Friday, March 28, 2008

Overgrazing of the blog commons

As my seven years of working within the UK PR industry draw to a close, I thought it might be appropriate to throw out a few observations on where my particular field appears to be heading. Here's the first of them.

The perhaps rather counter-intuitive notion that the blogosphere is a more finite PR resource than the traditional media doesn't seem to have achieved widespread enough currency to prevent the rather obvious consequences of 'overgrazing'.

For many years interactive expertise was seen as just the kind of higher-value service that would allow agency do-ers to position themselves more consistently as consultancy thinkers.

The rise of social media has upset this model somewhat, because suddenly digital stuff began to look much less esoteric and clever and rather more like what everyone else had been doing all along: media relations. In other words the kind of activity where social skills were deemed vastly more important than 'techie' ones, and agency-type services could earn a tidy premium without anyone having to do the intellectual gym-work needed to move up into the division where the likes of McKinsey ply their trade.

Except of course that building relationships with bloggers is not really agency grunt work at all and whereas PR professionals can usually recover from burning a relationship with a particular publication, the strong association between most blogs with a single individual mean that there's much more to building valuable relationships in the blogosphere than targeting 'lists' of topic commentators.

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