Aarti Kadam, Nucleus PR
|Aarti Kadam, Nucleus PR
With the emergence of social media the way we get our news today is constantly changing. Today, the source of generating news is divided into traditional media and social media. Albeit, traditional media is still being considered as the major source for news updates, but more and more number of people are choosing to keep themselves updated via social media. It is fast evolving as the preferred vehicle for news consumption so much so that almost all of us first browse through Facebook or Twitter on our phones even before we get into work or school.
With the spate of branded pages /handles now on Facebook and Twitter blogs are gaining popularity. Though blogging has been a phenomenon since 1990’s, but its only in the past five years that it has grown exponentially cutting across industries and markets. So what does this mean for a PR professional? To me it signifies a certain shift in the news consumption habits of the target audiences that companies want to reach out to. Being in the business of communication, PR professionals need to observe, understand and master this phenomenon quickly if they want to stay ahead of the game. Many PR professionals are now being asked to start and maintain an official blog for clients. End of the day it is still a communication medium for brands and it falls under the purview of the media brand custodian.
So, how can you leverage blogs to garner more visibility for your client? How do you maintain an official blog?
ñ First and foremost your blog should represent your client and should be relevant to your clients’ target audience. Relevance is the key factor in any form of news be it traditional media or social media.
ñ Content is key. The topics chosen to be written about should be of relevance to the target audience and also showcase some aspect of your client. Make the treatment of the blog post interesting with engaging images and headlines.
ñ Before you get down to managing your client’s blog make sure you know everything that is to know and understand about the company.
ñ If you are unsure about answering a query you should first check. One wrong response could do a lot of damage to your reputation.
ñ Address queries and comments on your blog…especially if it is unpleasant. Don’t just leave it there and hope it will disappear. Infact it can turn into an opportunity for you to showcase your problem solving abilities and turn the situation around in your favour.
ñ Time is of the essence. A person who posts a query / comment on your blog will not wait for you for 48 hours to come back to him/her with a response. You are dealing with an impatient generation. You got their attention with your content but you have to work doubly hard and quick to keep their attention.
ñ Be Original! No one likes a copycat. If you do not have anything original to say or provide a unique or new perspective then don’t say it at all.
ñ Each blog piece should contain the right keywords in your content’ as it will help in generating huge amount of traffic to your website.
ñ A Blog is the best medium to drive your target audience to your company website. Each blog piece of your blog should have relevant key words which will drive traffic to your website
ñ The blog should be alive and engaging. Encourage two way communication with your target audience. This will help you understand your consumer. You can do this by solving your consumers query if they have any; which will help to create a bond. They will recognize you as the ‘voice of the industry’ or as an ‘expert’ or ‘effective’.
ñ Customize your message to the question asked on the blog. Don’t give a generic answer for all queries. It will help you connect better on an individual level with your audience.
ñ Different styles of writing blogs appeals to different people. If you have a wide section of target audience that you want to reach out to then customize your posts in the same manner. A segment of the posts can be text heavy while others can have graphs and some posts can be pictorial.
ñ The blog should always reflect the conversational tone of discussions, be it replying to your reader’ comment, running a successful contest or ‘Call To Action’. This will help in gaining popularity among the readers and generate interests accordingly.
ñ Decide on the duration of your each blog post. There shouldn’t be large time gaps between your blog pieces. And if you’re traveling or out of town and cannot blog, then inform your readers accordingly.
Blogs are something which pays off in long run, unlike other social media sites. It might not show immediate results but any good relationship takes time to build. Blogs help you develop a long term relationship with your consumers. Remember the golden rules of blogging: Be Original! Relate! Engage!