Debbie Weil, the author of the Corporate Blogging Book, is getting hard time for appealing to fellow blogging PRs to seed a client’s corporate blog with comments. Allan Jenkins and Neville Hobson, both blogging PR professionals I normally agree with, have criticised Debbie for sending this email:
This is a shameless request. I’m working with GlaxoSmithKline on the
official corporate blog for alli, the first FDA-approved, OTC weight
loss product. You may have seen the TV ads.
While traffic to the blog is growing, readers seem shy about leaving Comments.
You can help jump start the two-way conversation! Take a peek at the
blog at http://www.alliconnect.com.
If you’re inspired or provoked, leave a comment on any entry. No need
to say that you know me, of course.
It really is kind of neat that a Global 100 company is doing a blog
like this. It’s not easy.
I think they are being a bit harsh on Debbie. Asking people for ‘seed’ the blog with comments isn’t such a sin. Lots of hard core bloggers might not believe it, but lots of every day internet users don’t yet understand they can leave comments on a blog. Even if you tell them they can and explain how to do it, you still don’t get comments. On my old councillor blog just about every post would spark an email from a constituent with a comment. But, persuading them to actually comment on the blog was extremely hard. All Debbie was trying to do was trying to show visitors that it’s OK to comment.
The one line where I would criticise Debbie is “No need to say that you know me, of course”. That line just isnt needed. I don’t think those that did respond and comment absolutely had to reveal they knew Debbie, but they shouldn’t have been encouraged to keep it secret.