We’ve all seen those blog posts: you’re reading along in your favorite blog, enjoying the wit and info, when out of the blue there’s an obvious shill for their business. Even blog posts disguised as tutorials can be off-putting when they come in out of nowhere. What happened?
What happened was the author forgot what their readers really wanted. The visitors were piling up because they loved the informative posts that came every couple days, not some puff piece about the author’s company. The writer made the mistaken assumption they needed to boost sales instead of sticking with what works.
But is it really that bad? Can you really blame them? After all, blogging is more or less a form of public relations, no matter what you’re doing it for, isn’t it?
To PR Blog Or Not To PR Blog
Frankly, I think it all depends on a few things. The first and foremost is how relevant the article is to the rest of your blog. If you’re throwing it on there simply to drive traffic and there’s no point in it really being there, you should probably reconsider. Your readers will notice and have a fit. You’ll get called out on it in the comments and your reputation could suffer.
However, if you can create a PR post that will get the attention but be completely in line with other posts, I say go for it. One of my big things in PR is creating a brand, an identity for yourself and your company. Maintaining that in the face of easy sales is important.
Consider a company, “Big Ben’s Clock Repair.” Ben spends most of the time on his blog talking about everything clock repair; techniques, history, etc. His loyal readers come to expect Wednesdays and Friday to bear a new post from him about their favorite subject. Then one Friday there’s a post from Ben strictly about his business and how he intends on promoting it in the future.
It’s not just that it’s kind of obnoxious, it’s just out of line from his regular work. He’s spent all that time building up a reputation, why did he feel the need to risk blowing it by posting an obvious shill for his business?
What To Do
Perhaps Ben thought he needed to shake things up on his blog to keep it fresh. If that’s the case, he should’ve considered a new approach on the same subject, or maybe thought of combining forces with another blogger. He could even have figured out a way to combine the PR with something that pertained to his business if he needed to. There were a lot of options to go with. Don’t just throw up a post to throw one up, Ben.
He also had the option to call himself out before anyone else could. Ben knew he was posting a puff piece. He should’ve thought about putting up a disclaimer at the top, something like “Time for a little self promotion!” or “Please excuse this interruption from the CEO. Regular programming will resume next week.”
Anything along those lines can dispel the confusion from folks who are expecting one thing and come to find another in their RSS feed. Don’t throw your customers off with some out-of-the-blue PR blogging. Give them the respect they’ve given you over the months and years they’ve followed you.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html