Tough on blogs; Tough on the monitoring of blogs

Bill Sledzik, associate professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Kent State University, Ohio brings us news that 72 per cent of PRs have no formal way to monitor blogs. (Tip of the hat to Judy Gombita).


Additional topline findings from the survey, conducted in association with media monitoring service BurrellesLuce, include:

72.3% of respondents say they have no formal procedure for monitoring the content of blogs that may impact their businesses. Another 8% aren’t sure.

Of the 18.5% of [respondents whose] organizations…use blogs: 78.3% use blogs to connect with customers and end users; 42.8% to reach news media; 39.8% to communicate with employees.

16.5% of respondents say they are aware of existing employee blogs that discuss work-related activities, but very few actually monitor those blogs.

My Take

While the business case for companies starting their own blogs is yet to be *conclusively* proved by Forrester, there should be enough cautionary tales out there (Dell; Kryptonite) to persuade PRs that they should at least be monitoring what people are saying about their clients.

Seem sensible? In theory yes, but in practice, no. You’re reading this very niche blog about a very narrow subject. You’re engaged in the blogging community either as a reader, commenter or blogger. You know all this stuff already.

The 72 per cent of PRs who don’t monitor blogs are blissfully unaware of how the phrase “dell hell” originated or who “kryptonite” is. They may know from conversational experience that Dell has lousy customer service or that some bike locks could get picked with a pen cap, but they don’t know the deeper stories and communications learnings behind these anecdotal tid bits.

Advice for Junior/Mid-level PRs

If your account director/VP doesn’t make you monitor social media, why not manage upwards and get her to see why it’s important? Don’t march brazenly into her office and demand the account becomes focused on the citizen journalist; do it in a more insiduous way.

Start monitoring by yourself. Get a feedreader, set up some Technorati/Google Blog searches. Set up Google News alerts. Use Google Trends to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and include the (free) graphs in your monthly reports.

See David Jones’ Squidoo lens for more free tools and how to use them for your account work.

We hear what they’re saying…what next?

You’ve successfully integrated blog monitoring into your account team’s repetoire and your client’s given you a mandate to reach out to key bloggers in your market. What do you do now?

I’d recommend doing what I did with the media when I moved to Canada. I worked out who the key journalists were for the accounts I worked on and gave them a call to introduce myself, my client list and to find out what they needed from me.

Do the same with bloggers. Work out the top…20 bloggers for a client. Subscribe to their feeds and read them for a month. Leave a couple of comments (with full disclosure of course) or introduce yourself to them by email.

Get their permission to send them  interesting news from the client and, if they agree, send them highly personalized notes. If they don’t want to get information from you, you’ve still got some 55 million other people who may and you’ve saved yourself and the client from an embarrassing entry in the Bad Pitch Blog. Congrats!

Analyze the results then rinse and repeat until you have a highly targeted list of bloggers who view you as a trusted source of information. It’s hard work, but it pays off eventually. Unfortunately, laziness pays off now.

5 Responses to Tough on blogs; Tough on the monitoring of blogs

  1. Bill Sledzik says:

    Hi, Ed. Naturally, I love the post! More publicity for me and for Kent State. But that leads me to a point. Just completed a summary of the 54 in-depths that followed the on-line survey. I’ll post on it later in the week, but will share with you two quick observations I made from those interviews:

    1) Most PR pros who feel positively about the blogosphere view it first and foremost as a way to get their “messages out.” Put another way, they see a new category of media to whom they can pitch story ideas. This one-way perspective of how the blogosphere fits into PR strategy is very, very troubling, and should be a red flag for the profession. I saw far less talk of “dialogue” or “conversations,” where we all know the value of blogs can be realized.

    2) Some 90 percent of our respondents don’t monitor employee blogging, and about as many have no corporate blogging policy. “It hasn’t been an issue” is a typical comment. Just like the folks who don’t know of “dell hell” or “kryptonite,” I’m sure even more have no idea what it means to be “dooced” or of the legal consequences that could ensue if you are the “doocer.”

    So we have our work cut out for us. As PR pros who understand a bit about social media, we must help the others get there. Hey, I was looking for a new research focus anyway!

    Great advise in this post, by the way. I plan to link my students to it.

  2. Ed Lee says:

    Insofar as the “getting messages out there” part of the blogosphere works, I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go. As far as i’m starting to see it, the role of PR in the community is to act as a hybrid facilitator and agent provocateur.

    First – find the conversations that already involve our clients and get our clients involved.

    Second – to start conversations and discourse around the client.

    Make them say interesting stuff that resonates with their audience. Drive brand engagement, utilise the “wisdom of the crowds”.

    If we look at blogging as just another channel to send a news release to, we’re doomed.

    As I’ve got you, I’d love to know what you think of this video –

  3. […] Tough on blogs; Tough on the monitoring of blogs « Blogging Me Blogging You Nice post by Ed Lee on blog monitoring (tags: brandmonitoring blogmonitoring) […]

  4. […] study shows 3 of 4 PR pros don’t monitor the blogosphere >> Blogging Me Blogging You: Tough on blogs; Tough on the monitoring of blogs Social […]

  5. […] PR Experten ignorieren Monitoring von Blogs >> Blogging Me Blogging You: Tough on blogs; Tough on the monitoring of blogs >> buzzmachine: Some friendly advice from dell >> ToughSledding: Kent State/BurrellesLuce study […]

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