There is a lot of cheering out there for this stuff – Naked Conversations: Chapter 7: Survival of the Publicists – but its hard to see why:
The end result is a large number of people see the PR practitioner in the way of the truth, someone who guides company spokespeople to mislead or at a very minimum, control the message to the advantage of the company, not the public who feels it has a right to know what’s going on.
This ignores the reality that PR is about communication – some are not good at it – but PR has always been about getting information out in a way that advances the cause of the company. I can’t imagine companies setting up blogs to get out information that damages their interests.Do you have examples of a company encouraging its employees to blog against the interests of the company, now that would be revolutionary.
Bloggers enjoy a reverse image. They write in the plainest of language—so unrefined that postings sometimes scream for a good edit.
All bloggers are honest and always tell the truth – how naive do you have to be to buy that one.The image of bloggers beyond the blogosphere is trite they are seen as teenagers, ranters, pyjama-clad obsessives, nutters and so on. Bloggers do not have a good reputation, or any reputation at all, among the general populace. This inability to take a broad perspective is a major flaw in this chapter.
Blogs just get posted by a single, approachable person (as opposed to the ‘authorised’ media release).
Does Robert Scoble blog on behalf of Microsoft, does anyone? Does Microsoft leave it to bloggers to announce corporate strategies, new products, financial results and so on without talking to anyone else in the organisation. Just go for it, no rules? I don’t think so.
The only PR involvement was Scoble requested—and received— PR agency permission before he publicly cited his CEO Steve Ballmer’s internal document.
The only? Has Scoble ever made a request rejected by the PR agency (what did he do after the rejection), and why does he need their permission? And what about all the bloggers sacked for writing about their companies? Even if Scoble’s experience has been uniformly positive, is that true of other companies?
While traditional PR most certainly has the ability to amplify, the difference is that, in blogging, receivers decide what gets amplified. In traditional PR campaigns it’s the senders and their budgets.
In traditional PR the receivers are journalists and they decide what gets amplified not the PR person.
Indeed, may (Sic) people have come to call the traditionalist PR practitioners the “command and control” school.
Who? What evidence do they have that PR people ‘command and control’, some days I have wished this was true, but it ain’t.
How does Waggener Edstrom adapt? The PR agency e-mails Microsoft’s bloggers, giving them the information and having them serve as a global distribution system of company news.
A great way for traditional PR to incorporate blogging in their traditional strategies? I suspect this is the real story. Like IBM, many companies will encourage employees to blog good news and promote the company, and boost its performance.
Noel Hartzell, at Sun Microsystems says cultures will determine which PR teams will evolve and which will not. “Our PR team is thinking about how to use technology and culture as a corporate weapon and blogging does both. We help feed the right information into the right channels. What could be better for a PR organization than blogs,” he said.
Yep. They’re all at it. Same old. Same old. Are bloggers so gullible that they just rush off and spruik whatever the PR company feeds them?
Rubel has found himself catapulted into a position of great influence somewhat to his surprise and his innovative programs for clients may elevate also to guru status.
Oh please! Rubel has been working his butt off to get himself elevated to guru status, good luck to him. But it didn’t just happen! In fact his rise shows how a PR person can use blogs to promote his most important client, himself.
This, it seems to us, changed the traditional PR role. Instead of standing as a gatekeeper in the middle of the conversation, Rubel connected the parties then stepped back to let them talk directly without him.
Every PR person does that – its called an interview.
Rubel posted several blogs at Micro Persuasion and in characteristic humility
Rubel remains the sole CooperKatz blogger,
Edelman takes advantage of his prominent position to demonstrate his own thought leadership as well.
Good grief, what follows in the chapter is a lengthy and breathless ad for Edelman
Before starting a blog, she advises people to know what image they intend to project. “It’s important to think about how that new ‘voice’ will impact your client’s business and how and where it can benefit them strategically.
How is this different to traditional PR?
Holtz sees blogging fitting progressively into this chronology of online activity. His blog is an extension of a subscription-based newsletter that he’s done for years, which if course is now RSS syndicatable. But there are modest changes, including the time he invests in his blogging and podcasting.
Despite his attempt to put blogging into perspective,
Much better to just hype it beyond belief I suppose?
“But when I read that blogs will replace press releases (as one example), I just have to laugh. A press release is the official, authoritative, final statement of record by an organization. A press release can be distributed in a manner that accommodates securities regulations. They may be lowly, but they have a place. Blogs can't replace that. Blogs also can't brew a perfect cup of coffee. What am I trying to say here? You'll find no bigger advocate for companies understanding and employing the power of blogs -- and recognizing the awesome impact of blogs on the business -- than me. But I have always believed that new media don't kill old media; they only force old media to adapt. Blogs are, unquestionably, transformational.
Excellent.Good old Shel Holtz is almost saving this otherwise ludicrous piece of self-parody.
It seems to us legal compliance is a weak argument for the time, expense and occasional animosity releases require.
Weak argument? Risking a jail sentence? Tell that to a CEO!
What’s wrong with releases, we think, is not that they exist, it’ in their inability to speak with clarity and succinctly on the subjects they seek to amplify.
Why can’t they? Its just a writing task.
Blogging is not the answer but it is clearly an answer.
This conclusion hardly seems in keeping with the lurid rhetorical thread running through this chapter about the death of PR etc.
To lovers of communications command and control—we think Holtz is right, you never were in control.
But if there never was control in PR than what is changing?
And guys – It would have been good to have looked a bit beyond IT and to have looked at PR in a bit more detail, with perhaps some facts somewhere in the chapter to just give it a bit more grounding. Its floating like a balloon at the moment.