Blogging. You’ve heard the term. You maybe know a little bit about it. What’s the deal. And more importantly – how is this relevant to the realm of PR / Professional Business?
Blogging (short for web-logging) is the idea of posting stories, articles, or other news about a specific topic relating to an individual or organization. In other words – it’s the online version of a journal. People start blogs to write about random things varying from personal hobbies to their vacations to whatever-else-makes them tick. Blogging became popular in the late 90’s and has been adapted to a myriad of uses.
The professional side of blogging has appeared in many instances. Everything from news reporting to corporate news-letters has been available on blogs. However, sometimes other organizations adopt the format to convey a larger variety of messages and services. For example, Wired provides an entire section of their website dedicated to blogs (available at http://blog.wired.com/). This allows them to reach a multitude of audiences and provide continuous updates and feedback of material.
Some other notable features of blogging include the use of comments and blog rolls. Comments allow readers to post feedback on the stories – which allows for continuous feedback for the author of the stories. Blog rolls allow the readers to see what other blog sites that the author pays attention to or considers. The idea of blog-rolling allows for a huge amount of networking to occur based on similar interests. Furthermore, blog rolling can potentially reduce the redundancy of information by eliminating replication of information. Previously, it may have been seen as productive to regurgitate or reword work on a new platform – but by simply providing the links to the masses – you can avoid replication and go straight to discussing new ideas.
Okay! So we got that covered. Now, how the heck is this relevant to the business world? Blogging is relevant because it allows a running index of updates and news to your audiences. By providing a single location for information, your audiences can track information that you publish. Say you’re Nickelodeon and you’re running a promotion involving a national tour. Next, let’s say you post continuous information and updates about the tour on your blog (including the use of pictures, video, and text). This allows your audiences to continuously monitor the progress of your promotion. Furthermore, it allows for the delivered message to come in a media-rich environment which may better communicate your goals (assuming you’re running a promotion).
Let’s take this same example and apply the other benefits to blogging. For example, let’s examine the use of comments. By allowing comments on your blog you (the author) can continuously monitor the perceptions of your promotion. Do people hate it? Do they love it? Do they even care? If so- why? By monitoring these perceptions, you can (nearly instantaneously) change the direction of the promotion to be more consistent with your audience (also the idea of symmetrical communications applies here). Even the lack of comments on a blog can communicate a huge amount of information: do they know, do they care, or are they just unmotivated?
Next, let’s examine the idea of a blog roll and the relevance to PR / pro business. Blog rolling can easily show your audiences the blogs that you’re interested in. This alone allows for your audience to build a strong perception of you. For example, let’s still assume your Nickelodeon; as Nickelodeon, it may be wise to blog other kid-friendly sources such as PBS or educational organizations. By doing this, you may further affirm your audiences’ perception of how genuine your organization is. Bottom line – nearly everything in and on your blog conveys a message about your organization. Huzzah!