Blogging in a Crowded Marketplace
The PRSA Survey [PDF], conducted with Harris Interactive, about attitudes toward media, marketing and public relations holds some interesting lessons for communicators who use blogs to communicate with their customers and the general public.
I summarized some of the findings in my blog a few days ago that focus on the image of public relations. But in this entry I want to hone in on one of the results that showed blogs rising to the forefront of information for the average American, with 42 percent of adults 18+ reporting that they “rely heavily on independent sources like Internet chat rooms, blogs or other alternative media to get their news.
In the study, a wide majority also reported that they “actively look for news and information that challenges [their] political opinions and social beliefs.” Which seems like a good thing for blogs, since opinion is what a blog is all about.
In 2003, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported tht only 11 percent of Internet users have read the blogs or diaries of other Internet users, with only a third of these reporting that they have posted material to a blog.
Technorati reports that there are about 70,000 new blogs created every day, 700,000 daily posts (or about 29,100 blog updates every hour).
This is phenomenal growth. However, there is a downside to all this wide avalibility of information.
It is called time. Anyone who write a blog, and tries to keep up with all of the other bloggers they follow, can attest to this.
Maybe that is why executives (21 percent) and Congress (30 percent) don't read blogs as regularly as the general population. Also, a vast majority of all three groups (consumers, 66 percent; executives, 71 percent; and Congressional leaders(53 percent)) reported tht which they like to keep up with the news, it is just one of many ways they spend their leisure time.
In other words, we have competition for time and attention, the same as always. Blogs as a communication tool won't lessen this reality, but increase it. The demand for fresh and compelling content will drive the train, just as it drives the search engines. Moreover, networking online, with other blogs, is critical to the success of “getting out the message.” Blogs can't be “pitched” so much as “joined.” If you have something to add to the conversation, you are welcome to join in, if not, keep out. Again, this is a function of time, like reporters, bloggers are busy. Unlike reporters, bloggers blog because they want to, not because it is a job.
More on this phenomenon in a future post! Would love to hear what some of you think about this time vs. desire for information conundrum.