Blogs can be used as potent weapons, both offensive and defensive. This blog aspires to be neither. As a market content creator, Goldstein Group is devoted to helping clients build the reputation of their brands. If you’re using social media to play chicken with enemies attacking your brand reputation, it’ll be hard to look like a winner in that fight—even if you win.
Take chicken, for example. Yum Brands, owners of the KFC brand in China, is fighting vicious Internet rumors that it is raising eight-legged chickens juiced up on growth hormones. These rumors spread rapidly in 2012 when Chinese media reported that some of Yum’s chicken suppliers were using those drugs, and then again in 2014 when another supplier was accused of selling expired meat. The Wall Street Journal quoted a social media analyst as saying “China’s social media is full of companies that will create content—positive and negative—for brands.” The article also quoted a KFC spokesperson saying “It’s very hard for companies to protect their reputation on the Internet.”
This reputation war can infect entire supply chains. In the very same edition of the Journal, another article reported that one of the largest chicken producers in the U.S. has joined the push to curtail use of antibiotics in its poultry. They are trying to retain big customers like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A as those brands try to distance themselves from the kind of battle KFC is fighting.
Blogging can be a very effective way to support your brand. It’s one of the services we offer our clients. It associates their human face and voice with their company name, and by addressing important issues in their industries on an ongoing basis and offering a forum for their customers to respond, they take control of their Internet presence—and can therefore let loyal customers take part in defusing rumors instead of letting the media take command of their messaging.
To be most effective, though, requires following blogging basics like choosing the right SEO (search engine optimization) terms so you rank high in Google’s estimation. You can learn more about SEO for your website with our 12-page audit “Roadmap for Boosting Your Search Engine Rankings.”
Of course, things happen, and SEO might be the least of your worries. If one of those things puts your company in the media spotlight, don’t let your lawyers take command of your messaging. When was the last time you read a block of legalese and felt inspired about the people behind it? A better route is to develop a p.r. strategy long before the chicken feathers hit the fan. If you hire a p.r. firm to help you, make sure it rises high above the kind of stereotype that lawyers have been fighting since Shakespeare started plotting against them.
Written by Tom Andel: Goldstein Group agency account manager and content creator who writes with an editor’s mind, a writer’s soul and our clients’ best interests at heart.