It’s incredible that despite the fact that people have so many ways to get inside information, journalists can’t get much access to the government when they want to do interviews with government employees. I thought the government promised us that they were going be more transparent, but it doesn’t look that way, at least according to Bob Unruh’s article in WND called “Citizens Lose Because of Gov’t Gatekeepers” that discusses a survey that was done with journalists.
The journalists interviewed for the survey said that there are gatekeepers that shut them out of interviews or control interviews with government staff to the point that it seems like censorship. It seems sort of disturbing because I never thought “censorship” would be connected with “government” here in the U.S. However, my point in bringing this up is to not discuss politics but to emphasize the importance of transparency when it comes to your own communication. Basically, don’t follow the government’s example by shutting people out.
Of course, you can’t post any opinion of yours on Twitter or Facebook because it can cost you your job and can cause you to lose clients, but it’s important to be clear within your publicity plan so that people won’t think you you’re being dishonest. If you have nothing to hide, then be willing to share information within your social networks and with the media. After all, if the media discovers some information from another source because you weren’t forthcoming, that could mean bad publicity for you in negative stories and quotes from your opposition.
A good way to avoid misunderstandings and problems is to first develop your marketing and public relations plan, decide what you want your message to be, and also be prepared for a crisis by planning ahead of time. If you’re not dealing with very serious issues that have the possibility of ending up as a crisis, then simply decide ahead of time what you want to say publicly. It’s important to set boundaries so that you’re not saying anything too casual or unprofessional, but share information with others so that your communication makes you seem approachable and real.
I was reading Bruce Carton’s post at Legalblogwatch called “Early Settlers in the Blawgosphere Begin to Turn 10 YearsOld” and he was talking about legal blogs that have been around for a while, some for more than 10 years. My first reaction was wondering how they wrote so consistently for so long. Then his post made me think about how people can decide to do something innovative and new, but end up being ridiculed for being different.
Back when those attorneys started those blogs, I wonder how many people thought they were crazy or wasting their time. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t even know what a blog was, but it’s great that those bloggers stuck with what they knew and kept writing and building an audience, no matter what others said.
I’m not saying that those bloggers are like Galileo who got into serious trouble for claiming that the earth revolved around the sun, but they still took a chance, and it looks like it really paid off. I’m sure they’ve become a lot more successful because their blogs have become a part of their marketing plan, whether or not they planned it that way.
Here’s something that we can learn from them: if you want to become a successful blogger and enhance your marketing and public relations plan, you should choose a specific niche that has a market need. For example, if you do commercial real estate and know there’s already a blog about that topic out there, get more specific by writing about your own area of expertise. You might just work on cases that have to do with shopping complexes in the Midwest, so blog about that. If you’re finding that it’s difficult to do a blog on your own, then do it with a group. It seems to work; some of the most popular and long-lasting blogs on Carton’s list are group blogs.
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