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DESCRIPTIONA presentation on why banks should blog, which banks are blogging and what the steps are for implementation. February 2009.
- 1. Ein Communications is one of the nations top boutique public relations firms.We distinguish ourselves by providing clients with services that are thoughtful, proactive and results oriented an approach that has been the hallmark of our firm since its inception more than 25 years ago. 1221 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite 500 Washington, D.C. 20036 202.775.0200 Bank Blogs Why Blogging in Todays Environment is aSmart Communications Strategy for Banks By Jeff Ingram, VP of Ein Communications February 2009
2. The Current Environment
- Every bank is facing increased scrutiny from communities, regulators, depositors, borrowers, investors, media and employees.
- Many community banks are doing well and have a good story to tell and yet are being painted with a broad banking brush.
- There is a general sense that all banks lack transparency.
- Online banking and ATMs have removed much of the personal interaction between banks and their customers.
3. Why Blog?
- Frequent Updates promotes greater sense of transparency.
- Personal Tone deepens relationships and trust with key stakeholders.
- Accessibility allows stakeholders to more easily receive and revisit content.
- Sharability enables others to share and champion the banks messages more broadly.
4. Why Blog Now?
- In times of uncertainty,constant communicationis critical to preserving trust.
- Blogging is an established and powerful tool, yet still underutilized in banking andwill position blogging banksas a forward-looking organizations with a deep commitment to transparency.
- Discussions about banks are already occurring on and offline, a blog gives the bank anequal and immediate platform to participate and respond.
5. SEC Regulation FD Issues
- Many banks arepublicly tradedand regulated under fair disclosure rules that may limit blog utility
- The SEC issuednew guidancein July 2008 allowing companies to rely solely on their websites to satisfy public disclosure requirements.
- Legal interpretation for implementation:http://www.whitecase.com/publications_11012008/
- Blogging content does not necessarily need to cover issues covered under Regulation FD
6. Who is Blogging in Banking? http://futurebanking.bankofamerica.com/ http:// shorebankvoices.swirlspace.net/blog / http:// sierravistabankblog.com / http://www.idahotrust.com/blogs/1/ http:// blog.wellsfargo.com / 7. Blog Implementation Steps
- Select a blog type/s
- Identify workflow
- Soft launch
- Engage Online Community
(Note: I have ignored technical implementation and chosen to focus on content related activities.While there are benefits and drawbacks to certain blog platform options such as Wordpress and Moveable Type, they are largely commoditized today.Development costs in general should be minimal.) 8. Step One:Blog Type Selection
- Organization Blog: Follows the activities and concerns of the entire organization and is usually authored by several individuals
- Personality Blog: Follows the activities and concerns of a particular individual that represents the organization.
- Issue Blog: Focuses on one issue of interest to an organization and is usually authored by one or more experts from the organization.
- Platform Blog: Aggregates several blogs often targeting specific issues and personalities at the organization
- Micro-Blog: Made popular by Twitter, these a 140-character messages that update followers about an individual or organizations activities
9. Step One:Blog Type Selection
- Organization Blog
- Pros: Appeals to widest audience Can be primary communicationsvehicle Spreads authorship duties
- Cons: Broad content universe may turn niche stakeholders off Less personalengagement with multiple authors Expectations high for communication.
http:// shorebankvoices.swirlspace.net/blog / http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog 10. Step One:Blog Type Selection
- Personality Blog
- Pros: Greater potential for deepening trust, relationship with readers Higherpotential for mainstream media interest.
- Cons: Active and intense participation by authorPressure as voice of theorganization.
RUNNING A HOSPITAL http:// runningahospital.blogspot.com / http:// sierravistabankblog.com / 11. Step One:Blog Type Selection
- Issue Blog
- Pros: Loyal readership from niche stakeholdersEnables emphasis on a coremarketing/branding theme Less oversight required.
- Cons: Narrow audienceNo platform for organizational response to breakingnews/concernsLess interest from mainstream media.
http://futurebanking.bankofamerica.com/ 12. Step One:Blog Type Selection
- Portal Blog
- Pros: Allows readers to narrow in on desired contentcan incorporate all otherblog types and their benefits.
- Cons: Very labor intensive higher development costs.
http:// blog.wellsfargo.com / 13. Step One:Blog Type Selection
- Pros: Similar benefits to the personality blog in terms of building relationships andtrustMuch lower time commitment than traditional blogs very highinterest from mainstream media
- Cons: Public less familiar with the platformrequires frequent updates to besuccessfuleasier to say something regretful.
http:// twitter.com/BofA_help http:// twitter.com/clairecmc Sen. Claire McCaskill 14. Step Two:Workflow
- Answer the following questions:
- Who will generate blog post ideas?
- Who will author the blog posts?
- Who will approve blog posts?
- How will comments be handled?
- What are the blog post frequency expectations?
15. Step Three:Soft Launch
- Begin blogging with publicity to employees and other close stakeholders.
- Gain feedback and tweak as necessary.
- Get comfortable with workflow and develop a strong, substantive history of posts.
16. Step Four:Publicize
- Promote to mainstream media contacts and high audience online outlets in the industry/region.
- Ensure most recent post is an engaging illustration of the blogs content.
- Measure success by growth in number of visitors and subscribers.
17. Step Five:Engage
- Be active in responding to comments either in the comment section through new blog posts.
- Respond to posts on other blogs related to the industry and community.
- Use trackbacks to let other blogs know you are referencing their posts.
18. Best Practices for Implementation
- Approach blogging as if you were having a casual yet informative discussion with a valued customer.
- Try to integrate into existing workflow (e.g. newsletter writing).
- Actively promote via all other communications channels.