Friday, August 18, 2006

Cliche madness in the blogosphere; dissection of an evolving PR campaign

It's fascinating to watch how the relationship between PR and bloggers is evolving. I conceptually understand the viral nature of blogging, and the speed with which something can take off in blog land, but it's a huge rush when one of your company's pro-active PR campaigns shows signs of going viral unexpectedly. It's also fascinating to monitor the way it can swing from blog-initiated stories generating mainstream media coverage, to mainstream media stories spawning blog posts in places you would never have imagined.

As I've mentioned previously, the Factiva Cliche Index is something we developed to have a bit of fun with - to demonstrate the use of language across different media sets; to demonstrate the capabilities of our Factiva Insight: Media Intelligence technology; and to help the media have a bit of a chuckle at itself!

In recent weeks, we decided to start pitching the Cliche Index to bloggers as well as the mainstream media. Jeremy Wagstaff was one of the first bloggers to write about it, and then followed Graham Holliday and Bob Baker on his News Thinking Blog.

Back to traditional pitching to business media, and the Cliche Index ran in the Indian business press - the Hindu Business Line, which prompted a few more bloggers to write about it.

More traditional pitching to Singapore's Marketing Magazine resulted in the Cliche Index first being covered on the publication's web site and then it's blog, The Pitch. What I found fascinating in this instance was that the two articles are distinctly different in tone, with the former being a straight news piece and the latter taking on a more casual tone, in keeping with the conversational style of blog writing. The other interesting learning point was that Marketing ran one of our Factiva Insight charts in the blog article - which reminded me that bloggers love good quality, self-explanatory and free graphics they can drop into their articles. A few days later, Marketing then featured the Cliche Index back on its main website, running a small competition around who could correctly identify the number of cliches in a paragraph.

Over to the other side of the world and back to pitching to blogs, the very funky in New York ran a post, which generated other blog posts and calls from two of the most influential news organisations in the US, requesting updates and some tweaks to the Cliche Index. Stay tuned...we're still working with them, and are obviously most happy to oblige! Then the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a news piece which generated a number of reader comments about cliche abuse and dodgy use of language in business.

Not wanting to be outdone, my Australian colleagues pitched to The Age's Management Line blog today, combining mainstream media and influential blog in one go. Already there are a stack of user comments about the use of language, and we are gaining exposure on one of Australia's premier news sites in a way that is otherwise typically challenging for us.

So many other opportunities have come out of this brief, but frenzied campaign. That it's bouncing literally from one country to the next, day after day, is indicative of the enthusiasm it's creating in our own PR teams, as much as the interest its generating in the mainstream media and blogging community.

It's really reinforcing to us from a PR perspective that with blogs, there are many opportunities to create conversations with the public in a way that has never been possible.


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