Blogs Widely Promoted but Relatively Few in the Industry Are Doing It
According to the findings of a recent survey of more than 1,100 PR execs in the U.S. and Great Britain, most agree blogging is important, but relatively few actually participate. The survey conducted by Peppercom Communications and the Bulldog Reporter, was originally designed to find out which country was more advanced in digital marketing. However, consequently a totally different picture emerged.
"Originally, the purpose was to compare and contrast blogging communication practices in the U.S. and the U.K. and identify best practices," said Steve Cody, managing partner and co-founder of Peppercom. "Surprisingly, what was revealed was a level playing field across both countries where a select few are diving into social media, and most are hesitant to start the process."
Among the findings, 84 percent in the U.S. and 74 percent in the U.K. believe blogs have the ability to share information quickly and broadly; and 74 percent in the U.S. and 65 percent in the U.K. believe blogs pose the opportunity to influence public opinion and decision making.
However, 87 percent in the U.S. and 82 percent in the U.K. admit that they (or their clients) do not have an official company blogging policy; and only 37 percent in the United States and 36 percent in the United Kingdom are actually blogging on behalf of their company or client. In fact, 49 percent of respondents don't even bother to monitor blogs; and 63 percent have not adapted their communications strategy to include blogs, message boards, and other forms of digital media.
"The lack of blogging policies speaks to the fact that social media is just not being taken seriously," said Cody.
Even among the respondents claiming to have company blogs, the PR departments at many of these organizations don't take an active role. Fifty-four percent of respondents are not involved in the writing, creative or approval process for corporate blogs.
"Ultimately, what this survey revealed was a need for communication professionals in both countries to step up to the plate and start integrating blogging practices into their strategic approach," said Jacki Vause, managing director of Peppercom's London office. "No one is denying the power of blogs. Now is the time to employ them or risk losing PR's place at the table when it comes to these types of decisions."
WHY THE RELUCTANCE?
One respondent who begged to remain anonymous said, "108 percent of the respondents are scared to death of having their heads handed to them for exposing their companies to the shit storms that corporate blogs invariably invite. 'Risk losing PR's place at the table,' fuck that! I am afraid of losing my house, my boat, my wife and kids and everything else I've ever worked for."
This just into the newsroom... Mark Weiner, President of Delahaye, the research division of Bacon’s Information Inc., one of the world's leading media stalking, spam monitoring and victim evaluation companies, made a startling announcement late last week that is sure to send shockwaves throughout the PR Industry, as well as raise the question of PR liability.
According to the press announcement: "Financial performance proves to be a strong driver of both corporate reputation and volatility in the media, according to the Delahaye Index, a quarterly study of how news coverage reflects and helps to shape the corporate reputations of the 100 largest U.S. companies."
That's not all. This quarter, the Index also uncovered a few things totally unexpected: ""Just as corporate reputation is bolstered by positive news coverage, the Index results also demonstrated the impact of negative financial news. Third quarter results revealed a growing number of companies who suffered at the hands of negative news due to poor financial performance."
Weiner stated, “Since initiating the Delahaye Index in 2002, we have seen the importance of financial news in shaping a corporation’s reputation in the media. The extreme volatility of our third-quarter results indicates just how powerful a driver financial performance is to both positive and negative effects.”
For the record, in PR this is called the water-is-wet press release. Why Wet? Well, not to get too technical but, basically... water is wet so that fish and other ocean, lake and river creatures can move with relative ease. More importantly, we wouldn't be able to drink if water weren't wet. And of course, if water weren't wet, we would NOT be able to flush our toilets. Say no more.
Seriously, water is wet because it is; that's all. Delahaye's release is a total and utterly vacuous Werner Erhard platitude, "Is... is."
But even there, Weiner is NOT going to stick his neck out. Delayaye equivocates. Performance is a "strong" driver. Just in case this whole performance as a driver thing goes south, Weiner has given himself some wiggle room.
Here, this is the problem. PR has strayed from its essential value proposition. See, in the past, the media gave us column space if we gave them news. So, what we did in PR was hold countless billable meetings whose sole purpose was to create the right news to carry client-positive messages. That was the transaction. And if you came to the media with no news, publication inappropriate news or just overly gratuitous news, they would not so graciously tell you to "go scratch."
Now that's changed. If Bacon's (Delahaye's parent company) is going to blast a release out to 10 gazillion people, let alone that one can just put the a release on the Internet, well hell... we can now write whatever we damn well please. As such, we barely need to fake fake news anymore.
The downside of this new flimflam-freedom is that it likely exposes the perp to some liability. See in the case of Delahaye, they tricked me (and countless others) and subsequently took my time. They told me they had news which apparently they did not.
As such, Mark, your company owes me $300. My rate is $400/hr. and you took 3/4 of an hour of my time. Not that it took that amount of time to read the release. It took that amount of time for the hoax to stop pinging around the inside of my brain.
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
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