Last time, I discussed the need for brands to develop a holistic selling proposition (HSP) to connect with the consumer and become part of that individual’s minute-by-minute experience of everyday life. One way to do this is through blogs. Here’s how to prepare your company, whatever its size, for this branding future.
Tackle blogs with 100 percent commitment, or not at all. To build the necessary infrastructure and enact the structural, systemic, and communication changes, you must take on blogs as a communication vehicle wholeheartedly. Less effort will immediately be visible to your audience.
Blogs are all about authenticity and honesty. You can’t convince by imitating an opinion, aping behavior, or adopting a style too far removed from your company’s personality. If, however, you manage to set up the supporting infrastructure and regularly publish an authentic blog, you may open a gold mine of respect among customers and observers.
These guidelines can help you make it happen:
- Blogs are fast. Often, you have only limited time to get the best blogs out. There’s a limit to the number and type of challenges you can predict and prepare for. Blogs promote discussion. Debate can ignite a wildfire of both positive and negative response. That’s the beauty of blogs. They’re impossible to predict, even more difficult to prepare for. Try to set a few guidelines of to help you prepare as much as possible.
First, identify and appoint a blogging agent and define her authority. Give her as much editorial freedom as you can. Arm your blogger with criteria regarding which topics can and cannot be discussed. Give her the authority to run the dialogue. Be aware blogs’ nature embraces the power to provoke, so at some stage you might find yourself facing some interesting conflicts. If you’re not prepared to run the gauntlet of risk, leave blogging alone.
- Blogs are about opinions. Strong opinions tend to catch the public’s attention. Politically correct, bland messages fade into the background. If you want to generate attention and earn respect among your customers and the press, go to the edge of your comfort zone. Don’t play a safe game. If you can’t balance on that edge, stick with press releases and leave the blog alone.
- Blogs require flexibility and speed. The faster you react, the better. If you’re able to turn your blogs around in hours rather than days, there’s a good chance you’ll hit nerves (some raw) among customers. News is only hot for a brief while. Delay of any kind due to too much revision, hesitation, or prevarication (all signals of less-than-100 percent commitment) introduce complications. The message is weakened, the train of thought is lost, and a hot blog opportunity goes cold. If you can’t be fast, unflinching, and fearless, leave the blog alone.
Perhaps I’ve turned you off to the very thought of blogs. That’s good — it could save enormous effort and financial loss. If you feel timorous about any of the above guidelines, leave blogs alone. But if your company is prepared to take the chance, rewards could be outstanding.
Blogging is a fast-growing phenomenon. Some 40,000 new ones appear every day. The attention span they attract is short and the purview they offer shortsighted. However, if you’re prepared to invest freedom and authority in a perceptive, razor-sharp blogger; if your brand embraces a sense of certainty and opinion in its personality and core values; if your organization can respond unhesitatingly to issues with freedom, flexibility, and speed, this could be your moment.
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