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Monday, February 20, 2006

PW Week predicts blogging revolution will force change in PR

Kate Nicholas’ column in this week’s PR Week ran with the bold headline that blogging will force change in PR.

I agree with Kate’s observations – I don’t think blogging spells the end of public relations professionals altogether, but it certainly does change the dynamics between PRs and journalists, and PRs and their publics. As Kate points out, “it is more likely that we'll see a return to the roots of PR when public relations professionals actually dealt with the public, even if these days it's in a virtual environment.”

Determining how to engage with bloggers still seems to be under debate - do you pre-brief, brief or pitch them like journalists? Do you respond to negative or inaccurate posts consumer-generated media (CGM) in the same way that you would respond to a negative or inaccurate article in the mainstream media? While different companies may implement different policies about dealing with blogs, it is the more progressive companies who are actively monitoring CGM - if you're not aware of a conversation taking place, you can't even begin to participate in it.

Another question is one of how to measure the impact of PR out in the blogosphere. If a company actively wants to engage with bloggers who represent one of their audiences, they need the tools and processes in place to track, measure and evaluate those initiatives.

There are certainly new, sophisticated tools available to do this, for example, the Factiva Insight suite - but I believe that tools are just one part of the broader change in thinking required by public relations professionals to successfully navigate the ever changing media landscape and communicate with their publics in the most effective way.

2 Comments:

Blogger glennfan said...

Mel,
On a related point, I was chatting with a PR professional from (name-withheld), a big agency in the U.S., and was a perplexed to hear his response when I asked "what do you think about how blogs have impacted your industry." He said, "Blogs!? I just don't think they matter much to the PR industry. I just don't get it." Exactly, I thought. Exactly.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Melanie Surplice said...

Glenn,

I agree - it's perplexing alright! There seem to be a couple of vastly differing schools of thought amongst PR professionals about blogs - the camp that thinks they do matter, the camp that are at least aware of blogs and put them in the too hard basket, and the camp that really don't get it.

It's the latter group that are really going to suffer. Denial never helped in a crisis, or in identifying business opportunities.

6:33 PM  

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