I attended an event recently where I had the pleasure of chatting with a number of executives about social media.
All a-buzz with buzz words
The 'in' term seemed to be "blogging strategies" - "we need a blogging strategy for what we're doing..."
While it wasn't the time or the place for a lecture on not leaping in too quickly, I squirmed inside every time I heard the term, because I knew they meant it in one of two ways:
- We should have a blog for every initiative we do, or
- We should be pitching our initiatives to bloggers.
There's more to social media than blogs
I'm thrilled that these folks, some of whom I already knew and have great respect for, are excited about social media. However, I worry about people launching headlong into ill-advised, poorly thought-out initiatives, getting burned and not coming back for more, just because it's the 'in' thing to do.
Social media is about more than blogging or blogger relations. These are two great tactics, but just as with any other communications project you should take a look at the situation and pick the appropriate tools.
Don't dive in head-first
To compound the problem of narrowly defining social media, rushing into blogging or blogger relations is a bad idea.
Getting into blogging and blogger relations
- Sit back, relax and read. Check out what people are writing about your company, your products and your executives
- Use free tools like Google Blogsearch, BlogPulse and Technorati to track what's going on
- While you're doing this, work out who the influencers are
- If you really want to shine, consider creating a media clippings-like product, summarizing online coverage, and circulate it internally
- Bit by bit, start to comment on posts about your brand. Take it slow to start with - focus on the influencers and expand from there
- Take care in selecting who to respond to and how to respond
- You've done the homework, you know the influencers and you know the key topics. Now you can start to reach out and create your own content.
- If you're getting into blogger relations, check out SHIFT Communications' blogger relations bookmark. Actually, don't just check it out. Print it out and use it as your bible. Also, buy a copy of Geoff Livingston's excellent primer Now Is Gone: A Primer on New Media for Executives and Entrepreneurs.
In reality, I'd recomment additional steps (like considering whether your organization is even ready for this kind of environment), but these three steps are a good start. For more tips on blogger relations, check out Lee Odden's excellent primer and work through the links at the bottom.
Thinking of steps to success, what advice would you give to organizations looking to get into blogging or blogger relations? What are your favourite resources?
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