Blogger Engagement #1

16 12 2008

Newspaper Boat by marcelgermain.A term frequently used in digital PR circles is ‘blogger engagement’.   Although many blogs are a form of participatory journalism they tend regard themselves as different from mainstream journalism.  Some bloggers are in fact journalists who see blogging as a channel for communicationg their views and opinions directly to the audience without editorial interference.

There has been much debate in PR circles as to whether bloggers are the new journalists.  Personally I think it is interesting that many of the people that say blogging is not journalism also say that digital PR is more or less the same as old style public relations.  Neither is wholly true.

There are thousands of bloggers and most have little relevance or influence.  For many of these people if it is simply about the pleasure and excitement of being able to self publish. For those that operating at the apex of the pyramid I believe that the similarity between what they do and what a good journalist does bears a great deal of scrutiny.

But as author and blogger David Meerman Scott says “Bloggers are not the same as journalists. We don’t have editors telling us what to do. We write about what interests us and we are always on the lookout for things to share.  But it is not our job to write about you and your stuff.”

New Rules of Engagement

4 12 2008


The rules of engagement for PR people have changed with the arrival of user generated content.  If media owners no longer entirely control the content then the principles of PR must change.  The Guardian newspaper has been a prime movers in adapting its product on line.  The recent attacks in Mumbai proved that at the outset there will always be individuals closer to the action than journalists.  The Guardian has made it possible for these individuals to add material and for it to be viewed alongside the work of more conventional journalists.  The commentisfree element of the site the newspaper also permits anyone to add their individual views and opinions.  The Guardian receives over 10,000 postings a day to their site.   This ceding of control by papers means that PR people need to extend their contacts beyond those with journalists. 

Brand rules have also changed.  The first wave of corporate websites were essentially electronic brochures but today the most successful corporate websites engage with their users.  A travel operator that sees the Internet as merely an extension of the holiday brochure with beautiful pictures, flowery copy and no consumers comment will be doomed to ever dwindling site traffic.   Any operator in the sector will also be aware that sites like Tripadvisor play a key role in the holiday booking process for many travellers and that is where the conversations are taking place.

The Press Under Pressure

30 11 2008


Newspapers are in the process of re-inventing themselves as news brands.  In the future they will have to provide news across a variety of platforms, as many already do using podcasts and video as well as on-line editions.  

In 2005, the editor of the Guardian Alan Rusbridger provided an insight into the future of national daily newspapers. Launching a new format for the paper the organisation had purchased new printers – Rusbridger said that he believed they would be the last printers that the paper bought.  This suggests a future for the Guardian and others that will not involve paper at all. 

Falling circulation figures for national newspapers in the UK will mean that some will close others perhaps will merge.  Either way in five years time or maybe sooner we will have fewer national daily newspapers than we do now. 

The news brands may continue but their existence will be a digital one. The 100 year old publication The Christian Science Monitor announced in October that they will move from a print edition to daily and weekly email editions as well as an enhanced weekly digital publication.   

The decline in print newspapers is bound to accelerate.

%d bloggers like this: