PR Agencies & Blog Anxiety


Blogs?  We dont need no stinkin blogs!

Blogs? We don't need no stinkin' blogs!

Amazingly, there are still a lot of PR and communications agencies not blogging.

PR agencies have made great strides in using social media and engaging online, including incorporating blogs into their overall media relations. programs. This great news for the firms and their clients. But can PR firms understand blogging without engaging in it?  It is surprising that many agencies – both big and small – have decided not to blog.

As Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher has noted: “One way to check out if a PR firm understands blogging, etc, is to see if they have a blog of their own. Many don’t, or if they do, they post very infrequently, and usually after meetings abut [sic] what they will blog about.”

Foremski, the former FT reporter who has been predicting doom for the PR industry for years, believes that PR agencies that don’t blog, but offer “social media” programs are being disingenuous (my term – Foremski  uses harsher language).

Here is a partial list of PR firms without blogs (at least I couldn’t find one – please correct me if I’m wrong):

There are many more.  As Foremski noted there are also firms that have a blog, but rarely update it.  Of course there are also some very good PR firm blogs out there (a few of my favorites):

I’ve been blogging since 2006 and no other social media platform (be it Facebook or Twitter) has taught me more about the Web. The educational value alone is enormous. Blogging enables engagement with a strong online network of like minded individuals and opens you up to new ideas and new ways of thinking and approaching challenges. It forces you to articulate your own points of view and defend them – or to alter them in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.

In other words, blogging makes you smarter.  It makes you to to think through issues, do your research, and debate your conclusions with a passionate and knowledgeable audience.

For a PR agency, it is also a powerful tool for allowing clients and prospects to see how you think as an organization. Clients can learn what PR strategies and tactics are important to the agency. What are they thinking about?  What issues and trends are they exploring? Who is doing the blogging? What other bloggers are they reading?  Who are they listening to?  Who is commenting?

Barry Hurd at 123 Social Media had a recent post on PR agencies and blogging where he wrote: “My recommendation to any firm (or prospect): These are basic questions that speak entirely to the social media service niche. If any agency claims to be a true “one stop shop of experts”, take the time for some due-diligence and ask some basic questions regarding the expertise.”  He believes that blogging needs to be part of that expertise.

As a client looking for an agency, I’d be suspicious of any PR agency not blogging these days.  I’m not quite sure I understand why some PR agencies choose not to.  Is it a matter of resources?  Or am I missing something.  Is there a legitimate reason why a PR agency shouldn’t blog?

9 Responses to “PR Agencies & Blog Anxiety”

  1. I wrote a blog on the subject awhile back, here is reason number 5 (out of 10 reasons) to switch agencies:

    5. If the agency you are working with does not acknowledge and effectively use social media in conjunction with other marketing techniques, it is behind the times and should be dumped. Expertise and understanding in this area is imperative to success in today’s market

  2. We not only blog, we respond! Thanks for putting PR-Squared from SHIFT in your top 3.

    Actually, fwiw, we have scores of employee blogs, on topics ranging from PR to ending child sex trafficking! We probably ought to publicize that more than we do. It’s kinda “just what we do.”

  3. Ouch George. That old muckraking spirit still lives within you. I must confess it’s tough for me to come down hard in either camp. Yes, it’s great for an agency to have a blog, but the more appropriate question is whether they actually have something to say. Or, for some, whether they have time to say it. Tough to rip someone who is 100% billable and can’t afford (time or money) to go to all the social media events that the “gurus” go to and blog about it. I guess I’d just suggest looking at everything in context.

  4. Hi George,

    Thank you so much for including PerkettPR in your list of “very good” blogs. We appreciate our readers very much because as you said – they are part of learning “new ideas and new ways of thinking and approaching challenges.”

    Blogging, like most social media communities (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) gives us the opportunity to showcase our thinking. As you mentioned, it’s a great way for prospects and clients to better understand our strategic approaches, understanding of the industry, culture and more. With our guest interviews (we have two series; one focused on journalists/analysts and the other focused on entrepreneurs) we have been able to further showcase our relationships and industry support as well.

    I’ll admit that it takes time – and since selling time (and ideas) is how agencies make money, it’s probably a big part of the reason many don’t take the time to blog. Nevertheless, if they looked at the bigger picture, they’d recognize the undeniable long term ROI.

    All my best to you and thanks again,
    Christine
    @missusP

  5. George — This is always a worthwhile discussion, so thanks putting your thoughts out there. Lois Paul & Partners (http://blog.loispaul.com) has been blogging for two years now, and I fully agree with what you say about how it gives us so much valuable and direct knowledge about social media and the web.

    Our approach is the use the blog not just to deliver more value to our clients, but to make it something that will benefit communicators and marketers across any industry.

    Regards,
    Ted
    @tweismann

  6. Hi Scott:
    If you mean I’m not shy about talking about industry issues – you have me there. PR is “public relations” and the biggest revolution happening in communications is on the web. PR agencies can’t afford to sit back like the newspaper industry did and not participate. To do so will mean becoming irrelevant rather quickly.

    Hi Christine:
    I think you’re right on the money. PR business in the 21st century will be lost by NOT being active online.

    Hi Ted:
    I’ll have to check out the Lois Paul & Partners blog. Thanks so much for providing the link and information.

  7. George, thank you for the Topaz Partners shout-out. The simple truth is that blogging works – for us and for our clients. In fact, it’s one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of the PR game these days.

    Good old-fashioned media outreach and relations are still vital, but we’re content creators now, and it’s a substantial and appealing addition to the job description.

    The benefits of blogging don’t end at the URL, either. Blogging helps both us and our clients form and organize our thoughts and opinions about relevant, timely topics. It encourages people to get smarter about the issues that are important to them and to their business.

    This carries over to day-to-day interactions as well — either face-to-face, on email or over the phone.

    Bottom line: it’s all good. Thanks again.

    Tim Allik

    Topaz Partners
    Blog: TechPrGems.com

  8. You are right on the money, Tim.

  9. Hi, very nice post. I have been wonder’n bout this issue,so thanks for posting

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