Posted by: Laura Phillips Garner | June 16, 2010

Don’t Ignore Unofficial Corporate Blogs. Your Audience Is Talking to You.

Companies can take the pulse of their target audiences and get their messages out through unofficial corporate blogs like "Miss Moss The Home Shoppingista," which covers the home shopping television industry and its big three networks: QVC, HSN and ShopNBC.

A blogger makes a particular company’s brand the center of his universe. He writes about every official and unofficial (rumor) development. What should the company at the focus of all this attention do?

Embrace these wonders of the digital world! Bloggers are doing the brands they write about a favor.

Most bloggers who write about specific brands are brand loyalists. They love and feel connected to their favorite brands, and they get pleasure representing themselves as brand experts to the masses. These unofficial corporate blogs often build followings because other brand loyalists also are hungry for information, and they appreciate the more informal insider perspectives they get from what they see as non-traditional (not the company) sources. Also, the information often is given the same credibility as any other news outlet because the reader often does not distinguish between the two.

Companies can learn a great deal about their brands’ audiences from unofficial corporate blogs. Scanning comments reveals nuggets of valuable intelligence about what consumers like and dislike about a particular brand, what they might like the company to modify or add, and any questions or suggestions they might have. A string of negative comments about any one issue with a brand might indicate that the company should think about addressing the problem. Without these unofficial blogs, companies might be blind-sided and not have as much control over the issue as they would like.

Two great examples of unofficial corporate blogs are the five-year-old “Google Operating System: Unofficial News and Tips About Google” and “Miss Moss The Home Shoppingista.” Alexa Chitu started the former in October 2005 as an “unofficial blog that watches Google’s attempts to move your operating system online.” Linda Moss founded the latter in October 2009 after being laid off from “Multi-Channel News,” a cable television industry publication where she covered the business side of home shopping networks like QVC, HSN and ShopNBC.

Chitu is Google watchdog, Google fanatic and Google teacher as his posts often explain how to use Google tools in simpler terms than explanations available from Google itself. For example, after a post, “Google. No Configuration Needed,” about the lack of user settings on Google products including Google Buzz and privacy concerns yielded grumblings about lack of privacy and intrusiveness, Chitu wrote a follow-up post, “How to Disable Google Buzz.”

Moss said she decided to write about one of her guilty pleasures: home shopping because “she’s a chick: She likes to shop.” Thus, posts are about all aspects of home shopping “from gossip on the hosts and stars who appear to financial news about them.” The home shopping industry has become much more interesting now that major designers like Isaac Mizrahi, Dolce & Gabanna and Badgely Mischka have realized that they can make money from sophisticated girls who consider home shopping television “a guilty pleasure.” The HomeShoppingista is a fun and informative read.

–Laura Phillips Garner

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