Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

PR Watch: PR companies and their tech clients are starting to notice bloggers

Posted by Tom Foremski - November 3, 2004

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

I had an interesting chat with Christina Armstrong the other day. Christina has been working in the valley for many years and is one of the best PR professionals around. She said that the blogging phenomenon has left many PR companies and their clients baffled about what to do.

PR companies know how to work with traditional media, but they are not sure how to work with bloggers. That indecision has led to no action at all. But now, Christina says that things are changing. “Some PR companies, and also their clients, are beginning to ask, 'which are the most influential blogs?'”

This can be a tough one to judge. It is difficult to audit the readership of blogs. RSS feeds and the re-posting of stories and entries across the web is difficult to track. Yes, there is “trackback,” which is integrated into blogging software and can track links to a specific blog entry. But spammers have forced many blogs to turn-off this feature.

And the influence of a particular blog is not necessarily connected to the traffic to a particular blog. The readers of this blog, for example, are mostly Silicon Valley companies and their business partners. Our readers are small in number compared with say, News.com, but they are in the top echelon of the world’s top decision makers. They decide on the design, components, and technologies used in millions of digital products that are manufactured in factories around the world. They also finance huge amounts of innovation, which sets the direction of many sectors, not just tech, but also life sciences, etc.

And Silicon Valley executives do read blogs. In fact they do almost all their news reading online, except when they are sitting in a plane: that’s the only time print publications have a chance of reaching this elite group of decision makers. (Hey, there's an idea: a business publication that is ONLY available on airplanes?!)

In terms of blogging, Silicon Valley tech and PR companies are at least beginning to recognize the importance of this fragmented media channel. It will be interesting to see how PR companies will approach this challenge, and how they will seek to influence the “influential” blogs.

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