Factoring blogs into crisis communication planning

The Economist featureA feature on blogs in the current issue of The Economist hardly adds any value with a subject focus that’s been flogged to death by some sections of the mainstream media, notably Forbes magazine last October.

Bloggers can be vicious but they can also help companies avert disaster, says the sub-title as The Economist devotes 10 paragraphs of its 14-paragraph article discussing the negative aspect of blogs and the potential reputation and other damage that a company can suffer at the hands of bloggers.

One reality point, I suppose, is that the article positions blogs among other long-standing social media like online discussion groups (aka forums or chat rooms) and email lists that have been around for years, so a reader of this article would hopefully not form an impression that blogs are just some form of unique evil manifestation of the worst in people.

And there’s the rub for me. Yet another article in a mainstream medium where the overall feeling you have after reading it is that blogs and other online communication media are something mostly to be feared and concerned about, so you’d better get your crisis communication plan ready (as the article concludes) for a disaster.

Yes, get your crisis plan ready but not just because, suddenly, there seem to be blogs out there written by bloggers determined only to do you damage!

Let’s say you have your crisis communication plan ready to roll so that you are prepared for any eventuality. And that eventuality doesn’t necessarily mean a negative thing – the ability to respond quickly and decisively isn’t always to do with the negative use of the word ‘crisis.’

What’s different today¬† – and this is the real point – is that blogs and other new social media (eg, podcasts) should also be factors you will consider and take into account in your crisis communication planning. Not only from the point of view of what such media are saying about your company, your brand, etc, but also how you can make use of such media.

If you want to see some really thoughtful commentary on how blogs fit into overall communication planning, crisis and otherwise, take a look at the posts in the Challenges of Corporate Blogging section in Global PR Blog Week 2.0.

2 thoughts on “Factoring blogs into crisis communication planning

  1. It seems that people either love blogging or they just don’t think too highly of it. A lot of people think that they are just for people wanting to have an “online diary” of sorts. But blogs can be used in the corporate world. Blogs can be powerful and useful tools, you just have to understand how they can be used.
    It is true that blogs can be used by upset customers and unhappy employees who are complaining about the company. Their comments may be read by many other customers. But, companies can use this to monitor public perception about the company. Blogs may give you a picture of what the company’s reputation is like within the various publics. In this case, it would seem that blogs are used in a proactive/preventative strategy where PR practioners would have a better understanding of potential crises.
    I agree that companies can also make use of blogs in time of crises. Blogs can be a great way to disseminate information to a wide range of people. I believe that blogs can also be linked to various other media, sending the posts to those outlets are they are updated on the web.
    If companies were educated on the many ways that blogs can help monitor potential crises but be a useful media tool in crises, then perhaps there would not be such distrust for blogs.

  2. OK, I’ve got it: the perfect title for your next blogging/podcasting/new media seminar: “DON’T PANIC!”
    What do you think? Sums it up nicely, yes?

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