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Media Monitoring News, September 2008

Guide to Handling a Blog Crisis

Crisis communications used to mean figuring out how to handle print and TV reporters when a problem surfaced. Now, the source of the crisis may be the blogger with the laptop sitting in the front row while your CEO is giving a speech.

In a remarkably short time, blogs have become a pervasive part of the communications mix and have become remarkably influential in shaping a corporate reputation.

As a result, monitoring blogs and bloggers has become a "must do" for PR and marketing.

Blog monitoring requires a comprehensive, timely monitoring approach because a) you never can predict where or when a damaging story will originate and b) what bloggers write can spread rapidly on the Internet, quickly distorting your company's position on a product or issue.

In Five Steps for Recovering from an Online Reputation Crisis, Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim prescribes common sense approaches to manage issues emanating from the blogsphere. Step one is "respond from the top". Step two is "admit mistakes".

Rohit Bhargava of Olgilvy describes How To Manage a Blog Crisis like a Pro.

The same article also lists six tools to help you keep track of what's happening out on the blogosphere. If you use free online services such as Technorati or BlogPulse or Google Blogsearch or Trendpedia to monitor blogs, it's imperative that you search each of your key words in each of the services every day since no one service covers all blogs. And you'll probably want to set up some sort of database or document management system to store and manage key blog clips.

Or you can use a subscription service such as BlogSquirrel, which monitors just about the entire blogosphere automatically and delivers each day all new posts that contain your key words.

Final Tip: When responding to a blog crisis, it's best to post only in the place(s) where the criticism was published, thereby avoiding the trap of giving greater reach to the critical posts.

And as a post-script: If you're thinking about starting a blog for your organization, first read B.L. Ochman's "10 Reasons Your Company Shouldn't Blog". Reason #3: "You need original content. The blogosphere is too much of an echo chamber already. What can you add that's original? Or significantly better than anything else in your niche."

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