it’s Bloggering time!

250px-Thing_v2_1_coverartThe decision to develop a blog series for PRIA’s website that promotes an understanding of public relations was not taken lightly, no. But in the end, sane rationalism won out and the blog series was created. We will build an argument for the creation of the series through discussing the strengths of communicating to an audience via blogging. But first, we will provide definitions which we have found most illuminating, of both public relations, and blogs.

On Public relations, Okay & Okay (2007) state,

Public relations practice is “the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action which will serve both the organization and public interest” (Gordon, 1997, p. 60; Newsom, Vanslyke, & Kruckeberg, 1996, p. 4).”[1]

On blogs, Winer (2002) states,

“Weblogs are often-updated sites that point to articles elsewhere on the web, often with comments, and to on-site articles. A weblog is kind of a continual tour, with a human guide who you get to know. There are many guides to choose from, each develops an audience, and there’s also comraderie [sic] and politics between the people who run weblogs, they point to each other, in all kinds of structures, graphs, loops, etc.”

 

Why blogging for PR?

The operation of a blog, by an organisation, within an open system, will not only allow for communication between the organisation and its publics, but also within the organisation itself, allowing all parties to affect the running of the organisation.[2]  Kelleher & Miller (2006) concur when they state, “Web logs, or blogs, offer a unique channel for developing and maintaining relationships between organizations and publics.”[3]

Even though these communications are not occurring in person, important characteristics of communications within blogs still include the communication qualities normally associated with public relations, which Kelleher & Miller (2006) list as “…being open to dialog, welcoming conversational communication, and providing prompt feedback.”[4] Along with these more traditional PR communication qualities, blogging, as Kelleher & Miller (2006) state, also includes “…a sense of humor, admitting mistakes, treating others as human, and providing links to competitors.”[5] These communicative characteristics of blogs, more accepting of flaws, are more humanising, and therefore more inclusive of the greater online public, providing them with a sense of belonging, not alienation.

Holtz, 1999 and Zinsser, 2001 (cited in Kelleher & Miller 2006) highlight the overwhelming need for sincerity in online communication.[6] Viewing communication via blogging, with sincerity as a guideline, a study by Kelleher & Miller (2006) found the publics’ perceptions of trustworthiness, satisfaction, and commitment, in relation to an organisation, were greater when the public interacted with the organisation through blogs rather than traditional Web pages.[7]

PR organisations must endeavour to stay up to date with all available social media and trends in delivering information effectively to their publics.[8] Blogs can act as a gateway for other forms of information delivery, of which Xifraa & Huertas (2008) give the examples, “…user polls, video downloads, chats and online publications.”[9]

Reliable data on total blog numbers is difficult to find, as the numbers will still be ballooning as you read. At the time of writing, current estimates sit at around 460 million active English language blogs. If the total includes blogs in any language, the estimate rises to around one billion worldwide. This enormous globe-covering platform of information delivery is an exciting opportunity for the PR community to connect with its public in a way never before even dreamed of. The organic nature of information provision through blogging allows the most recent topics and continually changing content to be discussed on a regular basis.

The weaknesses of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter lie in their character limits of both 440 and 140 respectively. These limitations make it hard to deliver any detailed messages to the public. [10] Blogging has no such limitations. The previously discussed strengths of blogging as a communicative tool have convinced us to create an improved blog series for the benefits of the PRIA online readership community.

The generation of quality service and content on a regular basis is a difficult task.[11] This is where commitment and belief are pivotal in the success of the generation of an active online blogging community around an organisation. Blogging’s strength lies in the medium-to-long term, and if the organization’s time and effort is properly invested in the creation and maintenance of the blog, which provides for its publics, it is possible to build a community from those publics. [12]

Employment opportunities, along with the latest updates on what is happening in the PR profession are also regularly included in blogs.[13] Knowing this, we will include employment opportunities in our blog series, along with blogs covering site sharing, the history of PR. In the history of PR blog section, we will make available an extremely professional video from Press Index UK, outlining the most notable occurrences in the recent history of PR. Knowing something about the genesis of PR helps us understand where the practice of PR could be headed in the future.

Bibliography

Dare, L., Vanclay, F., Schirmer, J. Community Engagement in Australian Forest Management, CRC for Forestry, TIAR

Dietrich, G. “Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough?” From http://spinsucks.com/social-media/is-blogging-dead-or-are-companies-not-trying-hard-enough/

Kelleher, T. & Miller, B.M., 2006. “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Communication Association, 11, pp. 395–414

Kelleher, T., 2008. “Organizational contingencies, organizational blogs and public relations practitioner stance toward publics”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 34, pp. 300–302

Kent, M. L., 2008. “Critical analysis of blogging in public relations”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 34, pp. 32–40

Okay, A. & Okay, A., 2007. “The Place of Theory in Public Relations Practice”, from Public relations: from theory to practice, Hansen-Horn, Tricia L. and Neff, Bonita Dostal. (eds) Boston, Mass., Pearson A&B, pp. 300-316

Porter, L. V., Sweetser Trammell, K. D., Chung, D., Eunseong Kim, 2007. “Blog power: Examining the effects of practitioner blog use on power in public relations”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 33, pp. 92–95Singer, A. February 6, 2012, “The open web (still) isn’t going away”, Web Trends and News, http://thefuturebuzz.com/2012/02/06/the-open-web-isnt-going-away/

Taylor, M. & Kent, M. L., 2010. “Anticipatory socialization in the use of social media in public relations: A content analysis of PRSA’s Public Relations Tactics”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 36, pp. 207–214

Wright, K. K. & Hinson, M. D. 2008. “How Blogs and Social Media are Changing Public Relations and the Way it is Practiced”, Public Relations Journal , 2(2), Public Relations Society of America, pp. 1-21

Xifraa, J. & Huertas, A., 2008. “Blogging PR: An exploratory analysis of public relations weblogs”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 34, pp. 269–275

http://topstorypublicrelations.com/2012/04/10/outside-the-box-pr-tips/

http://www.pria.com.au

http://blog.prnewswire.com/


[1] Okay, A. & Okay, A., 2007. “The Place of Theory in Public Relations Practice”, from Public relations: from theory to practice, Hansen-Horn, Tricia L. and Neff, Bonita Dostal. (eds) Boston, Mass., Pearson A&B, p. 302

[2] Chia, J., & Synnott, G., 2009. An Introduction to Public Relations: From Theory to Practice, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria

[3] Kelleher, T. & Miller, B.M., 2006. “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Communication Association, 11, p. 395

[4] Kelleher, T. & Miller, B.M., 2006. “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Communication Association, 11, p. 399

[5] Kelleher, T. & Miller, B.M., 2006. “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Communication Association, 11, p. 399

[6] Kelleher, T. & Miller, B.M., 2006. “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Communication Association, 11, p. 398

[7] Kelleher, T. & Miller, B.M., 2006. “Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes”, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, International Communication Association, 11, p. 395

[8] Kent, M. L., 2008. “Critical analysis of blogging in public relations”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 34, p. 33

[9] Xifraa, J. & Huertas, A., 2008. “Blogging PR: An exploratory analysis of public relations weblogs”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 34, p. 274

[11] Gini Dietrich, Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough? from http://spinsucks.com/social-media/is-blogging-dead-or-are-companies-not-trying-hard-enough/

[12] Gini Dietrich, Is Blogging Dead or Are Companies Not Trying Hard Enough? from http://spinsucks.com/social-media/is-blogging-dead-or-are-companies-not-trying-hard-enough/

[13] Xifraa, J. & Huertas, A., 2008. “Blogging PR: An exploratory analysis of public relations weblogs”, Public Relations Review, Elsevier, 34, p. 274

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