The changing nature of media relations is challenging PR specialists. New tools and techniques of achieving PR objectives are emerging and brand managers, PR agencies are experiencing some of the greatest disruptions and realignments in the way it is practiced. Conversations are going on online and new categories of influencers are emerging – Bloggers and Community Managers. While community managers manage online communities (e.g. nairaland, naijabestforum e.t.c.), Bloggers are becoming more relevant in the marketing and communication strategies of some companies. Some brands have already started engaging these category of individuals. Unlike traditional media, newspapers, television and radio, blogs are becoming relevant because they have a unique way of initiating conversations and gaining influence. Notable is the use of bloggers in the launch of Nokia C3, where bloggers were used to generate hype for the product launch. Since then, more brands have joined the train in engaging bloggers and organizing blogger forums; Microsoft, Amstel Malta, Samsung, MTN, Mouka Foam – bloggers and influencers are becoming the new brides of consumer engagement.
How can your business leverage on bloggers?
1. Appoint corporate bloggers for events and programmes
Especially for programmes with episodes and reality shows, bloggers have been engaged to post and chronicle events on blogs created by the organisers. Imagine having a chance to comment on blogs of every post of Glo Naija Sings, MTN Project fame, Etisalat’s Nigerian Idol or Zain’s African Challenge. Getting a conversation started about your programme or event will sustain interests and keep those who missed out on the programme up to date. It is also the only opportunity your audience has to communicate their excitement, disagreement and misgivings – don’t worry comments can be moderated, but don’t get caught on the wrong side of your audience. Corporate bloggers can be in two ways; blogging on the company’s website or leveraging on a bloggers audience to deliver value to your audience
2. Bloggers can review products/services.
Nokia has led the pack in this regard. Bloggers are not like newspapers, they will connect with your audience in greater ways by offering their personal views and opinions about your product/service. Be careful to ensure your product delivers on its brand promise; your blogger and their audience won’t be merciful on you. Those moments you will be happy newspapers don’t allow direct feedback. Bloggers can also interview the product manager/brand manager/ CEO; they can raise competitions about the knowledge of your product/services. Anything that will generate interest and conversations about your product/service will work wonders.
3. Blogger mentions a brand
These have gained professionalism levels in traditional media, media hypes and product diplay during TV programmes, bloggers can also mention the use of brands to score great points. “Spent a lot of days in traffic but thanks to my Xyz phone I didn’t miss yesterday’s game” – bloggers can flaunt their sentiments especially if you are able to win them over. While I think most organisations have not explored this in detail, I think I will score great public relations mileage.
4. Bloggers can stake a position
On issues that may border on corporate governance, public reactions crisis and politics, bloggers can be engaged to promote the position of an organization or group. They can be invited for press conferences and are therefore able to push the positions of an organization or group. While most forums can ride on the crisis (breaking news), blogs have the strength and credibility of the bloggers to rely on. During crisis especially involving online attacks on brands, bloggers can also be engaged to reposition a brand or product.
Not every Public Relations firm and business has woken up to this common reality, brand managers are guessing at the influencers are have begun to score PR points. Ultimately there might be a battle between journalists, traditional PR and bloggers like in most countries. Somehow I find myself within the three categories. Things are getting exciting
Which other ways can businesses leverage on bloggers?