Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reacting to Negative Bloggers

By Amanda Walsh

We here on ThePRLawyer blog have been focusing on encouraging our reading audience to sign up for and interact on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. There is another side to interacting in the social media realm – you and your clients need to be prepared for negative feedback or blog posts about your client or company.

This article from Ragan.com focused on giving tips for addressing negative posts by bloggers. Ragan.com is an online resource for communications professionals. The author of the article, Frank Strong, shares a PR experience he had at a software company that had launched a technology product. The buzz surrounding the product was great with a lot of positive reviews. One influential blogger who positioned himself as an IT critic wrote a scathing review of the product without approaching the company or even seeing the product itself. What were they to do?

Strong outlines some tips (below) that he and his colleagues took to respond to this blogger.
  • Is the blogger approachable?
  1. Strong and his team decided this particular blogger was not the type of person to be reasoned with.
  2. Instead focus on your company’s outward communication. For example, the team updated the company blog with pictures and case scenarios.
  • Target the sphere of influence
  1. Bloggers especially ones that cover particular beats interact with one another – often through this public forum by commenting on each other’s posts, etc.
  2. Strong and his team identified other influential IT bloggers and reached out to them for a fair evaluation of the product. Six briefings were set up, none of which were negative.
  • Engage additional analysts
  1. A Web cast was set up with another important industry analyst and the Web cast was posted on his blog as well as the company’s blog. This was used as another piece of visual support for the company’s goal of fighting negative publicity.
Little by little other positive reviews were written and posted which opposed the negative review by the one blogger. Soon his comments became less harmful to the company.

In the end, Strong and his team believed that the negative post added to the buzz and fueled discussions of the product. It persuaded others to take a closer look at the product. And according to Strong, “The product launch was one of the most successful in the company’s history.”

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