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Like large law firms, General Motors learning from its first blog

February 22, 2005

Like large law firms LexBlog is working with, GM wants to learn from its first blog, Fast Lane, before launching launching other blogs.

Neville Hobson, ABC, and Shel Holtz, ABC, a pair of communication professionals and producers of the weekly podcast, The Hobson and Holtz Report, did an 18-minute conversation with Michael Wiley, Director of New Media at General Motors. Neville transcribed the conversation, so you can follow the text while you’re listening to the podcast.

Legal marketing professionals can learn much from GM and their PR blogging efforts. Here’s the highlights of the interview as blogged by Constantin Basturea on PR Meets the WWW.

  • Why the blog: ‘Typical communication is issuing press releases, talking to the media, who re-purpose your messages for you, and there’s no way for customers to get their thoughts back to you. We’ve been wanting to create this direct line of communication so that our various stakeholders aren’t going to message boards to talk about us – they have an opportunity to come and talk directly to us.’
  • New blogs: GM has discussed launching other blogs, but they ‘don’t want a bunch of blogs to proliferate’ and then ‘see dead blogs out there that aren’t properly managed.’ They ‘want to ensure there’s consistent high level communication going on.’
  • The big surprise: ‘I was completely blown away by the level of comments and the thought that goes into those comments. We didn’t know what to expect and in many cases you feel that people have been waiting for years and years to be able to vent their feelings to General Motors, so even the negative ones aren’t sniping, they’re just giving us their sincere feelings and thoughts on what we can do to create better products.’
  • Podcasts: GM is working on a 15 minutes-long weekly program.
  • Video blogging: it’s ‘certainly something that is appealing’ to GM, but they want to make sure they ‘have plain old text blogging down’ before moving on to the next thing.
  • RSS: GM is looking at offering RSS feeds on their media website. They haven’t done it so far because the media is just learning about RSS.
  • Journalists using RSS: ‘A survey shows that about 20% of the journalists are on RSS now, a pretty good number.’ (20%?! Is there a source for this survey?)
  • Internal weblogs: GM is launching its first leadership blog probably on February 25, by Tom Kowaleski, VP of Communications.
  • RSS on intranet: not yet, but considered.
  • Challenges: A lot of the rank and file employees ‘just don’t know what a blog is’.

What’s more amazing than General Motors publishing a blog, is me, a snot nosed kid from rural Wisconsin, sharing the inside scoop on GM’s marketing efforts with the leading legal marketing professionals. Until blogs, there was no way law firms quickly learned marketing from multibillion dollar companies like GM and I sure as heck wasn’t the conduit for such info.

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