Why should people read your blog?
If they are interested in what public relations really is, as opposed to just social media, media relations, publicity or marketing. It focuses on how the PR profession is changing because of technology, society and the internet, but also how the fundamentals haven’t really changed. In fact, social media actually means PR can go back to its roots.
What makes your blog different?
Probably it’s longevity. There aren’t many PR blogs that have been going for ten years and are still publishing today. It’s also not afraid to express an opinion and is focused mainly on ‘serious’ public relations – corporate communications, CSR, public affairs, crisis communications etc – rather than just consumer related PR (which I do cover, but only if really good – or bad!).
What’s your favourite blog and why?
Very difficult to isolate just one as there are so many that I enjoy. For PR blogs one that I always read if there is a new post in my RSS feeds is Murphy’s Law by Tom Murphy. Tom doesn’t post very frequently, but when he does it’s nearly always to say something sensible about the public relations profession and he never gets carried away by some of the hype that you see on much more high profile ‘PR’ blogs.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a blog?
It’s far harder to build an audience today than when I started 10 years ago as there is far more competition. There are lots of brilliant PR blogs, but lots of mediocre ones and audience/profile doesn’t always reflect how good they are. Some ‘PR’ blogs have a large readership because they frequently cover more popular, but off topic subjects such as technology or social media (general tips and the latest news, rather than how PR professionals can use it).
How does a good PR work with you?
Give me something that is relevant to PR professionals, especially if it has a corporate, CSR, public affairs, B2B angle rather than simple consumer. It might be research or even technology. Give me it in plenty of time. The blog isn’t my job so I can’t always publish things quickly. If other PR bloggers have already covered it then I probably won’t. The best way is to give me it well in advance with an embargo which gives me time to write my post and publish it at the same time as other people (or, even better, slightly before if they are happy for me to do that).
This year I’m also going to be publishing guest posts so now is the time to pitch me with ideas.
And not do any of the bad things below!
What do PRs do that’s bad?
Number one is irrelevant pitches that are off topic, particularly if they try and make it sound relevant by referencing a recent post I’ve made. Far too crude. Second is silly mistakes such as getting my name wrong (first name is Stuart, not Bruce), spelling, grammar etc. Third is not providing enough information. A short email pitch is fine, but must have links to lots of background (written) and collateral to support a blog post – photos, infographics, video etc. I won’t want to reply or contact them until I know I’m actually interested.
Finally, the one that I find inexplicable is lack of follow up or response. Last year I had a gadget to review, which I couldn’t get to work. I put it to one side expecting the PR to come back and ask what I thought or why I hadn’t posted a review. I just found the gadget while targeting the office and I’d had zero follow up from the PR. Although they had pitched me again and offered another gadget later in the year!
What was your blogging highlight of 2013?
My most popular post by far was Public relations isn’t part of marketing.
What will be big in your blogosphere in 2014?
Last year was meant to be the year of video, but it didn’t really happen for PR blogs. This year I expect to see more PR bloggers using video, hopefully including me if I stick to my New Year’s resolutions!