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Weblogs for PR – plenty of opportunity awaiting

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The initial findings of the EuroBlog 2006 survey on weblogs and communication management were published Tuesday, offering some interesting analysis on the state of awareness and acceptance of blogs by the PR community across Europe.

The survey was carried out online last November and December, and nearly 600 PR pros from over 33 European countries participated (I was one of those), according to the organizers.

Some commentary has already begun appearing in PR blogs – especially an excellent overview analysis by Philip Young, one of the driving forces behind EuroBlog 2006 – which largely focuses on the divide between those in the PR community who ‘get it’ and those who don’t. Well, no surprises there.

The survey has some useful stats on why PR practitioners haven’t gone for blogs in a bigger way (top reason: 31.3% of respondents saying the benefits from blogs are unclear to them) or the factors limiting the take-up of blogs (top reason: 44.4% of respondents citing their inability to control the communication content – definitely no surprise there).

This reflects what I hear all the time when I’m speaking to PR agencies – a group of people who, in my experience and broadly speaking, have the same needs for information and knowledge about new media channels as any other group of people or organization.

What I found most interesting in this survey was the stats about how the respondents see the opportunities for and from blogs.

Look at this slide:

The top reason given is surprising to me in that it doesn’t reflect what I hear PR people saying in conversation – what I hear are words similar to “receiving feedback from the audience” which came in last on the slide above, or “reaching new audiences”, coming in halfway up.

Perhaps that disparity is a lot to so with the corporate-speak I hear too frequently and the real thinking individual people are willing to share when taking a survey like this.

So now we know – PR agencies want to be seen as being cool ;)

I’d like to see the detailed results before further commentary. A PDF of the initial results is available now for download.

Detailed findings about the survey will be presented to a symposium “Public Relations and Social Software: Meeting the Challenges of Weblogs, Podcasts, Wikis and RSS,” to be organized by Euprera (the European Public Relations Research and Education Association) and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart, Germany, from 16-18 March, where academics from across Europe will discuss ways of taking the research forward.

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.

Weblogs for PR – plenty of opportunity awaiting
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