The ease with which blogs and podcasts have given just about everyone a voice that can be distributed around the world is a bit misleading and elusive. Starting a blog is incredibly easy and inexpensive; it’s creating content and maintaining its place in the world that gets a tad tricky. That’s why companies — including movie studios — that are considering blogging need to think long and hard about it before they do so. It’s also why experts and advisers who simply use platitudes like “start a blog” and “post daily” aren’t really helping to increase the understanding of what makes blogs such a powerful communications tool; this simplistic advice benefits no one, and can actually lead some companies down the wrong path.

At their heart, that’s what blogs and podcasts are: tools. They give their creators — from the biggest company to the smallest fan — a voice in the conversation. Existing blog creators have started a conversation, so the first decisions a studio should make is if it wants to participate and what voice it’s going to use. These are hard decisions to come to, since it automatically cedes some amount of control to the audience, which can comment, link back to and otherwise opine on the content put forth there. This can be a little scary to some companies, but the potential benefits — increased exposure, the perception that the company has opened itself up — are huge, and can’t be dismissed easily.

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