Damage Control Blogging

At least according to blogger David Meerman Scott, the reason Obama won the U.S. presidential election is that he was first to embrace blogging and social media. Scott goes even further, saying "bloggers helped elect a president of the United States."

Two weeks ago, I devoted my Say It For You blog post to a different use for corporate blogging.  I called it "controlling your own journalistic slant". Through putting their own "spin" on reports about their company, I said, business owners can exercise control over the way the public perceives any negative developments and correct any inaccurate press statements.

It’s so ironic.  Just after I’d posted that advice, David Letterman proved just how effective being proactive can be in the face of negative developments. The Fox News entertainment blog asked readers to choose among three possible reactions to what the New York Daily News dubbed the "Letterman nonscandal scandal" and to Letterman’s well-publicized on-air apology:
             A.  Letterman sincerely apologized to all those he hurt.  What else can he do?
             B. If he really meant it, he would have said this on Thursday.  He’s just playing us.
             C. It’s really none of our business.  Only those he hurt know if it was enough or not.

Very interesting – it appears inviting readers’ opinions had the effect of mitigating the damage and creating sympathy, not making things worse!

David Meerman Scott says Letterman demonstrated "getting in front of a media crisis". Because the news came directly from the main person involved in the matter, Scott believes, "Letterman was able to control the initial framing of the discussion." In other words, Letterman was able to use the media for damage control.

Kyle Lacy of Brandswag talks about using social media to "control your message".  Lacy explains that it’s actually not possible to control the way people might choose to  interpret your message. But by remaining alert and involved, you can exercise damage control by taking the conversation offline with individual customers and by directly confronting whatever is happening. 

I’ve said it before in these blog posts: If you don’t blog frequently, you won’t attract negative comments, but neither will you attract the attention of search engines who deliver readers to your blog site.  The real message here is not to avoid bloopers and business mistakes at all cost, but to expect that, sooner or later, there will be some negative comments or some negative news and to be ready to tackle those head on.

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