Blogs – anyone can write them, anyone can read them.  Does having a blog make you a ‘blogmaster?’  Does being a ‘citizen journalist’ make you credible?  How much influence can a blog have? These are all questions that are circling in and around the blogosphere. Everyone is a publisher – is this good or bad for PR?

According to a recent study conducted by Brodeur in conjunction with Marketwire, blogs have quite the influence on media coverage.  Some key statistics include: 

–  over 75 per cent of reporters see blogs as helpful in giving the story ideas, story angles and insight into the tone of an issue
–  nearly 70 per cent of all reporters check a blog list on a regular basis
–  over 50 per cent of all reporters said that blogs were having a significant impact on the tone and editorial direction of news reporting

Blogs are now being read by more than just other bloggers. This study shows that attention is being given to social media.  

“Like any new social phenomenon, the blogosphere has become a resource for reporters, but reporters are still creating their stories by going out and developing their own ideas and talking to their sources,” says Jerry Johnson, head of strategic planning at Brodeur.  “The blogosphere’s tail is not wagging the media body – at least not yet.”

Although the blogosphere has not yet reached the point where it has complete influence over the media, it is quite possible that day will soon come.  Therefore, it is critical that we as PR practitioners engage in social media and join the conversation.  No matter how hard we try to resist this change from traditional communications, the change is here.  Social media becomes more important each and every day. 

Recently, Maggie Fox, CEO and founder of Social Media Group, an agency devoted exclusively to helping companies utilize Web 2.0,  came in to talk to our class about social media and corporate blogging.  An expert in her field, Fox stresses the importance of first listening to what people are saying about you, then join the online conversation, as blogs have the power to impact your brand and its success.  

The article, “How to make the most of a corporate blog,” by Sarah Campbell, gives a handful of useful and insightful tips about successful corporate blogging.  And, like Fox, Campbell’s first tip is to “start out by monitoring what people are saying about your company and products.” 

So why a corporate blog?  I can’t believe I’m about to do what I’m about to do, but here it goes.  Wikipedia states that “the business blog can provide additional value by adding a level of credibility that is often unobtainable from a standard corporate site.  The informality and increased timeliness of information posted to blogs assist with increasing transparency and accessibility in the corporate image.  Business blogs can interact with a target market on a more personal level while building link credibility that can ultimately be tied back to the corporate site.” 

In other words, blogs can provide your organization with credibility and a positive public image  – something that is so valuable, you couldn’t put a price-tag on it. 

Thanks wikipedia!