Yesterday, Bill Sledzik, of Kent State, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, who authors the ToughSledding blog, released some more information culled from a study that he and his research partner Jeanette Drake conducted earlier this year of 938 BurrellsLuce customers and prospects. The study included 54 in-depth interviews from this population.
His original post showed that fewer than 20 percent of professionals surveyed say they have a monitor the content of blogs, 18.5 percent say they use blogs to help their clients or employers connect with stakeholder groups and only about 10 percent have policies governing employees who blog about work-related topics.
The self-selecting study was interesting in a number of ways, but Bill’s most recent post lays out some of the reasons participants in the in-depth study of PR professionals say they aren’t following the blog buzz.
Why PR Professionals Don’t Monitor Blogs
Bill says respondents cited lack of staff and resources, as well as a lack of a perceived need to monitor the blogosphere. They also had outdated ideas about how difficult it would be to do the job.
Why PR Professionals Don’t Use Blogs to Communicate
Again, lack of resources topped the list, but there was also significant concern about the ability to control the message and fears about the lack of journalistic standards among bloggers.
Other Interesting Findings
- Many see blogs as another messaging, or one-way communication tool
- Blogs are seen as another pitching opportunity, versus a way to engage
- Corporate blogs are seen as a way to reinforce branding and reach the mainstream media
- There is a lack of knowledge and/or concern about employee blogs and what they might say about the company in them
While the results from this study can’t be extrapolated to all public relations practitioners, it is very interesting to see the overall attitudes about blogs and blogging. I think that those of us that do engage in monitoring, and feel that it is important, will continue to face huge corporate barriers to change.
The corporate environment doesn’t take too well to being told what to do by a few “rowdy” bloggers, and it is easy to put aside the concerns of the few as the token outspoken critics. Not to mention the speed of change within a corporate culture – which is maddening to those on the front lines.
I am afraid that there will always be some resistance to the idea of allowing an open field day on “advice” that comes through social media channels and that we will have to do a better job of quantifying what is simply noise, competitive threat or bona fide intelligence for averting disaster.
What I do know is that many “voices” have been empowered to unleash their frustration, and that the genie will not be put back in the b6ttle. It is time for those of us that think this a good way to engage to do a better job of justifying it from a business perspective.