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Monday, October 30, 2006

Digital Influence

The Wall Street Journal has a thought-provoking story today on public relations as it relates to blogging. Here's a quote from John Bell, an Ogilvy employee who is quoted in the article:

"The interesting thing about digital influence is that control is the wrong word. You can't really control everything. What we can do is get involved in the conversation. When we're [dealing with] bloggers for instance, our best strategy is to start to talk them as fellow bloggers. Many of us are bloggers, myself included."
I like the use of the words "fellow bloggers" because I feel like bloggers have a high sensitivity toward deception and inauthenticity. Communicating with a blogger only works if you are sincere about it, I think, if you're being proactive and if you're coming to him or her with something that is legitimately suitable for their blog. If you're just trying to blast your message out, it isn't going to succeed.

Participating in the conversation is the appropriate way to dive in, too, I think. It will only work if you're willing to participate and willing to give up the control Bell mentions above. That lack of control is what gives blogging its credibility. Giving up control and being open and honest are essential behaviors, in my opinion. That's the same advice I give anyone who's about to interact with traditional media, so in that sense I guess new and old media share some similarities after all. This bit of advice is straight out of kindergarten, but that means it's pretty solid advice.
"As marketers, we believe in and support the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association's ethics guidelines, which boil down to: Be honest. Be transparent. Don't trick people."
If we all did that, this would be a much easier world to call home. :)

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