The first ever MIPAA Bloggers’ Brunch for automotive public relations practitioners took place earlier today, hosted at SMMT in London. Billed as helping those who didn’t know a bacon roll from a blog-roll, it aimed to cover the basics of blogging.
We had some great input from Matt Saunders (editor of Autocar online), Iain Reid (editor of www.whatcar.com) and Tristan Young (Business Car editor). It was interesting to see how their auto-websites are using the technology of blogging in different ways:
- Autocar has set up MyAutocar with blogs from its team of respected journalists as well as those from readers. This aims to build a community hub of loyal readers.
- What Car? isn’t blogging – but has user generated content in its reader reviews which, although moderated, provide owner perspectives that support the site’s expert road-tests, group tests and video reviews.
- The blogs on Business Car include one from the office alongside views from some leading figures whose opinions will interest readers. Tristan demonstrated the Google-juice effect of blogging with a simple search – which I think surprised a few of those who hadn’t realised the power of regular updates.
Another surprise (for me as well) was Matt’s statement that 50% of the news leads his team use come from industry-focused blogs such as www.leftlane.news.com
- We were fortunate also to have the expertise of Ellee Seymour and Geoff Jones – who provided some of the context and bloggers’ perspectives. I think that Ellee’s list of the opportunities that have come her way in the 14 months since she began blogging was revealing to those who feel this is a fringe activity, not a mainstream influence.
- Geoff showed some interesting data that compared a couple of automotive brands in terms of whether they are being talked about in blogosphere.
- This highlights the importance of ensuring your organisation is remarkable, primed for word of mouth with great memes.
- There was very lively discussion during our breaks and break-out sessions. We did cover a lot of angles – monitoring blogosphere, ethical issues, getting to know bloggers, and whether corporates should blog or have dedicated blogging departments.
- I hope that a few of the self-confessed “blogging virgins” feel a bit more informed as a result of hearing the views of our expert guests – and I plan to build on this initial event with a second soon.
- We will certainly revisit the issue of corporate blogs – which of course, Naked Conversations addresses. I’m not advocating that everyone in the car industry rushes off and starts blogging – but it would be interesting to explore some case studies of companies who have.
- I know this was something that Simon Wakeman was researching. Unfortunately he couldn’t be with us owing to a family crisis – but kindly prepared some useful bookmarks. I hope he will be able to share his wisdom next time.
- My own contribution was a draft of my greenbanana little book of blogging – not yet complete or beautiful, but a start at giving some basic blogging advice.
- If you have stopped by this blog having attended the event today – please let take a moment to comment, and give your thoughts on what you’d like to see in a follow up.