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Bank Blogging

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A presentation on why banks should blog, which banks are blogging and what the steps are for implementation. February 2009.

A presentation on why banks should blog, which banks are blogging and what the steps are for implementation. February 2009.

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  • 1. Ein Communications is one of the nation’s top boutique public relations firms. We distinguish ourselves by providing clients with services that are thoughtful, proactive and results oriented – an approach that has been the hallmark of our firm since its inception more than 25 years ago. 1221 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite 500 Washington, D.C. 20036 202.775.0200 Bank Blogs Why Blogging in Today’s Environment is a Smart Communications Strategy for Banks By Jeff Ingram, VP of Ein Communications February 2009
  • 2. The Current Environment
    • Every bank is facing increased scrutiny from communities, regulators, depositors, borrowers, investors, media and employees.
    • Many community banks are doing well and have a good story to tell and yet are being painted with a broad banking brush.
    • There is a general sense that all banks lack transparency.
    • Online banking and ATMs have removed much of the personal interaction between banks and their customers.
  • 3. Why Blog?
    • Frequent Updates – promotes greater sense of transparency.
    • Personal Tone – deepens relationships and trust with key stakeholders.
    • Accessibility – allows stakeholders to more easily receive and revisit content.
    • Sharability – enables others to share and champion the bank’s messages more broadly.
  • 4. Why Blog Now?
    • In times of uncertainty, constant communication is critical to preserving trust.
    • Blogging is an established and powerful tool, yet still underutilized in banking and will position blogging banks as a forward-looking organizations with a deep commitment to transparency.
    • Discussions about banks are already occurring on and offline, a blog gives the bank an equal and immediate platform to participate and respond.
  • 5. SEC Regulation FD Issues
    • Many banks are publicly traded and regulated under fair disclosure rules that may limit blog utility
    • The SEC issued new guidance in July 2008 allowing companies to rely solely on their websites to satisfy public disclosure requirements.
      • Details: http://www.irwebreport.com/daily/2008/07/30/sec-oks-websites-and-blogs-for-reg-fd/
      • Legal interpretation for implementation: http://www.whitecase.com/publications_11012008/
    • Blogging content does not necessarily need to cover issues covered under Regulation FD
  • 6. Who is Blogging in Banking? http://futurebanking.bankofamerica.com/ http:// shorebankvoices.swirlspace.net/blog / http:// sierravistabankblog.com / http://www.idahotrust.com/blogs/1/ http:// blog.wellsfargo.com /
  • 7. Blog Implementation Steps
    • Select a blog type/s
    • Identify workflow
    • Soft launch
    • Publicize
    • Engage Online Community
    (Note: I have ignored technical implementation and chosen to focus on content related activities. While there are benefits and drawbacks to certain blog platform options such as Wordpress and Moveable Type, they are largely commoditized today. Development costs in general should be minimal.)
  • 8. Step One: Blog Type Selection
    • Organization Blog: Follows the activities and concerns of the entire organization and is usually authored by several individuals
    • Personality Blog: Follows the activities and concerns of a particular individual that represents the organization.
    • Issue Blog: Focuses on one issue of interest to an organization and is usually authored by one or more experts from the organization.
    • Platform Blog: Aggregates several blogs often targeting specific issues and personalities at the organization
    • Micro-Blog: Made popular by Twitter, these a 140-character messages that update followers about an individual or organization’s activities
  • 9. Step One: Blog Type Selection
    • Organization Blog
    • Examples:
    • Pros: Appeals to widest audience… Can be primary communications vehicle… Spreads authorship duties
    • Cons: Broad content universe may turn niche stakeholders off… Less personal engagement with multiple authors… Expectations high for communication.
    http:// shorebankvoices.swirlspace.net/blog / http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog
  • 10. Step One: Blog Type Selection
    • Personality Blog
    • Examples:
    • Pros: Greater potential for deepening trust, relationship with readers… Higher potential for mainstream media interest.
    • Cons: Active and intense participation by author… Pressure as “voice” of the organization.
    RUNNING A HOSPITAL http:// runningahospital.blogspot.com / http:// sierravistabankblog.com /
  • 11. Step One: Blog Type Selection
    • Issue Blog
    • Example:
    • Pros: Loyal readership from niche stakeholders… Enables emphasis on a core marketing/branding theme… Less oversight required.
    • Cons: Narrow audience… No platform for organizational response to breaking news/concerns… Less interest from mainstream media.
    http://futurebanking.bankofamerica.com/
  • 12. Step One: Blog Type Selection
    • Portal Blog
    • Examples:
    • Pros: Allows readers to narrow in on desired content… can incorporate all other blog types and their benefits.
    • Cons: Very labor intensive… higher development costs.
    http:// blog.wellsfargo.com /
  • 13. Step One: Blog Type Selection
    • Micro-Blogging:
    • Examples:
    • Pros: Similar benefits to the personality blog in terms of building relationships and trust… Much lower time commitment than traditional blogs… very high interest from mainstream media
    • Cons: Public less familiar with the platform… requires frequent updates to be successful… easier to say something regretful.
    http:// twitter.com/BofA_help http:// twitter.com/clairecmc Sen. Claire McCaskill
  • 14. Step Two: Workflow
    • Answer the following questions:
    • Who will generate blog post ideas?
    • Who will author the blog posts?
    • Who will approve blog posts?
    • How will comments be handled?
    • What are the blog post frequency expectations?
  • 15. Step Three: Soft Launch
    • Begin blogging with publicity to employees and other close stakeholders.
    • Gain feedback and tweak as necessary.
    • Get comfortable with workflow and develop a strong, substantive history of posts.
  • 16. Step Four: Publicize
    • Promote to mainstream media contacts and high audience online outlets in the industry/region.
    • Ensure most recent post is an engaging illustration of the blog’s content.
    • Measure success by growth in number of visitors and subscribers.
  • 17. Step Five: Engage
    • Be active in responding to comments – either in the comment section through new blog posts.
    • Respond to posts on other blogs related to the industry and community.
    • Use “trackbacks” to let other blogs know you are referencing their posts.
  • 18. Best Practices for Implementation
    • Approach blogging as if you were having a casual yet informative discussion with a valued customer.
    • Try to integrate into existing workflow (e.g. newsletter writing).
    • Actively promote via all other communications channels.