The interplay between technology and education will be a major theme in the blog project I've recently embarked upon for one of the world's largest computer makers.
I'm engaged as a ghost blogger for this relatively new topical blog site that shares quality information about technological advances in computer hardware and software to the benefit of K12 education.
My role as a ghost blogger continues to expand–this is the fourth major corporate blog project that I've taken the lead role as a ghost blogger.
The old-fashioned “push” approach to media relations, whereby press releases are distributed via PRNewswire, PRWeb, or some other wire services, worked well under the traditional, old-fashioned media paradigm that is dying a slow but certain death.
The future is something I call Inbound Media Relations that utilizes the brand as publisher model, whereby the blog, as your sole “broadcast” platform, moves the needle in this direction by forcing the media to come to your blog, subscribe to it, or register their email to get breaking news.
“News only happens once,” was something my first boss told me; so, if that’s true, you can’t distribute the news and then place it on the blog and expect that to do the trick. All you’ve accomplished under that scenario is having the blog serve as another outlet for the release, not the source of the release, which is the point of inbound media relations.
I realize this takes some guts!
But, if a company can train the media to follow its blog for company news, that’s a true breakthrough, and the key step toward making Inbound Media Relations work to your advantage. Otherwise, you’re just doing the same old, same old.
In 2010, when Google made a major announcement not by press release but by blog post, we reached what seemed like a milestone….This shift in medium and message represents a new era in corporate communications. News now needs to be conveyed in an empathetic tone and delivered in a user-friendly format.
But does this shift translate to the more staid world of B2B?
There are many compelling reasons why B2Bs–especially those who are now aggressively developing blogs of their own–need to to follow Google’s lead. First, it brings gravitas to the corporate blog itself. The readership of the blog needs to know that breaking news about the company will appear there first, which will incentivize readers, especially those in media who follow the company, to subscribe to the blog’s feed. Second, it presents another opportunity for fresh, high-quality content to appear on the blog, which accrues positively to the blog’s Google ranking. Finally, if this is the era of the brand as publisher (and I think it is), then it follows that the corporate blog should be the medium of distribution for important corporate news.
Since the beginning of 2012, I have received calls from at least a half dozen large B2B technology companies that are in the process of launching blogs. Without exception, they are doing so with the hope of increasing traffic to their corporate Web sites. The B2Bs have seen the wisdom of social networking. And so, we are entering the era of “brand as publisher.” There are many compelling reasons for companies to proceed down this path, but they must do so with caution.
Brand as Publisher
Magazines are well aware of the need for engaging, compelling content, but very few companies have the skills in house to create such content on an ongoing basis. And, even if they do, that talent is busy creating other marketing materials (when not stuck in a series of endless meetings). Even in the face of these facts, I see a lot of companies enlist their staff as blog writers without doing some basic checks to ensure that their people have the skill set or the time to generate quality content.
Protecting the Brand
Company blogs reflect on brand image. Unless you have the right structure, training, and staff time, the effort is destined to go horribly wrong.
The answer is to engage with a ghostblogger who has a journalism background and the editing skills to ensure that the posts are completed in a timely, professional manner. Importantly, however, the person you select must also deeply understand your technology and the trends within your market in order to create content that your customers and prospects will be eager to read.
Do Men and Women Sleep Differently?
This show is one of the best podcasts I’ve recorded for SRI International. After approximately 50 shows, we have hit our stride. It’s a great example of the power of podcasting and corporate journalism. Click the link to listen to the brilliant Fiona Baker.