You Better Take Me Seriously…

bloggersloungeHello from CES. In fact, hi from Rm 254 North Hall "Taking the Blogosphere Seriously" seminar.

Why take it seriously? Because the blogosphere has helped to create an authentic digital media society, and whether you are an organization or individual, you better be ready to handle the truth.

The panelists agreed, all companies need to take the blogosphere seriously. A corporate blog can be a powerful tool. It can help personalize a company, tell a story, and most importantly communicate with customers. When a company gets in trouble, a blog is a good place to fix things. Isn’t that how Dell went from hell to heaven?

But – there are basic rules to follow. Companies must be transparent. Basically, don’t engage in the blogosphere unless you say who you are or you will erode brand value. No flogging! But before a company decides to create a blog they need to think about where the blog fits into the strategic plan. An organization needs to have the time and resources to dedicate to it. Or it won’t be worth it.

The blogosphere is a great place to listen to customers. According to panelist, Pete Blackshaw, from Nielsen Online, most companies are already doing at least light skimming of the blogosphere. They are looking at who is talking and how it is impacting the media. There are a number of ways to track blogs. It’s easy to measure activity but still difficult to track back to sales.

Since there is a broad range of blogs out there, it’s important for companies to pay attention to who they may want to reach out to. An influential blogger may be a seasoned journalist, or a mom who just started blogging but provides deep consumer insights. And of course companies need to reach out with honesty, always telling the truth.
Mainstream media is already taking the blogosphere seriously. Panelist Jerry Johnson from Brodeur, talked about a recent survey they conducted of 5,000 journalists. Seventy five percent responded that blogs are helpful to their jobs. Journalists are looking to bloggers for sources and story ideas, and bloggers are amplifying the media. It’s a blast to watch the blogosphere take off – with bloggers putting their unique spin on the same story.

2008 will certainly be an exciting year for the blogosphere. As it continues to grow at an amazing rate, there will be even more people writing about really cool stuff and companies will be thinking about how to leverage blogs in unique ways. Mobile blogs are growing and creating multiple touch points for customers. And with video and mashups, blogs will be even more challenging to measure.