Monday, October 6, 2008

Blogs or 'Blah'gs? (Blog 3)

This week in class we discussed the importance of not only monitoring but also publishing blogs for our organization. I find this topic to be extremely fascinating for several reasons; mainly, because I graduated with a Bachelors in Public Relations in May of 2007. Yet in all of my PR courses not once did we discuss the importance of blogging. In fact, online PR itself was rarely covered. I don't attribute this to a lack of experience or planning on behalf of our professors, rather it is because at that time - online PR and blogs just weren't prevelant yet. So in less than two years, what I learned in my PR undergrad has changed drastically. This is a testament to the changing world of public relations - especially online social media. As our professor has been saying all semester, as soon as we learn these types of social media there will be completely new ones for us to master as well. However, this doesn't diminish the fact that blogs are extremely important to an organization's image and relationship with their pubic(s).

Blogs are a powerful tool for online PR; a tool which can either greatly enhance an organization if done correctly, or greatly hinder it if done incorrectly. Monitoring what an organization's public(s) are saying about them, their product, or even their employees is prudent in reactive PR. A practitioner must constantly monitor blogs as a means of not only evaluating current views of their organization, but also as a way of opening up indirect communication in response. This is an important facet of online PR. Not only is monitoring what these blogs say critical, but posting and giving feedback is as well. Ethically, a PR practitioner must remember to say that they represent or at least belong to the organization. This increases both the credibility of the practitioner as well as the image of the organization.

Blogs are also a tool for proactive PR. We looked at numerous blogs by PR professionals who post information about their companies, about products and services, or even about themselves that seem very effective. Posting blogs with new information is a great way for an organization to be able to control and shape messages to their public(s) about their organizations, but also makes it easier to monitor responses and provide feedback.

Blogs, however, are considered expensive, time consuming, and potentially harmful by some. It takes dedication and time for a PR practitioner to constantly post, update, and monitor blogs across the Internet. There are different tools that have been developed to help aid in this cause, but despite them it is still a full-time job. This means that an organization would need a PR professional dedicated directly for this purpose, which could become expensive. Having a single employee in your organization in charge of all the PR means that if they spend a lot of time with blogs then other areas will lack, or vice versa and the proper time won't be spent on blogs and other forms of online social media.

Then again, whoever said that building and maintaining a positive image of an organization would be cheap?

3 comments:

JRi said...

OMG SO AWESOME.

Susan333 said...

James,

You do have an awesome blog!

Susan

Ericka said...

You bring up some good points. You're right, wow the PR world is changing quickly, like someone said the other night in class, web 3.0 ?! I just learned about 2.0 !

And about blogs you're right, it would be an investment for a company to hire someone who could monitor blogs and maintain a blog... there would be a lot at stake if feedback with monitoring blogs wasn't done well, and of course a lot at stake in writing a blog that would represent the company well.

How ever exciting is the world of PR- ever changing, and ever so full of pressure !