Public Relations and Blogs: A “How to Deal” Primer

PR giant Edelman and market research firm Inteliseek released a white paper entitled “Trust MEdia: How Real People Are Finally Being Heard — The 1.0 Guide to the Blogosphere for Marketers & Company Stakeholders” (  The version available to the public serves as a good public relations primer. But it should also help public relations, marketing, and advertising professionals looking to get a better understanding of the blogosphere and how to deal with it.

The paper makes it plain: “Blogs represent a paradigm shift that presents new challenges and opportunities for the advertising, public relations and marketing communities — challenges and opportunities that require quick responses, protocols and policies.”

One of the more interesting sections highlights how automaker Mazda dropped the ball when it attempted to use blogs as a marketing tool, instead creating a public relations problem. There also are some handy tips: “Are you willing to enter the world of blogging with honesty, frankness, and humor? If you cannot get past ‘marketing speak’ and defensiveness, then do not blog.”

I am actually pleasantly surprised by the content and tone of the paper — just when I thought the big public relations agencies had their heads in the wrong place, I’m proven wrong — which I believe most people in our profession will find useful. It’s worth noting that organizations that utilize either Edelman or Inteliseek’s services are given a list of the most influential bloggers.

Speaking of influential bloggers — he was named as one in the Edelman/Inteliseek white paper — Jeremy Pepper created some buzz with a post about public relations transparency in the blogging era.

“If we are going to concentrate on transparency, though, I think that transparency can’t be half done,” Pepper writes. “If you are a PR firm that blogs about clients, blog about the client that just left after you had blogged about the win. If you are a CEO that is blogging but only randomly posts comments, come up with a comment policy. If you are the head of a PR firm and you agree to an interview with a trade publication, go all the way but don’t cop out with an email interview.”

I particularly agree with the last comment, and I think this should be applied to all media interviews. While email is easy and less constricted by time than a phone interview–i.e., you can respond to email questions at three in the morning–the quality of discourse is going to be minimal compared to speaking directly to an interviewer. There is also too much wiggle room for misunderstanding, and well-crafted quotes come off like cut-and-paste statements that bore the reader.

This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (, a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit:

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