Tag Archives: blog

The value of blogs in the PR mix

value of blogs
The value of blogs should not been overlooked for those seeking advantage online

A day or so ago I was talking with a PR colleague about her challenge gaining additional coverage for a client that was proving more problematic than she expected.

I replied, “Was she targeting blogs?”

Key business and trade press titles and nationals still have the cache in terms of prestige for many clients and by extension PR suppliers.  How can the IoD magazine or The Daily Telegraph compare?

This sentiment is especially true for higher end professional services such as finance, and is understandable to some extent.

However, the value of blogs can be overlooked in the on-going challenge of securing coverage.  Here is a selection that should be considered:

Google profile – many blogs have been long established, regularly updated, and so entries when published often gain a high ranking for key terms (although this certainly varies according to the search words).

Links – Click-throughs from interested readers are fantastic of course.

But it is the de facto approval of your site (and post) helping push sites up the rankings that counts perhaps more.

I am just completing a campaign where there are around 50 links to the client’s website.  It is this rather than the profile building through editorial, although welcomed, which the client most values.

TrustTechnorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere report has found that far from distrusting blogs, as many as 30% of readers do trust blogs and moreover trust them as much as traditional media.

What is more this is double the trust afforded to other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Some 20% say blogs are their first source of news.

Quality – Traditional media does have the quality control in terms of material and delivery (in most cases) by the use of sub-editors, editors and legal teams to check quality of content including grammar, spelling and substance – it is something that blogs cannot claim in the main – there is no filter to sift through what is worth considering for the reader.

Nevertheless around a third of all blogs according to Technorati’s survey have worked in traditional media, over 20% still work in that capacity to some degree, so there are some high quality blogs out there.

Reaching the readership – There are currently over 180 million blogs according to NM Incite, a Nielsen / McKinsey company.  So there are plenty of opportunities to find a large broad based readership or an exact niche to fit a very specific brief.

Blog talk at Manchester Business Breakfast Club

Artisan will be giving a talk about blogging at Manchester Business Breakfast Club this Friday.

It’s just an introduction so businesses can understand what blogging is all about and judge if it will be of help to their enterprises.

Manchester Business Breakfast Club is all about networking, members helping members to grow their businesses through referrals, advice and sometimes direct supplier relationships.

The club has 35-40 members and about 25 attend at any one meeting.  The club is always looking for new members, including:

Architects

Recruitment professionals

Arts venues

Surveyors

Couriers

Hotels

Leisure (although we have a football club, none other than Wigan)

If you are interested in coming along please leave a message or e-mail.

Key difference in pitching to bloggers

I don’t need to say how important bloggers are in modern communications, but if you have any doubts I picked up the following stats from the Future Buzz blog:

  • 133,000,000 – number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002
  • 346,000,000 – number of people globally who read blogs (comScore March 2008)
  • 900,000 – average number of blog posts in a 24 hour period (seems a bit low)
  • 77% – percentage of active Internet users who read blogs

This naturally presents a golden opportunity to convey your message.  And if you have a very sector specific target audience there is bound to be a multitude of blogs that will cover the topic.

Yet, I still hear of companies and agencies that go about pitching the wrong way.

It is certainly harder to pitching to bloggers than a journalist (although there can be a correlation).

The media needs stories.  The media relies on PRs to supply those stories / interviewees on a regular basis, it has a continuous appetite.   A relationship with a journalist is very helpful but not essential for getting your release or article published.

A blogger does not need a PRs’ stories, of course they need material but that can come from a number of sources.  A blogger might post every day, week, month – there is not the same pressure generally to deliver content.  Gaining coverage with a blogger relies far more on relationships.

It is a different dynamic: a journalist is paid to generate content for an organisation, a blogger tends to be working for him or herself, often for nothing, and they can relate to their blog in a very personal way.

(With way over 100 million blogs these observations can be nothing but generalisations, there are bound to be exceptions but I think they are rough guidelines nevertheless).

For me the key difference is that I can pitch to a media channel whether I have or not in the past worked with them, it is not too important if I have a good idea or subject – I would not do the same with a blogger.

The key, I believe, to taping into the blogosphere is spending the time to develop relationships, learn about individual blogs.

Use Twitter to initiate a conversation.  Better still if your client has a blog leave (relevant insightful) comments on the target blog.  It will help show you have some knowledge of social media, which will help gain acceptance, it will show interest and it might make the blogger feel that they are obliged to reciprocate.  It is a first step in the pitching process.

So, for me, it is the conversation before that really counts.  Of course you might contact them directly and succeed with a brazen salesy press release, but you might be deleted as spam more likely.

And remember, if you have developed a reputation though social media or indeed traditional media then you might find that you are pulling in interest from bloggers.

This all takes time and that is where it goes wrong: PRs and clients don’t often have the luxury of time.

Hot off the live blog

The Liverpool Daily Post, Echo and sister Merseyside based launched its real time newsroom today.

A behind the scenes look crossed with news hot off the keyboard.  It is billed as a live blog, one that allows comment as stories to flow – I think it has a Twitter feel to it as well.

It looks like it will be a valuable tool for PRs to interact and engage and follow the journalists.

Thanks to Craig McGinty for another nice spot.

Post Script

North West online business title Business Desk announced its arrival on Twitter on Monday as did the Liverpool Daily Post, last week.

Blogging ROI – is it just about monetary return?

blogging ROI
Blogging ROI – financial return is one of many measures that should be analysed.

Blogging ROI – what constitutes success?

I saw an interesting article on Drew B’s take on tech PR about measuring the return on a business blog. Unfortunately, the premise of analysing a return on investment made me a bit queasy.

Yes, business investment should try to be measured, but the Forrester article that Drew quoted and linked to missed the point for me.

It’s all about communication!

It’s about establishing relationships and reputation – being recognised as a leader or a least a voice in your industry or field.

What price reputation? What price building strong relationships?

Yes a lead would be great, but it’s far from the only consideration.

Forrester kindly let’s us see a model of how to measure the metrics. I have my Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma and post grad marketing qualifications. These models are only a guide and nothing more.

Sometimes the best in any profession do not practice and work hard because they want to win a championship or be rich. They work hard because they enjoy it and it gives them pleasure; the riches and rewards are a bonus.

Yes, for B2B blogs and other sectors bottom line is important and why not?  Yet, a blogging ROI must include a number of metrics.

Surely the best blogs are driven by that rather than one dimensional financial or marketing calculation.