Blogging through a Crisis

Went to Podcamp NYC and had a great time.  Talked about all the reasons why a company should blog:  search engine optimization, reach out to new and old clients and create a community, auto PR when bloggers like your product/service and finally blogging as a crisis management tool.

Well last week, one of my clients, Bigelow Tea, used their blog for just this reason, to manage a crisis. 

I felt that a well established blog with loyal readers would be the spring board for keeping the lid on the media and would prevent clients from loosing faith when managing a serious situation.  This still may be so, but what I observed with Bigelow is that the blog was used first as a communication tool.  Their first official statement hit the blog and the press took notice from there.  Statements going forward were posted on the blog and these weren’t corporate speak statements.  These were heartfelt, behind the scenes, I am doing the best I can, statements from the co-President Cindi Bigelow.  You may not have agreeed with her (and many didn’t) but you had to hand it to her, she laid out her dilemma honestly and was responding directly to the blog comments and emails pouring in from the main website.  The fact that Cindi had the blog to communicate and reach out to others on her own terms was what helped Bigelow Tea get through their situation honestly and humanly which, and time will tell about this one, should only bring loyalty from old and new clients!

The second interesting thing about the blog as a crisis management tool was that many didn’t even read what Cindi said, they came to speak their mind based on what they heard in the press (and the press didn’t get the story right half of the time and you would know this if you read the blog entries).  It was the one place where the commentors weren’t censored…the one place where they could go to vent and they knew they were being heard.  A community was created as divided as they were.

So my belief in blogs is deeper than before.  Blogs, in my mind, are not just a “new” media tool or a social networking pastime…this is real stuff that is here to stay.  A forum and a tool whose mere structure is, will and should be the backbone of every web presence for the corporate sector!