PR crises loom for firms that fail to 'respect' bloggers
NEW YORK - Marketing, advertising and PR professionals are being urged to forge closer links with the growing blog community to avoid crisis communications disasters, according to the latest study on the blogging phenomenon.
The study, by global PR agency Edelman and market research firm and blog portal provider Intelliseek, says firms that become aggressive towards bloggers or attempt to ignore their comments are facing a losing battle.
Instead the report, called 'Trust MEDia... How Real People are Finally Being Heard', urges firms "to respond quickly, with the facts and with respect" to unfavourable comments made on blogs. Above all, firms should never lie because "those in the 'blogosphere' will find out and humiliate you".
Key blunders by firms include making unfounded criticism against bloggers, pretending to be someone you are not and paying people to write kind things about your firm.
When approaching bloggers to attempt to get publicity, correspondence must be: short; snappy; relevant; fit the tone of the site; and never an obvious advertisement. Useful information such as website links and offers to answer questions are also popular among bloggers.
One of the worst examples of an attempt to engage with bloggers, highlighted in the study, was a move by Mazda last year to gain publicity via blogging for its Mazda 3. Blogs, purportedly from anonymous bloggers, were found to be sponsored by advertisers working for Mazda.
Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer at Intelliseek, said: "Mazda totally ignored the importance of transparency. Corporate blogs are OK, but they must be labelled and identified as such.
"Bloggers are savvy, inherently sceptical, defensive of their medium and able to sniff out imposters quickly."
The study also lists some of the most influential and best read bloggers by sector, with consumer sites the most visited.
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