PR in the Age of Blogging


Published on

Presentation to the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America delivered on February 6, 2008.

Published in: Business, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

PR in the Age of Blogging

  1. 1. Protecting Reputations in the Age of Blogs For PRSA Houston Presented February 2008
  2. 2. As the youngest of three brothers… <ul><li>Used to being blamed for all bad things </li></ul><ul><li>Survival required quick decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Realized early that in times of trouble, either I communicated or was beat up </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>In late 2006, where blogs fit into PR was still not well understood </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Backstory: NOKA Chocolate <ul><li>Tiny start-up </li></ul><ul><li>New concept of luxury chocolate </li></ul><ul><li>Sent shock waves through industry </li></ul>
  5. 5. Not your typical chocolates
  6. 6. Emphasis on purity and experience
  7. 7. The Backstory: The Blogger <ul><li>Food critic blogger </li></ul><ul><li>Skeptical of company’s value proposition </li></ul><ul><li>First posted critique in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Spent many months researching </li></ul>
  8. 8. Who reads blogs, anyway? <ul><li>Contacted business to seek e-mail interview </li></ul><ul><li>Followed up with 20 questions </li></ul><ul><li>Company did not respond </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger followed up Oct. 21, Nov. 13 and Nov. 29 </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Please stand by for this important message </li></ul>
  11. 11. Americans who have a blog <ul><li>8% </li></ul>Source: Synovate marketing research,
  12. 12. Americans who read a blog daily <ul><li>15% </li></ul>Source: Synovate marketing research,
  13. 13. Americans who read a blog monthly <ul><li>28% </li></ul>Source: Synovate marketing research,
  14. 14. Americans who read a blog less than once per month <ul><li>39% </li></ul>Source: Synovate marketing research,
  15. 15. Journalists who check a blog list regularly <ul><li>69% </li></ul>Source: Brodeur, 1/8/08
  16. 16. Journalists who read blogs at least two to three times per week <ul><li>57% </li></ul>Source: Brodeur, 1/8/08
  17. 17. Journalists who spend more than one hour per day reading blogs <ul><li>21% </li></ul>Source: Brodeur, 1/8/08
  18. 18. Journalists: blogs have a significant impact on editorial direction <ul><li>51% </li></ul>Source: Brodeur, 1/8/08
  19. 19. We now rejoin your presentation already in progress
  21. 21. “A Cautionary Tale” – Dallas Morning News <ul><li>In mid-December, the blogger began posting what ultimately was a 10-part series </li></ul><ul><li>Blogger proactively posted links to story on relevant forums </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Because of the unusually exhaustive nature of the investigation, word spread organically </li></ul><ul><li>Picked up by BoingBoing, Slashdot, Digg and other influential sites </li></ul>“ A Cautionary Tale” – Dallas Morning News
  23. 24. BoingBoing, Slashdot and Digg <ul><li>Major role in driving blog content </li></ul><ul><li>Feature user-submitted links to interesting blog posts </li></ul><ul><li>BoingBoing and Slashdog feature editor evaluated sites with summaries </li></ul><ul><li>The AP for bloggers and Web surfers </li></ul>
  24. 25. BoingBoing, Slashdot and Digg <ul><li>If you hope to get attention, proactively submit your link </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re hoping something just fades away or doesn’t get noticed, you don’t want to see any of these pick up the story </li></ul>
  25. 26. I think we have a problem <ul><li>In the days that followed, hundreds of blogs posted stories about the series </li></ul><ul><li>More than 2,000 Web sites linked to the series </li></ul><ul><li>That’s when we got involved </li></ul>
  26. 27. School of Hard Knocks <ul><li>Before even being engaged, we tripped </li></ul><ul><li>Posted personal opinions to other blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Others questioned independence, fueling speculation of “flogging” </li></ul>
  27. 28. Disclosure is HUGE Issue Online <ul><li>I had no interest when comments were posted </li></ul><ul><li>Later involvement complicated things </li></ul><ul><li>Bloggers jumped on it </li></ul>
  28. 29. <ul><li>“ DPK Public Relations: Caught With Its Hand in the Chocolate Jar?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Oh this is beautiful; small business PR dilemma at its best.” </li></ul>
  29. 30. Sought Expert Counsel <ul><li>Needed to distance client from questions about our actions </li></ul><ul><li>Opened online discussion about ethics of posting comments </li></ul>
  30. 31. Flying Aqua Badger Wrote… <ul><li>“ What is Dan supposed to do to tidy up? Go to all those blogs again and post a subsequent comment saying “at the time of posting my original comment I was not representing NOKA but now I am. This is just to present you with the facts.”?” </li></ul>
  31. 32. That’s Exactly What I Did “ As I write this comment I am engaged as a PR person representing NOKA. The original comments were written prior to that and reflected my personal opinion. However, facts are facts and that makes it worthy of an update.”
  32. 33. Step One Accomplished <ul><li>Channeled all discussion about our actions to our Web site </li></ul><ul><li>Succeeded in distancing the client </li></ul><ul><li>That distraction was over </li></ul>
  33. 34. Client PR Plan Objectives <ul><li>To protect and enhance the brand’s reputation </li></ul><ul><li>To capitalize on exposure to build positive awareness of brand </li></ul><ul><li>To drive demand for products </li></ul>
  34. 35. Client PR Strategies <ul><li>Embrace the key aspect of blogger’s critique and make it “ours” </li></ul><ul><li>Be more open than ever </li></ul><ul><li>Quickly respond to all opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Proactively get other positive messages out </li></ul>
  35. 36. Blogs mentioning company BoingBoing Issued Statement
  36. 37. Step Two Accomplished <ul><li>Once our message was out and discussed, the pressure subsided </li></ul><ul><li>We aggressively worked to tell the positive story with a series of news releases </li></ul>
  37. 38. Step Two Accomplished <ul><li>Positive stories were placed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USA Today </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inc. Magazine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fort Worth Star-Telegram </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dallas Morning News </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>INDULGE </li></ul></ul>
  38. 39. So Why Do Blogs Matter? <ul><li>General media watch blogs as early indicators of trends </li></ul><ul><li>The “echo effect” </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs can claim valuable search engine real estate </li></ul><ul><li>Online content can have a long lifespan </li></ul>
  39. 40. Step Three Begins <ul><li>The Dallas Morning News began its own investigation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Welcomed reporter and videographer for all-access half-day emersion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Succeeded in turning the story around </li></ul></ul>
  40. 41. Dallas Morning News <ul><li>“ It’s a cautionary tale…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Some blogging and journalism experts say the controversy demonstrates the impact an online report can have on a company’s reputation…” </li></ul>
  41. 42. DMN Begat the New York Times <ul><li>“If you are still seeking the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, have you considered NOKA?” </li></ul><ul><li>…(the owners) took umbrage at the attack.” </li></ul>
  42. 43. NYT Begat Channel 8 <ul><li>“Pure ingredients and the amount of labor make it expensive.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Even the slightest scratch, crack or dent means the particular piece…won’t get past the inspector…” </li></ul>
  43. 44. Step Three Success <ul><li>Record breaking Valentine’s Day </li></ul><ul><li>International expansion unscathed </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on price attracted luxury buyers </li></ul>
  44. 45. Blogs Deserve Attention <ul><li>Often driven by passionate enthusiasts </li></ul><ul><li>Be considerate and responsive to requests </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivate relationships, but be careful </li></ul><ul><li>Conspiracy theories, rumors and speculation common </li></ul>
  45. 46. Lessons to Apply <ul><li>Set up Google Alert for name of company, product or executive </li></ul><ul><li>Search at least every couple weeks for chatter </li></ul><ul><li>Always disclose any relevant client relationship online </li></ul>
  46. 47. <ul><li>Download this presentation </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Also, credit for the Blog Song: Wilbur Sargunaraj </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>DPK Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>832-467-2904 </li></ul><ul><li>214-432-7556 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  47. 48. Protecting Reputations in the Age of Blogs For PRSA Houston Presented February 2008