Monday, May 26, 2008

While getting our name in the paper is always exciting it is no longer adequate in establishing ourselves as experts.  While you may be focusing on securing media about you and your company, your competitors are most likely focusing on an on-line strategy to establish themselves as experts. An effective strategic communications campaign must include traditional media (such as newspapers, magazines, television and radio) and an on-line presence. An easy way to build credibility on-line is to establish relationships with influential bloggers.  But bloggers like journalists, do not want "public relations" professionals to send them press releases.  Like business today, it all about "relationships." As a result, to effectively build relationships with bloggers, it is important to have the following strategic plan (or some variation): (1) Identify the influential bloggers in your industry -- Visit various websites, review various blog rolls and look at the more traditional media to learn which reporters also have blogs and which are the most respected and visited. (2) Go where the bloggers are -- Attend trade shows or review their blogs to see where they are going.  For a list of vents, look into (3) Read the blogs of the people you want to cover you. Let them know you are reading their blog by sending them a timely note about an issue they just blogged about. Include a link to your website or your blog.  Also add public comments to posts on their blog. Bloggers like anything that will help increase their rankings and readership.  Remember, we all have an agenda. (4) Send bloggers interesting stories especially about other people.  Direct them to news items or send them links to new blogs and videos. (5) Start blogging -- This is your opportunity to share your story the way you want it and for other people, including bloggers, to learn about you.  (6) Build links -- In order to get the most traction on-line, look to establish links to other bloggers and websites, boost your websites search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine advertising (SEA), list your company in various on-line directors, and look become an on-line expert on sites such as "" And if you have a book or host events, send bloggers a copy of your book and invites to your events.  Then, when you need something from a blogger, such as announcing a new product, they will be more apt to listen to you since you already have an on-line presence and have reached out to them with useful information. 

Obama -- Creating & becoming your brand

Despite running for President, Barack Obama has created a unique brand that has changed the political landscape.  According to Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide, "Barak Obama is three things you want in a brand: (1) new, (2) different and (3) attractive." And Obama has spread his brand on a new medium that many of us are still trying to figure out -- New media and online social networks. Any forward-thinking business should take note of Obama's rise, despite what you may or may not think of him. According to the April 2008 issue of Fast Company, social networking poses challenges for marketers no matter what or whom they are selling.  Companies must cede a certain degree of control over their brands if they are to leverage their on-line presence. features constant updates, videos, photos, ring tones, widgets and events to give supporters a reason to come back to their site. On for example, the campaign's quasi social network, guests can create their own blog, send policy recommendations, set up their own mini-fundraising site, organize an event, even use a phone bank widget to get call lists and scripts to canvass from home.  John McCain's and Hillary Clinton's site offers similar networking tools as does Obama, but Obama has invested more in building his brand both on and off-line.  It sure beats the "meet-ups" and "move-ons" from the 2004 presidential election.  The Obama campaign has also tapped other on-line communities.  And while he, like others, must cede some control, you can still stay on message and pass on your messages to others. However, like everything else, you need to continually monitor the web and act or react accordingly. The best strategy however for an on-line presence, is to build your brand, connect with a diversity of viewers and engage others in the discussion.