let them have their say.