My Manila Bulletin column this Monday dealt with my just-concluded talk in the 14th National PR Congress. Some of the quotable quotes which you are free to agree or disagree with:
“I just happen to think that rather than shy away from each other, bloggers and PRs can exist harmoniously together: PRs can benefit from the wealth of information that competent bloggers specialize in and bloggers, in turn, can gain a thing or two from the promotional and advertising opportunities that publicists offer in behalf of their clients, something which (bloggers) are now using with services like Google AdSense anyway.”
“It is good that influential PR practitioners are opening their mind to the potentials and possibilities of new media which is what todayâ€™s traditional media will have to embrace sooner or later.”
“There is an absence of credible research on the demographic profile of bloggers in the Philipines. Yes, data is absent even if some public relations companies are already utilizing bloggers to promote their products and services.”
Olandres added that “this growth from 2004 could range between 300 to 400% based on limited information I have from that time. If we limit our sample population for the LiveJournal users, the increase from July 2004 of 7,777 to September 2007 of 47,292 is actually a 500% growth in 3 years.”
Based on initial data from LiveJournal, majority of Philippine bloggers are aged between 14 to 28 years old, with a median of 19. Majority (67%) are female while the remainder (33%) is male, according to Olandres.
Another thing that stood out in the course of my research was the absence of corporate blogs, or even a semblance of corporate blogging in the websites of major Philippine companies. This pales in comparison to the blogging mindset of global companies like Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Sun Microsystems which has no less than its CEO Jonathan Schwartz leading the company blog. Of course Nintendo is an exception since it has openly stated that itâ€™s not encouraging blogging after firing contractual employee Jessica Zenner for writing about her “hormonal, facial hair-growing, frumpy” boss in her blog, ironically titled “Inexcusable Behavior.”
Truth is, companies are probably afraid of the ramifications of having a blog in the company website. Am afraid the fears are unfounded. In my PR Congress presentation, I argued about how corporate blogging can give companies direct access to their customers, generate genuine feedback and give the business a human face, thus generating trust from its consumers.
This is not to mention the fact that a corporate blog can boost a companyâ€™s search engine rankings if the blog is updated regularly. By getting feedback and interfacing with the customers, blogs can also provide a great measure of value. In the process, a company can save on essential activities like conducting qualitative research and focus group discussions.
As with any other endeavor, corporate blogging entails creativity and needs to be properly planned. The entries definitely need not look like theyâ€™re hardsell, even if they may be. The question of who among your employees will be designated the official blogger is also important, ditto with turning off comments to avoid the backlash that an open discussion may bring.
Of course am just saying this from the perspective of a PR practitioner. These were the things I wasnâ€™t able to expound much at my PR Congress presentation due to lack of time.
I did say that blogs are “the new media frontier” and thereâ€™s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. Companies willing to tap into the new medium need to do their research, know the workings of the blogosphere and “walk the talk” while applying time-tested PR principles. The rules of the game should never change, and content or information, should always be king.”
The other piece of good news is that MB Online is getting better, with breaking news, more flash and animation now 😛