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Blog as Online PR Tutorial: Lessons from the NewComm Forum

Findings Summary from the New Communications Forum in Palo Alto:

Blogs have been instrumental in helping marketers and communicators understand and appreciate the benefits of communicating via the web. The fact that they are free or low cost and easy to learn has made it possible for a generation previously stifled by technology to use the web as a primary means of expression and, in some cases, networking and communication.

A percentage of bloggers believe the blog as a tool provides the optimum format for all aspects of online communications, but I am not among them. Blog enthusiasts argue that since numerous open source solutions exist which make it possible to integrate video on demand, podcasting, email marketing and other online marketing into a blog, they are a magic bullet for online communications.

But most of these open source web-based tools are unsupported. And while I believe these services have extraordinary value for personal use, I also think organizations will resist integrating these types of solutions into their web communications programs for practical reasons. Make no mistake. I believe blogs are here to stay. I use this one to organize my thoughts, remember and archive professional discoveries and network with like minded people. But when it comes to empowering the voice of an organization, rather than an individual, I think blogs are woefully inadequate.

The ability to do permission-based email marketing, search engine optimization, viral marketing, video on demand, audio on demand, RSS feed generation, podcasting, vidcasting, measurement and reporting in one solution for all types of online media — whether its on a blog or not — is key. Not by hobbling together freeware code, but from an integrated, dependable solution provider.

I believe this functionality will wind up being provided best by a tool that maps best practices for marketing and public relations to the web. And based on the purchasing requirements of most corporate customers, I believe that these types of services will be provided by an application service provider that can guarantee uptime, provide rapid response customer and technical support.

The blog is really only the tip of the iceberg. As marketing and PR professionals get more familiar and comfortable with the idea of conducting online public relations and interactive marketing campaigns themselves, rather than relying on the ‘web guys’ to do it for them, I am even more convinced that services like iPressroom will become central to how organizations communicate with their key publics.

Thanks to everyone who attended and presented at the conference, who contributed so generously this to discovery, and so many other revelations I had as a direct result of their musings. And thanks especially to Elizabeth and Jen for putting it together.

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