Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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January 9, 2006

The New Realm of Digital Influencers – Navigating the Blogosphere

I am on a panel discussion on February 23rd 2006 for the Yankee chapter of the IABC, The New Realm of Digital Influencers — Navigating the Blogosphere.

Blogs are certainly a hot topic around the water fountain, or more likely, in the line at Starbucks, but should you be concerned about blogs as a communications professional? The answer is an emphatic YES! Blogs have become an incredibly important medium for communicating to key audiences including consumers, shareholders, employees and critics.

Blogs have been around for more than five years but in just the last couple of years the numbers of blogs has grown from under 100,000 mostly obscure sites to over 12 million blogs. It seems like everyone is blogging: journalists, college students, techies, soccer moms, corporations, government agencies, schools teachers and even young kids.

The rapid advent of blogs has not just added a new communications channel; it has changed the entire communications model for reaching internal and external audiences, especially consumers. Unlike the relatively slow adoption of email communications programs, marketers must act much more quickly to develop programs to communicate with bloggers.

This session will help answer:

· Should I be concerned about blogs, are they really that important? In the traditional world of press releases, print media and broadcast, many marketers believed that they could control or at least tightly manage, messaging about their products and companies. Whether this was ever really true or not, in the new digital world there should be no false hopes. Marketers can’t control messages or positioning in the new blogger-influenced digital communications model. Messaging and issues can take on a life of their own with lightening speed. A single loyal consumer or angry critic can have tremendous influence on thousands of other consumers by posting one message on a blog or message board.

· Who are the influencers? While communications professionals may not know the name or company affiliation of actual bloggers, they can understand how influential they are. This session will show you how.

How do I keep track of these digital influencers? All companies can benefit greatly from listening and responding to their digital audiences. As everyone knows bad news travels fast especially on the Internet. Knowing when bad news hits is critical to staying on top of a story and being able to minimize damage.

Posted by johncass at January 9, 2006 6:05 PM

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Excellent thoughts, it sounds like you've got a great presentation lined up, if it were in my area, I'd be very interested in attending. As a corporate blog evangelist at my company, I've had to think about these very questions and also come up with answers for a variety of audiences.

The conclusions that I've come up with are that blogs are just tools to facilitate easy communication. The very important fact still remains...conversations are really what are important, not the tools themselves.

Besides, blogs will evolve to audio, then video, these tools will just allow for users to have seamless real time conversations.

So in summary I believe we should focus on conversations between 'consumer to consumer' and 'business consumer' --that's really what's important.

In any case, please keep up the good posts...

Posted by: Jeremiah Owyang at January 10, 2006 6:08 PM

I was thinking that you are correct that conversations and the content strategy is what is important in blogging. That's the whole point; blogs are not just static websites but the opportunity to have a conversation with your audience, just as you and I are doing now.

However, I was also thinking that its possible to introduce technology that facilitates the conversation. RSS feeds are a good example, with RSS feed readers; you and I can keep with more content than ever before. Really blogging and social networking software is all about building a better website that allows the publisher and the audience to interact more easily, that interaction is the conversation, but sometimes you also need the tools and technology to make the interchange occur more easily.

Posted by: John Cass at January 11, 2006 3:33 PM


Good points about RSS being the 'glue' or 'thread' for all these conversations, I agree, but only for the near it will evolve (some are already talking about XSS)

I think we're both onto something here. I'm a firm believer that blogging technology is just here for a few years, and will evolve to voice, and then to video. It will be both synchronous and asynchronous depending on the type of conversations needed.

Yup, these technologies are just tools to facilitate conversation, and build new communities, they are going to blur and evolve so fast in the next few months and years --that's why I hold my stance that todays technology isn't where our focus should be on.

Posted by: Jeremiah Owyang at January 14, 2006 12:46 PM

Is there another meaning of the term XSS, doesn't it mean, 'cross site scripting'.

I agree that blogging is evolving from text to to voice and next to video, in the sense that more consumers are started to generate their own content in new ways. But search is the key to finding information on the web. So I foresee that text blogging will continue to be important because of search engines. Therefore I would not give up on text just yet.

Posted by: John Cass at January 14, 2006 8:00 PM

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