Blogging – A Natural Starting Place for Transparent Marketing.
Authentic blogging can bring you extraordinary exposure and rewards. Contrived, sneaky blogging probably won’t.
What is authentic blogging?
In the case of company blogs, a simple way to picture it is like this: Lock all your PR and marketing people in a broom cupboard and then open your blog and start writing interesting things about the world your company inhabits. No spin. No red edits. No reference to the company mission statement or style guide.
The power of authentic blogging lies in the voice of an author who writes well, raises interesting and sometimes uncomfortable issues, and tells the truth.
Perhaps the best known of these authentic, corporate bloggers right now is Robert Scoble of scobleizer.com.
He was already a respected blogger before joining Microsoft. Since then he has helped the company enormously by presenting Microsoft with his single, honest point of view. He’s a self-confessed evangelist for the company…but he does so without being a stooge for the company’s vast PR and marketing machine.
So what is contrived, sneaky blogging? It’s when you create a blog just to get listed faster in the search engines. Or when your PR department invents the person writing the blog. Or when the sole purpose of your blog is to directly sell your products or services.
But wait a moment…
If authentic blogging is such a powerful way to support your company by being open and telling the truth, what does this say about your other marketing channels? Is anywhere other than a blog the place where we accept we are going to spin, dissemble, manipulate and mislead?
If telling the truth through blogging is recognized as being a powerful way to promote a company, why don’t we communicate with the same transparency in every other medium?
The issue of transparent marketing is particularly relevant to the web, because this is such an interactive, shared medium. If you mislead people on your web site, you can be sure that someone, probably a blogger, who will expose you to his or her audience.
Authentic blogging is a phenomenon in itself. But it is also a starting point for us to reconsider how we communicate through all online media…like web pages, email and e-newsletters.
It’s time to shift the balance from taking our lead from traditional, offline PR and marketing practices…and welcome the lessons and influences of authentic blogging.
We have expressed some of our own views on this topic in this article on Transparent Marketing.