As a freelance writer for some magazines, I have to come to terms that my blogging is just not enough for the editors, most of whom have stellar journalism degrees and who have worked for years as reporters and writers before they became editors of female magazines. In journalism school, they have been taught that they must be balanced and impartial when writing an article and that the article must be based on data and facts obtained from research and also interviews with experts in that particular field on the subject and article they are featuring or writing about.
I am writing this post to clear up the misconception of blogging to marketers, mainstream media and PR companies who think of blogs as articles or trying-to-be newspapers. Blogs or weblogs are essentially websites which have been created and maintained by people who are passionate about a certain subject and with easy-to-use blog sites, they are able to write about their area of expertise or interest and then publish the post which contains individual opinions and information on the blog site. Blogs or weblogs, as they are aptly called, are usually created and maintained by people who have fire in their belly and want to use their weblogs to communicate to users of the world-wide web about a topic they want to talk about. It is extremely easy for a layman to create a professional-looking blog by using free web-based tools such as WordPress or Blogspot.
A blog is a personal journal about the writer’s opinion on something, but there are also group blogs maintained by several writers and corporate blogs maintained by the social media strategic team who uploads new information about product launches or press releases for the company with information disseminated by the corporate communications division. The most popular blog is still the individual blog.
It is up to us bloggers to tell journalists, mainstream media and PR companies that even though a blog is viewed as a website, it contains information by experts or wannabes who want to use the world-wide web to have their ideas, opinions and voices heard. Hence, in this era, companies who continue to ignore personal opinions, independent product reviews and also forum comments, are setting themselves out to fail. Whilst millions of people have blogs and are shouting comments and opinions via the world-wide web, many mainstream media and rigid PR folks are still dismissing contents on blog sites as “garbage” and the road less traveled.
Blogs are not newspapers but they contain posts which the blog writer wants to share and communicate with their readers via the world-wide web. Many magazine editors, mainstream media and PR companies, dismiss blog posts as “Not Real Journalism”. It is true that weblogs are not newspapers and bloggers do not claim that they are journalists. Individual weblogs are direct and honest opinions about a topic written by someone who cares and is passionate about the topic. It is really up to the Marketer and PR company to decide if they want to believe the authenticity of the data and the research done by the blogger who may be a professor, an expert or just someone using the internet to write about a particular subject he or she has an opinion on. The catchphrase here is about opinions. Since a weblog is a journal and a record that belongs to a particular individual, the posts can be impartial and factual or they can also contain opinions of the blogger who maintains the weblog. Bloggers have their worldview published as posts on the world-wide web and are a huge voice that cannot be ignored. It is no longer a ripple that a blog post can cause but a tsunami that can rock the foundation and pillars of even the most well-established companies, brands and the products.
Most marketers and PR companies tend to ignore the information and contents disseminated by blogs because they do not understand the unique role of bloggers on the world-wide web. Bloggers never claimed to be journalists, so people in media, marketing, corporate communications and also PR, should not view blogs as newspapers but to use the information from the blog, with certain pinch of salt. If a Marketer or PR consultant continues to ignore and dismiss blog contents and information disseminated by blogs in its entirety, he or she will just be waiting for a media and PR disaster to unfold. Bloggers are very influential these days and the big challenge for mainstream media, corporate communications team and PR companies, is to make sense of the blog information out there and to incorporate their own judgement as to whether this information obtained from the blog is useful to the organization.
It is no doubt that organizations can be tremendously successful and rich by harnessing the millions of blogs sites found on the world-wide web. To ignore bloggers and dismissing us, is a clear mistake and can lead to downfall of the organizations if they continue to disregard and ignore blogs. I think it’s time that editors, mainstream media and PR companies, to embrace the fact that blogs are here to stay and they disseminate huge amount of information, and have influence over many topics. It is essential to use the influence of the millions of bloggers to grow your businesses far and beyond.
“The technology to deliver the enterprise with digital at its core is here now. The main challenges are around leading and marshalling the talent and innovative culture needed to make it a reality.”
(References have been made from The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott and econsultancy.com)