A number of organizations have quickly embraced social media and web technology to spread information to their employees, customers, policy makers, and the news media. In addition to incorporating a presence on Facebook and Twitter, organizations have dedicated communication capital in developing and maintaining organizational sponsored blogs.
The Air Line Pilots Association, Intl. (ALPA) maintains a blog titled Pilot Partisan. ALPA’s Pilot Partisan blog is dedicated to highlighting the work being conducted on behalf of the over 50,000 ALPA members in advancing a pilot partisan agenda in Washington, DC and Ottawa.
The benefits of having a blog that is maintained internally are many. ALPA is engaged in a number of campaigns striving to improve the airline pilot career and having a single depository for accomplishments, press releases, new developments, or engaging tools to grow a coalition, are easily accessible to the blog’s viewership. ALPA offers a streamlined blog environment with easy access to archived posts and an extensive tagging system that helps viewers quickly find past content. As a membership based organization, ALPA must advertise the Pilot Partisan blog through their traditional media tools – weekly e-mail newsletter and Air Line Pilot magazine. One area that ALPA should consider is improving the visibility of the Pilot Partisan blog from their ALPA.org. Finding the Pilot Partisan blog certainly requires some patience to navigate the primary ALPA.org website. Direct links are offered to the blog from within the weekly e-mail newsletters, but otherwise – no other obvious signs point to the Pilot Partisan website.
Airlines For America, or A4A, is the leading lobbying body for eleven U.S. airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc., American Airlines Inc., and United Continental Holdings Inc. to name a few. Much like ALPA has developed the Pilot Partisan blog environment outside of the home ALPA.org website, A4A has also developed a campaign specific blog titled National Airline Policy.
The National Airline Policy blog is very dynamic with moving top story sections, and compartmentalized subject areas for viewers to browse. In addition to the resources available, the website encourages visitors to connect to the campaign via Facebook and Twitter and to sign a petition to lawmakers encouraging a strong, healthy, and competitive U.S. airline industry.
The campaign’s five priorities are in plain view and are highly visible within a self-contained block within the top right portion of the blog:
The campaign seeks to engage air travelers with elected officials to advocate for an improved regulatory environment for the long-term, and global, success of the U.S. airline industry. An archive of past press releases is available along with quick access to contact information and details about the National Airline Policy campaign goals are readily available within a few clicks of the mouse.
A4A, the National Airline Policy’s developing organization, has clear links to the National Airline Policy blog from their website (www.airlines.org), making it easy for visitors to be informed of the primary campaign of Airlines for America.
In evaluating these two campaigns and their associated blogs, users will be quick to notice that one is easier to get to if you are an outsider – or uninitiated member trying to gain insight into the airline industry or professional pilot career field. Airlines for America make it very clear that they are engaged in an extensive campaign to lobby for their member airlines. ALPA, just off of their front page, fails to provide a direct connection to the Pilot Partisan blog with a single click. Instead, visitors to ALPA.org will need to click-through any number of past news items or press releases before they come across a link to the Pilot Partisan website.
How successful can a campaign be if your intended audience is unable to view, well, the campaign material? All the time spent compiling and then highlighting the work done on behalf of your members may be lost, if, accessing your blog is a cumbersome experience. Increased technology can certainly aid in improving the visibility of the work done by an organization, however website viewers tend to have a short attention span and tend to desire information very quickly. A cumbersome browsing experience can result in lost revenue, reduced readership, and an overwhelming sense of being disconnected from an organization a viewer may have trusted in the past.
Overall, blogs can be a highly beneficial media tool for an organization. Make the blog visible, have engaging content, and cross-link between platforms to increase readership so as to cast a wider social-media gathering net.