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Blog Advice: Target Should Find, Listen, Engage And Empower

Steve Rubel
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-05

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Robert Scoble is meeting with the Target Corporation this morning and is asking the blogosphere for advice for the retail giant.

Here are some ideas I think Target should consider. They fit within our agency's Micro Persuasion philosophy of find, listen, engage and empower...

Find: As Robert says, Target should identify its most influential online evangelists and vigilantes and potential evangelists and vigilantes. Using PubSub and Feedster are a start, but I would not ignore Google too. At CooperKatz, we score each in-bound blog link/mention on a qualitative assessment scale from one to ten via a customized brand blog barometer. Target should be doing this as well.

Listen: Once Target knows who its influencers are, it needs to listen to them actively. The company needs to view each blog post as legitimate feedback. More importantly, it needs to identify what are the most powerful currents of conversation in the blogosphere - e.g. the ones that are the most relevant to the company and its products/services. I call this a company's "higher holy calling." Only after Target has completed find and listen, will they be ready to engage and empower.

Engage: Target has lots of opportunities to launch blogs that will help them engage in a dialogue with their constituents. Here is just a sampling…

  • The Designer's Blog - One of the most obvious is its Designer's Boutique. Here, Target showcases leading designers like Michael Graves and Isaac Mizrahi. Why not have these thought leaders blog together on the Web site? I'd love to hear why they're working with Target and what their vision is.

  • RSS Coupons - Target should start customized RSS feeds that alert consumers when new items that match their interests are on sale. This will drive people to the web site and the stores.

  • Target is big on giving back to the community. Several sections of its web site are devoted to it. Target could create local blogs for each of its core markets that chronicle how they help the community and, more importantly, starting conversations with them on how they want to be helped.

  • Empower: At the highest level, Target should use the blogosphere to empower people to tell stories. And what better people to empower than those they have helped through their corporate giving programs. Target already has a Flash-enabled section of their web site where they give people they have helped a voice. This is a good start, but why not also empower them to lead a conversations? Right now the stories are static. Bring them to life!

    These are just my thought-starters. What are yours?

    Robert Scoble
    Target Corporation
    Starting a conversation with Target

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    About the Author:
    Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

    He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

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