Journalists Evangelize Blogs as PR People Doze Off

    January 28, 2005

VC Jeff Nolan sat in on a panel discussion yesterday hosted by Burson-Marsteller with Business 2.0’s …

Business 2.0’s Om Malik, stand-alone journalist” Chris Nolan (a longtime friend o’Steve and no relation to Jeff), Reuters reporter Duncan Martell, and Fortune reporter Fred Vogelstein. The topic was how blogs are reshaping corporate communications. Just listen to what Jeff wrote

    “What struck me about the discussion is this:

  1. Despite all of the press, very few of these communication people are actively reading blogs and RSS feeds. Even fewer are actually writing blogs… 2 hands went up when the question was asked.
  2. The tendency is to boil down entire groups of blogs to the top few that are widely read, which ignores the greater mass.
  3. There’s a fixation with blogs versus the media. The media business is just that, it’s a business that is going to have to evolve in order to compete effectively in the future with electronic media. It’s not an ideology and it’s not going away.

My advice to professional marketing communication people is to get engaged with blogs now by reading and observing. Learn the etiquette and patterns before deciding to tackle strategy for dealing with blogs.

The creed of the professional communications executive over the years has been to control the message. Get over it because their is no chance you can do that in today’s world. At best you can shape a message by guiding and honestly responding to blog content where appropriate.

Putting press releases out as blog material isn’t going to work either. I know this won’t surprise many people, but NOBODY READS PRESS RELEASES ANYMORE. In fact, in many of the companies we are invested in we don’t bother putting out releases on PR Newswire anymore, they just go up on the website and maybe somebody searches on it, but even if they do it’s not like a PR is going to be taken seriously.”

Sure sounds like I could have written this post! Nevertheless, it really saddens me. Despite all the buzz about blogs and their tremendous potential, it seems like many PR professionals and marketers even in the Valley are fast asleep.

What’s worse, those who at least read blogs are trying to apply old-school metrics like the number of subscribers a blog has to what’s really a new world of micro influence. Pulllease. Somebody get me a bigger megaphone!

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.