Blog: An Effective Corporate, PR & Public Communication Tool?
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Blog: An Effective Corporate, PR & Public Communication Tool?

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Educator and Trainer
Blog: An Effective Corporate, PR & Public Communication Tool?
How Public relations can find Blogs an effective media to connect socially

What's a Blog?
A weblog, or blog, a combination of “web” and “logbook”, is a website in the form of a diary with pithy, frequently updated entries that are posted regularly. Additionally, they often contain links to other websites and blogs so the reader can quickly find blocks of news, information and opinions on a specific topic. A blog can be kept by an individual or by a group of people. All weblogs taken together make up the blogosphere.

The communication form represented by blogs is, fundamentally, nothing new. But unlike chatrooms or newsgroups, blogs are showing booming growth rates and are in the process of becoming a mass medium. Their main element: a very personal style. Readers see the blog as a point of reference in a flood of information. Blogs put news items – agency reports for instance – into context, as they are commented, interpreted and assessed.. Authors are usually freelancers who work in internet-related professions or keep a blog as a hobby. In a very few exceptional cases, a blog is fully financed through advertisements. The commercialisation of blogs is regarded with criticism in the blog scene, since this undermines the credibility of the author.
Blogs achieve a mass-media effect through:

• the high degree of networking in the blogosphere, in which news spreads very rapidly (blog swarm)
• pronounced search engine friendliness that ensures blogs are displayed near the top of results lists.
• Moreover, journalists from conventional media frequently use blogs as a research source.

The pronounced network effect that is generated through these mechanisms enables individuals to reach a broad public and, ideally, the traditional mass media – a channel that so far has been reserved mainly for journalists and public figures. From the viewpoint of companies, too, blogs offer a technically inexpensive way of obtaining direct access to a specific target group and responding quickly to news reports. The comment function makes blogs a dialogue-based medium with personal character (unfiltered communication). So blogs ultimately help to change the underlying conditions in communications between parties.

These are the relevant distinctive features of blogs.
• The Personality
• The Voice
• The Links
• The Conversations
• The Frequency
• The Feed

The Personality
Blogs are mouthpieces of an individual’s values & ethics, he/she believes in. Blogs opine about an individual’s interest & values.

The Voice
Closely related to the above, a blog has a voice of its own: an author's voice. There's no template to use. A blogger must dare to be a person instead of an official and a distinct voice will be heard: natural, direct and informal, maybe even funny or irritating.

The Links
Blogging has been called the Art of Linking and links are a major part of most blogs. As blog readers we want it. With the Web growing absurdly by the minute, we have no chance of keeping up. The blogs do that for us, in often very small niches. With blogs we like, we get the most interesting links with at least some degree of context.

The Conversations
An individual is not the only one there, there are innumerable blogs, sharing your interests. You become a part of the conversation by linking to those blogs from posts of your own, stating your opinions, publishing related information or thoughts. If you do it well they link to you, and a kind of conversation between blogs have started. It's of course not necessary to actively try to converse, but most bloggers would argue that this is an important part of blogging.

The Frequency
Blogs are immediate, almost instantaneous. Blogs are at their best when you get the feeling that the blogger publishes as soon as he or she has something to say. As a result it's not frequent enough to publish once a month, even once a week. You might get some subscribers/readers, but you'll never become a voice they listen to, look forward to hearing from.

The Feed
This is tech stuff, and a blog can be defined by the content-related characteristics alone. But most blogs are published both on web sites and as so called feeds.