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Wal-Mart’s blog strategy backfires : Large law firms take note

I am not the only one that thought Wal-Mart’s attempt to improve its image by sending off press releases to bloggers was a half backed idea.

A Motley Fool column describes Wal-Mart’s blog strategy a total failure.

Wal-Mart’s strategy to repair its public image through the blogosphere has resoundingly backfired. News like this makes the company sound sneaky and underhanded, out to launch the equivalent of a corporate propaganda campaign, which of course fires up Wal-Mart’s detractorseven more. Meanwhile, bloggers who don’t disclose their relationships with certain entities or individuals lose a heck of a lot of credibility,tarring the entireblogosphere by association, and making blogs seem that much less reliable as a source of information.

Large law firms and professional service firms, not necessarily to repair their image, are beginning to use blogs for marketing and PR. Some of the large law firms will describe it is just an experiment. They may hire a web developer with little, if any, experience on the blogoshere. At best their blog experiment will fail. At worst they’ll embarrass their firm.

The message to these firms. If you’re launching blogs, use someone who is active on the blogosphere. That does not mean a company that just has a blog but a company whose principals are regularly interacting with other professionals in the legal (if law firm), professional services, development, design, and Internet marketing profession.

As an aside, Wal-Mart used a PR firm, Edelman, with some blog experience. They’ve now added Steve Rubel, one of the best, if not the best in blog PR & marketing. I doubt the Wal-Mart backfire would have happened if Rubel had been on board at the time.

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