Only two media from Spanish-speaking countries offer RSS feeds: the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and the Argentinian Clarín. Although blogs are becoming more and more visible in the media and becoming a topic of research, they are nonetheless small & # 147; groups of evangelists & # 148;, who promote its use & # 133; but that can change in a short time. To face this great challenge, Spanish speaking public relations professionals must identify the enormous opportunities that other colleagues, primarily those whose native language is English, are using for their clients, their businesses and even for themselves.
Perhaps it would be easier for Anglo-Saxons, with a different culture, to accept that in order to enter the blogosphere, they must step back from the pedestal on which they think leaders should be placed, and move closer to thousands of people directly. way, without any obstacles. I find it hard to believe that a politician, a senior official or an executive in Mexico, Spain, Peru or Argentina would agree to write a blog. Also, with the exception of some industries (i.e. IT), the use of blogs to maintain direct communication with their audiences continues to be limited to political parties, governments and even successful businesses. In recent years, there has been a big breakthrough, in which executives have taken into account the benefits of having a webpage and included it in their communication campaign. However, for some industries in Spanish speaking countries, the Internet remains a foreign tool, difficult and expensive, and therefore they ignore its use to communicate with their audiences. The blogosphere offers exactly the opposite: it is a communication tool that is close to people, easy to use, and at such a reduced price that with so many resources available on the Internet, it can be practically free. It’s easy to say that blogging could turn into a & # 147; democratization & # 148; element with real possibilities to change the traditional relationship between sources and media with the public. Blogs will make the & # 147; participatory journalism ‘, through which it will be possible to relate the problems of real people to other individuals with the same difficulties and concerns. The possibilities are endless in societies accustomed to the lack of transparency in government and corporate activities, and even with media that lack credibility. In fact, what is already happening in many Spanish-speaking countries, as in the Anglo-Saxon world, is an explosion of blogs that offer alternative information to traditional media. Thousands of blogs seem to reflect, qualify and denounce, not only government actions or those of political parties, but also the products, services or even the projects that many companies carry out. In addition, it is possible that blogging can be seen as the real possibility for small and medium-sized businesses to access the Internet, without having to provide a large amount of resources or depend on IT people who do not. necessarily understand business or communication strategies. This may be the heart of the matter. These reasons make me think that there are many possibilities for the public relations industry in Spanish speaking countries to explore blogging. It is possible that very soon blogs in Spanish will attain the same importance that other blogs will gradually but firmly gain, in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia. At this time, I don’t believe in truly independent blogs – that is, those that aren’t part of major communication groups or that aren’t written by professional journalists who update their blogs. in parallel with their main activity – can be accredited as mainstream media in important events such as political campaigns, as is already happening in the United States, and soon in the United Kingdom. The public relations industry in Spanish-speaking countries must be prepared to take maximum advantage of this phenomenon. How? ‘Or’ What? I will address this problem through some suggested action plans. * Identify blogs that have a good level of success and organize them into categories: technology, politics, media, etc. There are directories that do this like Bitácoras.net [http://bitacoras.net/], Blogdir.com [http://www.blogdir.com], Blogsmexico.com, Blogalia.com, to name a few. We need to be open to all kinds of blogging, keeping in mind that there will be times when we don’t share authors & # 146; points of view, but it’s important that we take them into account. Take the case of video game web pages. There are occasions when children as young as 12 become true opinion leaders, able to destroy the launch of a new game in which thousands or even millions of euros have been invested. * Enter the blogosphere with the objective of understanding the new medium, its tools, possibilities and limits, as well as the most famous authors, although they are not Spanish speaking. It might sound obvious, but there are a lot of people out there who have never heard of RSS, feeds, posts, blogs, syndicated content, links, or anything like that.
A PR consultant can’t suggest that their clients start a blog without first letting the client know what it takes to be successful and, most importantly, they can’t afford not to know the answer to an issue that could be featured in the blogosphere. * Before starting a corporate or institutional blog, one must have a clear strategy of what it hopes to communicate and understand that the blogosphere has its own & # 147; net-label & # 148; that is to say its own codes, which have implications concerning the updating, the sources of information, the form, the tone of the communication & # 133; and, of course, public comments. We can see that a good idea can produce poor results if the wrong tactics are chosen. In this sense, a blog is just one more tool among the many available for public relations. And, yes, it offers unique possibilities that others don’t. * Make the blog relevant, but be aware that it is a blog. There are people who still think of blogs as newspapers for teens, in part because it’s true. However, this is not something bad at all as it shows how flexible blogging is. Therefore, when starting a blog, one must strike a balance between the characteristics of the blogosphere with the goals of the organization. One cannot do is create irrelevant articles or wait too long to update the blog. If a business doesn’t have the ability to maintain ongoing communication with its audience, whether for strategic reasons or some other kind of legal limitation, maybe a web page is better for its purposes. * Note that results cannot be immediate. This is one of the main challenges that all PR professionals face, not only with blogging, but when using any other tool. In the case of blogging, the challenge is perhaps greater due to the newness of the medium and, in the case of some Latin American countries, the low penetration of the Internet. * Be & # 147; blog evangelists & # 148 ;. You don’t just have to know the blogosphere, you have to be part of it. This is the only way in which a consultant will be able to offer his clients adequate advice. It’s not about being a guru with thousands of hits a day, but it’s about being comfortable with the blogosphere and knowing who-is-who. The only way to persuade someone is to be convinced of what is being preached. The best business card for a consultant who uses the benefits of blogging for an organization should include, besides their email, their blog address. There will be a lot to do, but it could be a good start for the Spanish-speaking PR industry, which does not yet see blogging as a tool with enormous potential. We have to wait and see if the & # 147; blog phenomenon & # 148; which takes place in a number of countries, will spread to the rest of the world. The low penetration of the Internet in Latin American countries, an emerging culture of the use of computers and a different way of understanding social relations, will be the main obstacles that will determine whether this phenomenon spreads as in Anglo-Saxon countries, or perhaps it will be possible for a different movement to emerge with local peculiarities that have not yet been exploited. We will wait and see & # 133; and we better be prepared.