As newspaper staffs and circulations continue to shrink and broadcast news segments are cut in half, it’s more than apparent that public relations is changing forever. With less journalists to pitch and even less space/time for news, traditional methods of using mainstream media to reach consumers isn’t going to cut it. In order to survive, public relations professionals must find new ways of reaching the public directly, such as via blogs and other social media. Surprisingly, I’m not seeing the major changes I would have expected by now.
Angelo Fernando of Valley PR Blog posted today about a Wiki project that reviews Fortune 500 blogs. According to their research, only 12.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies are blogging as of November 2008. I find this statistic to be staggeringly low considering the current state of the media. On the Wiki, you can find links to each of the 64 Fortune 500 blogs.
Additionally, the Wiki links to Michael Turk’s analysis of corporate blogging by looking at a sample of 30 Fortune 500 blogs. Turk rated each blog by content style (information vs. commentary) and writing style (logical & formal vs. casual & colloquial). Overall, he found that:
“While it might be assumed that a corporate blog would err on the side of formality to protect public image, findings show that this is not the case.
Approximately two-thirds of the weblogs studied were more casual and personable than formal and cold, indicating that these companies are utilizing blogs as a way to humanize the brand. One-third of the measured blogs opted to create the bulk of their content with a “commentary” bias.”
This suggests to me that those major companies who are blogging are using it in a wise way, but not everyone is catching on. I fear the do or die period is very quickly approaching, and public relations staffs who don’t implement social media tactics will not be successful.