A thing I have just learnt: PR & audience awareness

One thing that came out of my impromptu birthday drinks last night was that I needed to record more of what I have been learning in my role as development editor of The Post.

I always think I never have time to write blog posts, but I have been assured two or three paragraphs is enough.

So here is something I have learnt in the last few minutes.

Whilst PR and advertising companies seem to have started to grasp that blogs are a good way to get your message online, they don’t seem to understand that the value in blogs is not the platform per se but the audience they develop around them.

There doesn’t really seem to be an understanding of the value of existing blogs that have a loyal and defined audience that can be tapped into.

I am seeing way too many orgnaisations that are building blogs from scratch (often as an add-on to expensive and unnecessary websites) and then expecting that people will come to them to find the information.

This means many PRs undervalue the benefits of established blogs and expect that (with a freebie trial of their product at most) they can get their message to people in these carefully nurtured communities without paying.

6 thoughts on “A thing I have just learnt: PR & audience awareness

  1. Can you see companies buying established blogs? A new dot-com bubble of sorts? It may have already started, with Facebook being valued in billions of dollars, although it still lacks a viable business model.

  2. I guess it makes sense. As the audience of mass media products declines or stabilises at best, I imagine there will be a scrabble to find products with growing audiences.

    And, as this activity will involve humankind and all its quirky attitudes to risk and reward, I think that will probably create a bubble (if one doesn’t already exist).

  3. Excellent post. I’m a PR person but sad to say that my industry’s response has been too often to apply old world to new media – send press releases to bloggers, buy banner ads in forums, build something and ‘drive’ people to it.

    We always try and explain social media as being like a social situation. Don’t try and drag people out of their meeting place or pitch up and immediately start selling to them.

    Get invited, make yourself useful to the group and build relationships. You learn things that help you make your products better and if you have friends they will tell their friends about you.

    Its actually old fashioned but the old ideas are the best ones:)

  4. On both sides of the fence – journalism and PR – I’ve worked with PRs who’ve stuck up a blog and, as you say, just expect people to read it.

    The classic that sticks in my mind is the one person who, when I pointed out the blog was done on a nondescript blogger template with no inbound or outbound links and virtually impossible to find unless you had a very specific Google blog alert set-up, just said: “I’ve put the information up and people are interested in it. What’s the problem?”

    There are plenty of people in PR who realise, or are coming to realise, that if you want your blog to be successful you have to interact with the community and understand that there are other bloggers out there who know the subject as well, if not better, than you do. Again, you’re spot on – it’s a lot harder than just hitting publish and, viola, creating a blog.

    There are still plenty who have a long way to catch up though, sadly.

    Buying established blogs… now that’s an interesting idea and I can see it working IF the company and blog matched nicely.

  5. Yeah, the way I sum it up to PR’s who bother me is “You need me, more than I need you – in that situation, it’s you that gets to pay to play with me, not the other way round”

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