Over the past few years, blogs have allowed organizations to bypass the traditional media and get their message out to their publics. Blogging allows the organization’s publics to engage in two-way communication with the message and the organization.
However, what happens when your blog does not act as a proof point for your key messages that support the overall goal of the organization?
Then you have a sort-of crisis communication situation on your hands like Marie Claire magazine and their blogger Maura Kelly who recently wrote a blog post titled “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?).”
Kelly discusses how she is “grossed out” that two overweight characters kiss on CBS’s television show “Mike & Molly.” “I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them do anything,” Kelly said in the post.
In public relations, goals are an overarching theme for organizations that are supported and conveyed to publics with key messages and proof points. It is of vital importance that all key messages and proof points are aligned with the goal.
But, Kelly’s post does not support the goal of Marie Claire.
Let us look at the magazine as the goal of the Marie Claire. The goal of the magazine is to inspire women of all shapes and sizes to be confident, independent, and ultimately, to be themselves.
Therefore, each issue of Marie Claire contains similar stories with different news angles that are the key messages, which include articles about frugality, health, beauty and issues concerning women.
Marie Claire bloggers can focus more on an issue raised in an article that was printed, which acts as a proof point to the key message of the issue, and the goal of the organization.
In the latest issue, topics include:
- Six bloggers that advocate healthier lifestyles may be putting their readers at risk (no coincidence here).
- Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and health care reform
- How to ward off the flu this season
- The monthly column “Big Girl in a Skinny World”
Now it can be said that the goal of Marie Claire as an organization is to influence readers to live a healthier lifestyle. However, Kelly’s blog post does not delve deeper into any of these topics and it does not prove them.
However, if Kelly had blogged about the health risks of obesity, then the angle might have supported the key message of the magazine.
Therefore, outrage has stemmed from the intersection of the proof point, which is Kelly’s post, and the key message, because they are not aligned. The disconnect between these two does not favor the goal of Marie Claire, which is why the magazine now faces a crisis communication situation, and their reputation is now at stake.
Blogs enhance communication between organizations and their publics, which is why it is important that all blog posts prove your key messages, and that key messages support the goals of the organization. By doing so, you can ensure the reputation of your organization and that its goals are conveyed successfully to the public.
University of Minnesota