Thursday, April 26, 2007

Searching for community

Greg Miller, president of Marketcom PR, has a brilliant piece in today’s Bulldog Reporter:

Google's search engine technology has so radically changed the practice of public relations that it may be time to change PR's name entirely. Why? PR is built on the assumption that companies, institutions and politicians could not only manage, but actually mold, the perceptions of all of their key audiences—or "publics," as the earliest PR practitioners of a century ago called them.

Google has upset the PR paradigm. It's much harder to control information. It's much harder to get out ahead of bad news. And every piece of public information about your company—the good, the bad, the ugly—lives on the Web more or less forever.

This illustrates the importance of building community around your company. Blogs and wikis are peculiarly suited for this task.

A company blog is good. Dozens of employee blogs are even better; because each blog will attract its own audience, and working together will build a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Each employee blog, speaking to its own audience, and linking to your partner’s blogs, will build a cohesive community for that particular line of business. Collectively these blogs will build not just a major presence on search engines, but far more important, a community of individuals, investors, partners, suppliers, customers, and prospects, who will have a psychological stake in your company’s success.

In the event of bad news you can send your company’s release to this community, secure in the knowledge that they will at least take a look at it and give you the benefit of the doubt. In the event of a hatched job this community will be a formidable ally.

Blogosphere can be PR’s friend, it we will make it so.

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