Blogging lessons for PR practitioners: From my e-mail, I know that among the five people who read this weblog are some PR practitioners who are trying to figure out the role of weblogs in the whole news dissemination process.
Well, here is a small anecdote on that topic from the rexblog files.
A while back, a small business with which I am proudly affiliated, decided to stop sending out press releases (except personnel items and an ocassional big block-buster announcement about, say, changing coffee machine vendors), but still wanted to have a place to record its accomplishments (primarily for the reading pleasure of relatives, potential clients and competitors.) So we set up a page on our corporate website for news items and the ocassional column by staffers on topics related to our business.
Once in a while, I will link from this weblog to one of those press releases when I mention an accomplishment of someone who works at Hammock Publishing. For example, two days ago, I mentioned the re-launch of a magazine new to our company, Ride PWC Magazine, on the rexblog and in that post, linked to the Hammock.com news item.
Yesterday afternoon, when I started receiving phone calls and e-mails about that new magazine from people I know have never visited this blog (nor any blog, for that matter), I became curious about how they knew.
It didn’t take me long to realize the source of their knowledge was a legitimate, reputable, traditional media source who has among its talented pool of reporters one of the rexblog’s five readers. And he thought news that a local company had relaunched a national magazine was worthy of a mention in his publication’s website. And since that news site is heavily indexed by major news search engines, the article sorta spread way beyond the viewership of the rexblog’s obscure place on the web.
As for the role of weblogs in PR, I’m still not sure what, if any, lessons there are in this anecdote for practioners of that craft, except perhaps these:
1. Stop sending out press releases.
2. Recruit a blogger from senior management who will blog constantly with a personal voice and conviction, but rarely say anything about your company.
3. Wait three years and one day an item from that blog may get picked up by a “real” news source.
Of course, I’m joking: It’s more like four years.