What happens when you get blogger relations completely wrong? You may find yourself trending on Twitter. At least that was the case for Argyll and Bute Council when they asked 9 year old blogger Martha Payne to stop taking photographs of her school dinners, fearing that they were a misrepresentation of their services.
While Martha has since been allowed to continue taking pictures for her blog, this story offers up some important lessons for anyone dealing with blogs.
1) Never underestimate the power of blogging
Blogs continue to be on the up, they provide people with a perception of word-of-mouth information and recommendations that work to our preferences. It is still in marketing terms a relatively new form of communication, having only gained popularity in the last decade or so, and as a result many people still do not understand its power and how to use it.To gain perspective on its power let’s look at a few statistics:
- 4 out of 5 internet users visit social networks and blogs (The Social Skinny)
- 61% of social media are willing to give feedback on brands or products (Salesforce)
- And finally, one 9 year old schoolgirl from Scotland has raised £45,889.46 through her blog (Never Seconds)
If numbers the don’t convince you, the final one should. Through the buzz around her blog Martha has had over 4,264,492 views (a count that was increasing rapidly when I last looked) but more impressively raised enough money to feed over 5,000 in poor countries. Now that’s impressive.
Not all blogs have gain the same visibility as Martha’s, but this does not mean they should be underestimated. Many blogs develop small, but loyal followers and all have the potential to hold influence over your potential public.
2) Do not try and hush a problem away
The local council felt that Martha’s blog misrepresented the meals they were serving, their solutions appears to have been to try and get rid of the problem by telling Martha she could not take photos. Did this work? Martha’s blog ended up on international news websites, trended on Twitter and had more page views than most blogs have in their lifetimes. Sometimes trying to hush a problem is the worst thing you can do. This is where effective blogger relations come in handy. There are many positive examples littering the web showing companies who have engaged with bloggers after negative reviews and salvaged their reputations.
Blogger relations is an area of growing importance, and one which I have barely scratched the surface of here. Done correctly and it has the ability to build important relationships with customers, done badly and it could be disastrous!
- Let them eat cake, but no cameras: British council gags 9 year old school lunch blogger (thenextweb.com)
- You’ve Got Questions – Do Writers Need to Blog? (wosushi.wordpress.com)
- 9-Year-Old Who Changed School Lunches Silenced By Politicians (wired.com)
- Thus I refute them: Argyll and Bute Council don’t just censor little girls, they also hate the English language (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)