Update: For the latest post on this study and highlights of the in-depth interviews. But please read this one first — for backstory.
It appears not everyone, even public relations pros, have bloggers on their radar screens. According to data from a recent Kent State/BurrellesLuce survey, 72% of PR professionals say they have NO formal system for monitoring buzz in the blogosphere. Only 19% say they do.
I recently reviewed aggregate data from the survey that drew responses from 938 clients and prospects of BurrellesLuce, the media monitoring and analysis company. It’s a self-selecting sample, to be sure, but for now we’re exploring, not generalizing.
My colleague, Jeanette Drake, and I are trying to develop a base understanding of how PR professionals track and use blogs in day-to-day practice. We’ll present the finished study at the International Public Relations Conference in Miami in March.
For now, most of those who are monitoring blogs say they’re doing it with in-house resources.
Some initial findings
- 72.3% of respondents say they have no formal procedure for monitoring the content of blogs that may impact their businesses. Another 8% aren’t sure.
- 18.5% say they work for organizations that use their own blogs to facilitate communication with key stakeholders.
- Of the 18.5% of organizations that use blogs: 78.3% use blogs to connect with customers and end users; 42.8% to reach news media; 39.8% to communicate with employees.
- Of those who use blogs in their PR strategies: 63.2% use them to enhance branding efforts; 57.1% to facilitate two-way communication with key stakeholder groups; 46% to improve trust between those groups and the organization.
- 16.5% of respondents say they are aware of existing employee blogs that discuss work-related activities, but very few actually monitor those blogs.
- 10.7% of respondents say they have a formal policy related to employee blogging.
As media monitoring services like BurrellesLuce begin promoting their blog-tracking services more aggressively, I’m certain many more PR pros will get on board. In fact, Sue Ross, VP of Marketing for BurrellesLuce, tells me the company now tracks some 40 million blogs for its clients. But since the service is relatively new, even some clients remain unaware of it, as our survey shows.
I’m most interested in learning why PR pros aren’t more engaged with blogs, given the potential of “citizen journalists” to impact public opinion and buyer behavior. Jeanette and I are asking a lot of the “why” questions in follow-up interviews that we’ll complete later this week. We’ll let you know what we learn.