Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Want to respond to breaking news quickly? Consider a blog

In listening to a For Immediate Release podcast(my favourite podcast on social media), I found a very interesting discussion on Hillary Clinton's use of a blog to react quickly to news reports. Hillary's campaign blog responds quickly to public accusations, rumours and media reports (in this instance it was a report about her not having left a tip at a restaurant).

I look at this from my current perspective as a PR consultant and from the vantage point of my former career as a journalist and think it is fascinating. We are always racing to meet the next news-cycle. The question now is, when is the next news-cycle? Is it the next time there is a broadcast or paper, or is it the next time the topic is being discussed on the web?

Now, that half day, or day, typically used to manage a client's response and get it to media is too long. A blog strategy can respond in minutes. By the time media can publish/air the report it can be old news having been all over the Internet the previous afternoon and evening . If they want to still report on the topic, they must add to the information and forward the discussion. Now, either they use part of the blog content with the controlled message or they forget the story and move on. This cannot be achieved by a the traditional media release reaction. Often, by the time the next paper hits the stands public opinion has started to form and that's too late.

The podcast proposed the idea of whether this strategy is a good idea for corporate clients to use when responding to a crisis or ongoing event. My vote is a resounding yes.

A corporate blog used for reaction adds your voice to the discussion. It can show additional transparency (because you are not/should not be hiding the comments of others, negative or positive), and you give media a place to go to find additional information and a source for quick quotes.

Hillary Clinton's campaign uses her blog in exactly this way. She even takes it further putting promotional materials on her site that can be easily forwarded or integrated into other blogs, websites, e-mails... ultimately tapping into people like me, who have little to do with US politics other than monitoring it in the news, to help spread her message. On that note, here is her latest ad.

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