On the road again….

Well you may have noticed that PR Opinions was a little quiet last week.  I was on the road and it was difficult to find any time so usual service should be resumed this week.

During the week I was reading Advertising Age and there was an interesting opinion piece from Randall Rothenberg:

“Having reflected on blogs for the better part of two years, and having participated in the sport for a short two months, I am prepared to report that blogging is little more than hype dished out largely by the unemployable to the aimless.”

Now regular readers will know that I don’t subscribe to the counter theory that blogs will change the world as we know it.  However, to discount them completely is inadvisable in the extreme.

Rothenberg does grudingly admit there are a tiny number of influential blogs:

“Do some bloggers have sway? About as much as your average op-ed columnist.  A few even have meager, self sustaining ad-support… but a million monkeys filing second-by-second observations on Web sites would undoubtedly stumble on the real author of Shakespeare’s plays.”

You see, in my mind this opinion is just as valid as the blog bigots who tell us blogging will change the world completely. It’s not realistic and as usual the truth is somewhere between the two poles.

You can’t just discount blogs because they aren’t delivering large amounts of currency at this point.  How many web sites were making actual profitable revenue during the 1990’s? Did that mean websites were a fad? Nope.

Blogs have a role to play in the marketing mix.  At the very least, blogs provide strong search engine optimization capabilities and a well written corporate blog adds interesting, regular content to corporate websites.  Both of these factors alone mean that blogs are something all marketing folks should be aware of.

When you factor in a small but growing number of influential blogs in certain industries – their importance continues to grow.  Blogs will become another tool in the marketing/PR toolbox. Reading some blogs and posting your own blog for two months doesn’t really mean you are an expert… not when you seem to miss the overriding trend that blogs are creating… the emergence of the human voice. I have been writing a blog for quite some time, I have been working with bloggers for quite some time.  It does work.

I provide the same guidance that I always provide.

Evaluate blogs (both blogs you create and blogs that write about your industry) and find out if they have something to offer your business.  If they do, then use them, if they don’t then continue evaluating them. Discounting something because you don’t like it or because it doesn’t fit into a handy category isn’t smart. If you are a marketing professional understanding how your audience is communicating, how they are finding and using information is the very lifeblood of your daily job.  If your audience uses blogs then whether you like it or not, you need to engage them.