The State of Blog Relations

This mightn’t be news to you, but it was news to me.

APCO Worldwide has been working on a project for the US Council of PR Firms to understand the perspectives of PR firms and bloggers.

The findings make interesting reading.

The finding below in particular amazed me.

25% of bloggers surveyed agreed with the statement: “Our firm (sic) does a good job identifying the specific interests of individual bloggers and sending them relevant information.”

Wow! That’s not my experience….

Have a read of the study.

I found the report via Susan Getgood’s post: "PR People: Do your homework before you reach out to bloggers".

Also a recommended read…


UPDATE: I tell you this Interweb is fantastic.  No sooner had I pushed the publish button, than Paull Young was in touch to point me to Robert French’s take on the survey…


Well, to me this story is a placement for a bit of publicity … and a sad one, at that. Come on, APCO and CPRF … what were you thinking? It is one thing to be transparent … another to be able to see right through you!

Is this really what you folks call survey research? You really want to hang your hat on this? If so, we’re all in deep trouble. The About page tells more, yet raises more questions than it provides answers.

The report is still interesting reading, just don’t build your business plan on it! :-)


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No one is a twit…

As someone who has been dipping their (lurking) toe into Twitter recently (and to extend the metaphor needlessly: pulling it out rather regularly), I’ve been interested to read some opinions on this, our latest source of information overload…

Allan Jenkins points to a very interesting story on Ragan: "How to use Twitter (and whether to bother)" [There’s an interesting video vignette from Shel Holtz as a sidebar to the article as well as a lot of commentary at the end of the post]

Allan also provides some of his own thoughts on using Twitter.


PS: If you are kicking Twitter’s tyres you might also be interested in Darren Rowse’s post: "How I Use Twitter to Promote my Blog".

PPS: TechCrunch has called out an interesting new Twitter service: Quotably. Quotably turns the Twitter stream into a threaded conversation. [Disclosure I haven’t had time to test it, but for an old fart like me it sounds like a great idea :-) .]

RSS catch up… very miscellaneous

I’ve been trying to catch up on loads of orphaned RSS feeds and stuff I filed to read later and most of it I’ve just deleted but some things I did enjoy…

  • You can’t beat common sense.  It’s a commodity often in short supply, but I really like this video post from Shel Holtz on how to blog in a regulated environment.


  • One of the downsides of tardy RSS management is that often you miss little gems.  Kami points to a blog called NakedPR by Jennifer Mattern which takes a pretty… how do I put this.. pragmatic look at PR and especially online PR. There’s some really interesting opinions but unfortunately it looks like Jennifer is calling it a day. [On the plus side Bill Sledzik looks worth a read]


  • Marshall Kirkpatrick’s post on identifying the top blogs in a niche is also worth a read, it’s the first question people have.  "How do I find these people?" Of course I also recommend that people get off their backside and go talk to their audience….


  • If like me you’re struggling with your day job and haven’t quite got around to mobilizing social networking for your campaign yet, then Todd Defren’s post on Social Networking is recommended. It’ll definitely get you thinking.

Angry journalists… and more on Twitter

The Bad Pitch blog has unearthed a fascinating site I hadn’t heard of before: which provides a welcome facility for journalist to vent about what’s bugging them.

While there’s plenty of venting about PR, I was actually surprised there wasn’t more.  Unfortunately the site is anonymous and there’s no tags or categories so you just have to wade through the comments, but it’s an interesting browse…

PR people who don’t do their research. They insist on wasting my time to promote their pathetic story which if they knew ANYTHING about our paper would know that we’re not interested at all. As well as asking if I would like to meet with a representative from their organisation when they visit a town four hours away from me.

They’re probably getting paid more than me too…bastards.


Kevin Dugan who runs the Bad Pitch blog, has also pulled together an incredibly detailed list of links to resources and tips on Twitter.  The depth of the tools, tips, workarounds took me a little by surprise, but then I’m still struggling with twitter.

Cleansing your online reputation…

Just stop for one moment. 

Think about where people go to find out about your company, your client, your product, your service or your industry.

It’s pretty straightforward.

They use a search engine.

Search Engines are incredibly important in ensuring that your company is top of mind among current and prospective clients.

I’m always amazed at how few PR people think about search engines. Understanding Search Engines, IMHO, is central to understand how you manage online reputations – and drive business.

But there’s another side to Search Engines….

There was a very interesting story in yesterday’s UK Sunday Times entitled "Smeared on the internet? Call in the cleaners".

Firms such as Reputation Defender (US), Tiger Two (UK) and Distilled (UK) offer services which promise to ensure that the top search results about you are positive.

This isn’t just simple search engine optimisation however. 


The services ensure that only friendly entries appear on the first few pages of results when a client’s name is run through search engines such as Google.


It’s reputation cleansing.

Reputation Defender charges $25,000 per year for the basic service rising to $300,000 for the premium version..


Michael Fertik, chief executive of Reputation Defender, said one of his clients was an academic psychologist in London anxious to “bury” the fact he had written about his own depression.

“Demand for the service is extremely high. Almost all our customers are private individuals and our top clients are high-pro-file business people,” said Fertik.

"They just don’t get it"… or is it me?

No one phrase chills my blood more than the declaration: "they just don’t get it".  It’s remarkable how often you hear it.  I find the closer you are to a particular ivory tower, the more often it occurs.

Translated it means "it’s all about my views", if they disagree they’re stupid. It’s anathema to good communication. [As of course is using words like ‘anathema’ – don’t worry I spot the irony!]

The other thing that never ceases to amaze me is you can take one bit of research.  Publish it to 1,000,000 people and you will get 500,000 different "findings" drawn from the same data.

If you work in PR, you probably have a good insight into research.  But that doesn’t mean that research findings aren’t interesting.

Some examples from Edelman Trust Baramoter

  • Higher trust (on the whole) in business than in government
  • Highest ever levels of trust in traditional media (be still my beating heart)
  • Young respondents relying on social media (Wikipedia the #2 source of credible information – and young people have higher levels of trust across most media types… oh my lord…)
  • 85% of respondents will pass along good or bad experiences of a company
  • News is the #1 online destination – usurping shopping
  • Blogs are a trusted source among only 14% of respondents (the word "only" is my emphasis)

Another interesting piece of research I came across is from Rajar (Radio Joint Audience Research) in the United Kingdom which found that 18% of people have started listening to more live radio since they started subscribing to podcasts.

What do all these statistics mean?

Search me.

My take is that all this research, in my opinion, underlines that communications, media and audiences are a complex, interrelated set of elements.  There isn’t one right answer.  There’s significant differences between geographies and age groups, between online and traditional media.

Which brings me back to my headline. 

Beware the emperor’s couture. There isn’t a one size fits all.  The reality is that, with some specialist exceptions, good and effective communication requires us to work with traditional and online media, traditional and online channels and traditional and online tools.

In summary, more work :-)

The revolution isn’t coming – but the evolution is.

You can download the full Edelman Trust Barometer report here and the key findings here.

Ireland specific

If you’re interested in the specific Irish findings jump over to Piaras.

PR & Twitter…

I have spent a lot of time knocking Twitter over the past twelve months. (In fact I think it’s fair to say that I’ve probably been less than complimentary about it in every single talk I’ve given…)

About a month ago, I decided to delve a little deeper into it.  I downloaded some software and have been lurking ever since. (Not very Web 2.0 of me I admit).

It’s certainly interesting.  There’s some good discussion and you get a lot of fantastic links to information, blog posts etc. You could think of it as an additional "RSS" feed if you like.

Having said that, I haven’t yet mastered the whole "participation" element. I am still struggling with yet another channel, more information and I’m not sure I have anything terribly interesting to add in between e-mail, RSS, meetings etc. But that’s a work in progress….

The reason for the post, is that if like me, you still don’t get Twitter then there’s two interesting posts about how Twitter might be useful from a PR perspective – I think the jury is still out on the longevity of the medium, but these are worth a read in terms of putting some perspective on how Twitter can help in online communication/networking:

I will never tire of saying that you need to build your network, and its trust in you, before it can work for you. Any venture into Twitter starts with a small network, and an unclear view of how you will get value. However, as you stay with it, and find more relevant contacts through your current group.

For me the biggest issue remains time.  The biggest challenge of "Web 2.0" (sigh) isn’t "…the death of <fill in your choice here>" but rather the management of time, resources and brain power.

Twitter is certainly interesting and *perhaps* it  will become an essential for all PR pros.

In the meantime I need to start thinking what I’ll get rid of.

No more excuses for not using RSS…

NewsGator has announced that they are releasing their FeedDemon (Windows Desktop), NetNewsWire (Macs) NewsGator Inbox products free of charge.

I’m a long time FeedDemon user and these are fantastic products for using RSS – which let’s not forget is a fantastic time saver.

Neville Hobson posted about how he uses NewsGator last week.

Do yourself a favour and go to the NewsGator site.

Award-winning RSS readers are now FREE!

Are you a Moofer?

In terms of discussing "Online PR" we often focus on the difference of the delivery mechnism (paper versus bytes) but we’ll also have to build a deeper understanding of how people are using, receiving and sharing those bytes.

We’re all more mobile these days, whether you are tethered to your Blackberry, Windows Mobile device or iPhone, you can read and respond to e-mail, search the web, read RSS and even Instant Message standing in a queue.

How will that impact how people use information?

There was an interesting article in the UK Sunday Times last weekend on the emergence of the Moof’er (Mobile out of office worker).

According to the Sunday Times:

"Welcome to the brave new world of the moofer – or mobile out-of-office worker. Look around: you’ll see them conducting deals, holding meetings or finding inspiration at a coffee shop, hotel lobby, airport lounge or park bench near you. This new generation of young, tech-savvy workers live their business lives in nomadic fashion, wherever they can find a wi-fi connection – and they don’t believe in the traditional nine to five. Many are entrepreneurs running their own internet-based companies, but they could be management types working for big firms and often away from the office, media consultants out and about meeting clients or freelance writers."

It appears that Moofing is the way of the future:


"A recent survey commissioned by the Work Foundation and Microsoft found that 78% of people believed working away from the office was the future, with more than half saying they would be happier if there were a greater element of mobile working in their job. Meanwhile, the Future Laboratory, a trend forecaster, predicts that 5.5m people will be using technology to work away from the office by 2012."




It’s certainly something we should be thinking about.  How many press rooms are mobile ready? Is your blog mobile friendly? Mine isn’t….