If you need to rent a new apartment, buy used golf clubs, hire a babysitter for your daughter, find someone to spend your Saturday night with, discuss world politics, find a new job and have only time to look in one place, where can you look?
Craigslist boasts extensive online classified advertisements and discussion forums for over 550 cities in more than 50 countries. Essentially, anything you are looking for and plenty you are not looking for can be found on this one online resource.
Linked on Craigslist is the Craigslist blog written and updated by CEO Jim Buckmaster. Buckmaster uses the blog to give current news and media coverage about the company. Posting relevant Craigslist issues, good or bad, shows transparency and authenticity in the blog. Buckmaster is not trying to sugarcoat the real issues. He also provides the occasional humorous picture or story. By hearing directly from the CEO, the diverse audience perceives the company as wanting to engage in dialogues regarding current issues. CEO’s have to invest huge time commitments for blogging and risk disclosure of important company information.
In ADWeek , it was suggested that instead of focusing on whether the CEO or employees are posting, it is more important to look at whether the blog is saying something important and interesting to its’ audiences. The CEO’s who are blogging are CEO’s the stakeholders want to hear from. Buckmasters’ blog remains close to topics concerning Craigslist.
Before researching Craigslist, I had no idea there was a real Craig. Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist works as a customer service representative for Craigslist, but he is known in the blogosphere for his blog, CNewmark. His blog provides a real personality to Craigslist. While there are posts about Craigslist, Newmark primarily posts on subjects that are relevant to him, his audience and organizations he wishes to promote. With all the news and spam entering inboxes these days, adding humor to relevant subjects helps Newmark get his message across to readers.
PRWeek interviewed Newmark at the 2008 PRSA International Conference addressing many issues including media relations and the benefits of communicating on the web with accountability and transparency. He calls himself a “community organizer” because he has strived to bring attention to the people who are impacting the world in a positive way. He acknowledges the growth of media as well as how and why companies need to actively engage their audiences.
Peer-to-peer communication, such as Newmarks blog, builds trust because of the direct engagement. Newmark explains how when a company is serious about supporting its customers, they must engage in a dialogue and take ideas from customers seriously. Customer feedback is genuinely important to help a company improve its tactics. Craigslist is driven by community feedback, which accounts for much of its’ success.
Newmark offers PR professionals some suggestions on communicating in the new world of Web 2.0. He suggests becoming familiar with the new tools available and creating an online reputation. Word of mouth is driving all these new practices and PR communicators must join in the conversation.