Study shows failures in PR, blogger relationships

The findings of a recent study conducted by Burson-Marsteller on messaging should be a sobering wake-up call for the PR trade.

The findings of a recent study conducted by Burson-Marsteller on messaging should be a sobering wake-up call for the PR trade. The study found that a company's message is getting lost in translation to 45% of mainstream media, and 76% of bloggers in the US. 

Mainstream media aside, the 76% rate on blogs is an astonishing, dare say, failure rate, especially since the journalistic relevance of self-proclaimed bloggers is very real, and proliferating.

If PR is going to target bloggers or “influencers,” as they are sometimes called, it absolutely must pick up its game, and adapt to the very journalistic nature of blogs. “You have to be transparent with them because bloggers are really going to dig,” said Burson's Director of Research Ashley Welde. “You are better off being up front.”

PR must keep in mind that bloggers, particularly independent ones not associated with more mainstream publications, are playing by somewhat different rules. Here at PRWeek we strive to use our blog to write the news with a bit of flare, bravado, and provocative opinion, but with the same journalistic integrity we apply to our news stories.

But many blogs don't have editorial oversight. Bloggers answer to themselves, and that's, in part, why people love to follow them. The PR tactics that have been used on the mainstream media aren't as applicable to bloggers, who cherish inserting their opinion on products and news.

A good blogger will cut right through jargon and spam messaging, and may even make PR pay for it in whatever they write. As Burson's Welde said, one approach with bloggers is to be clear, transparent and forthright. 

Bloggers, for all their purpose and place, are changing the very vernacular of what it means to report on the news. Even though some old-school reporters grumble over their tactics, bloggers are also making mainstream news better. If PR adapts to bloggers, chances are it will by default close the messaging gap of mainstream news as well.

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