How to use blogging for PR: Benefits and best practices

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It was a daring move—allowing an A&E TV reality show full access to Southwest Airlines’ employees without any editorial control from the airline.

And the gamble had paid off, bringing in a 9 percent jump in revenue every time the show aired, despite its warts-and-all look at the industry.

But when A&E canceled the show after three seasons, Southwest needed a new way to channel its messaging. And Southwest staff philosophy of blogging reflected its approach to the reality show Airline.

“The question is, do we trust our employees to represent us well?” the company president had said of the TV show. “Yes, I do. So go for it.”

The same held for blogging, and Nuts About Southwest recruited contributors who were pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics, in addition to its communicators.

In this top-ranked video session, you'll learn how to:

  • Connect your blog to your existing PR efforts
  • Create engaging content and drive traffic to your site
  • Use your blog to improve SEO
  • Make your blog pay off even bigger in a crisis

Despite the mountain of evidence in favor of blogging, many brands choose to concen- trate on the increasingly popular Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. They’re actually  reluctant to blog. Their loss! Certainly blogs are labor intensive. But they are powerful enough to serve as the foundation of your whole social media program.

They shape your online reputation and improve your SEO. And you’d be astonished at the media interest a good blog stirs up. Paula Berg of Linhart Public Relations, formerly with Southwest Airlines, shows you how amazingly far its effects can reach in your organization.

Berg supplies studies that show that 46 percent of companies with blogs have acquired customers from a blog-generated lead. Fifty-eight percent say that they are better-known in their industry because of their blog.  Some 56 percent say that their blog has helped their company establish itself as a thought leader within their industry.

Hear how Southwest’s blog started out, like the reality show, as a place to peel back the curtain. Learn how it became—and how your blog can become—a virtual focus group. Find out why a blog is the place to make and break news. Discover ways to tell the rest of the story when the media botches the initial report. And learn why blogs are perhaps the single strongest source of SEO in social media.

Nuts About Southwest “is a news channel in its own right,” Berg says. “They get pitched by media as much as they pitch media.”

The blog publishes 24 hours a day, multiple times a day. You can do the same without getting swamped.

Learn why your blog is your social media home base. Your blog is this ever-active tool where you repurpose and push out content.

Need specifics? A months-old blog post about bees swarming a hangar brought attention to Southwest (in a good way) when the Wall Street Journal took up the topic of bees on a plane and Googled up the piece the airline had published. “We see that happen all the time,” Berg says. “Not only are journalists finding these sources ... but they’re also lifting posts right out of it.”

Find out how to use your blog in dramatic new ways.

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November 2012
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Presenter bio: 

Paula Berg is digital media leader with Linhart Public Relations, a national PR and corporate communications firm based in Denver. She specializes in social media strategy, integration, infrastructure and crisis management. Paula earned her stripes from 2006 through 2010 at Southwest Airlines as the company’s first manager of emerging media. Under her leadership, the blog “Nuts About Southwest” was repeatedly named Best Blog by PR News. It has been cited in publications from Wired to The Wall Street Journal. Paula also supervised production of “Airlines,” Southwest’s reality series for the A&E Television Network.