Guest Posts From My Favourite Bloggers : Dan Webb – The Next Future CEO of Some Airline Somewhere

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23/09/2009 – Guest Posts From My Favourite Bloggers : Dan Webb – The Next Future CEO of Some Airline Somewhere

As a photographer, traveller and airline industry geek there are a few blogs I read on a daily basis. With the broad range of readers that Flying With Fish attracts I’d like to introduce to you folks to the bloggers I follow.

Today’s guest post on Flying With Fish comes from Dan Webb.  Simply put, Dan is an up and coming airline industry prodigy. While only in his sophomore year in college, Dan knows many of the major industry influencers; is respected among experience industry insiders; has managed to snag 1-on-1 interviews with major industry players such as Southwest Airlines’ CEO; and has his blog published among some major industry blogs on (Flying With Fish is also a BoardingArea blog). I have a feeling we’ll see Dan making his way up the industry food chain rapidly once he officially starts his career…

Here is Dan’s guest post…

Why Airlines Should Respect Bloggers…and How Bloggers Can Earn that Respect

Fish was kind enough to write a guest post for me when I was away on vacation this year, so when he asked me to write over here, I was happy to oblige!

For those who haven’t read my blog in the past, you might not know much about my background. I’m a college sophomore who decided to start blogging about the airline industry after high school graduation because of my dorkiness. With that background in mind, you can probably imagine that it was a bit tough to get airlines to answer my questions. First, I was a brand-new member of the “new” media, and a young member at that!

So, today I’ll share why I think it’s important for airline to listen to plane dorks like Fish and me, and how new bloggers can get at least get some answers out of press offices. Some airlines are nicer than others when it comes to bloggers. I’ve had the most success with Alaska, Southwest, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue, and US Airways.

I was going to make a list of why the airlines should pay attention to bloggers, but everything I listed came back to the same thing: we love our subject! Let’s be honest here: blogging is not exactly the best way for one to become independently wealthy. Airplane geeks do this out of pure love for the subject. Paula Berg, Manger of Emerging Media for Southwest Airlines, seems to agree with this assessment:

The aviation bloggers do it because they truly love aviation, so they bring a unique level of enthusiasm and knowledge to the table.  Often, I learn as much from them as they do from me.  We have a shared passion, and that makes it fun to work together.

Unlike some beat reporters out there, we have an interest an unnatural obsession with what we write about. We don’t have word limits. We’re not expecting you to give us quick soundbytes. If you have a long explanation about something, we’ll share it!

But another reason to pay attention to bloggers is that many have developed a serious following, and many readers of airline blogs are fellow geeks that are also frequent flyers. If an airline’s customers are reading blogs, shouldn’t airlines try to ensure that accurate information about them is being shared in the blogosphere?

Jon Ostrower of Flight International, in my opinion, is one of the best aviation journalists out there, and he started out as a blogger that self-published. When I asked him why companies should listen to bloggers, he wrote: Bloggers provide important links to your customers, often giving them a voice or a platform where they wouldn’t otherwise be able to communicate and feel as though they are being heard. Blogs are an amplification of opinion, but bloggers give voice to concerns, complaints and even praise held by many.

But Jon made another great point: Just as brands need to earn the respect of their customers, so do bloggers. Trust is bestowed and not automatic. Both have to work to seek that trust, which not only comes from speaking, but listening.

Bloggers need to earn respect from both readers and airlines, and the key to earning that respect is professionalism: every post should be written respectfully, with no glaring spelling or grammar errors. Content is very important as well – bloggers shouldn’t just copy and paste press releases. Including some kind of analysis shows the blogger’s knowledge and expertise.

Simply put, more airlines should be respectful of bloggers, but considering how easy it is for one to start a blog, authors need to show airlines why it’s worthwhile to work with them. Constant professionalism paired with knowledge of subject matter is the best (and only) way to earn this respect.

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