In a recent study by Omnicom Group’s Brodeur and Marketwire about how journalists use blogs, it was found that blogs are are a regular source for journalists for improving the speed of reporting news as well as guiding tone, but not for improving quality:
- Over three quarters of reporters see blogs as helpful in giving them story ideas, story angles and insight into the tone of an issue
- Nearly 70 percent of all reporters check a blog list on a regular basis
- One in four reporters (27.7%) have their own blogs
- About one in five (16.3%) have their own social networking page
- Almost half of reporters (47.5%) say they are “lurkers”
- Over half said that blogs were having a significant impact on the “tone” (61.8%) and “editorial direction” (51.1%) of news reporting
With this kind of insight, I can’t imagine why a company that’s engaged in media and public relations activities wouldn’t start a company blog or at least a blog powered media room. Companies that are already blogging would do well to make sure it’s not some perfunctory task disguising itself as a legitimate form of transparency, but a real effort at providing insight and value.
I’ve written many times before about blogs and their place with online PR and even in combination with SEO. With our clients that use blogs as a communication and engagement channel, we always do a minimum of template optimization. A review of the web analytics for many of those clients shows their blog in the top 5 referring sources of web site traffic. When you factor in the long tail of social media and network traffic, the picture gets even better.
On the topic of new media and journalists, there’s another study of interest published last October by TEKgroup International and Bulldog reporter involving over 2,000 journalists on how they use new media. Findings include:
- While almost a third of journalists do not cover blogs, more than a quarter report regularly reading five or more blogs to research desired topics, and nearly 70% follow at least one blog regularly.
- More than a quarter (28%) of journalists visit a social media or networking site, such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, at least once a week, while more than 44% visit at least once a month.
- Nearly 16% of journalists receive five or more RSS feeds of news services, blogs, podcasts or videocasts every week, and about 37% receive at least one regular RSS feed.
- While more than half of journalists never seek audio or video material from corporate websites, nearly 20% say they seek such material at least once a month.
- While a large majority (76.9%) of journalists report that they use local newspapers to follow news, some 64% report that they use Google or Yahoo! online news services.
This research on journalists online media and blog usage shouldn’t be much of a surprise to companies that are already engaged in incorporating SEO researched keyword messaging across all electronic communications. Optimizing content whether it’s text, images or video as a process gives the organization a much larger footprint on the web. ie, it casts a wider net in which to capture those (consumers and journalists alike) who are looking for information, for solutions, for trusted resources.
In the end, it’s about making it easy for the audience to find your information and act on it. In the case of consumers, it’s a lead or a sale. In the case of the media, it’s becoming a trusted information source as well as providing information in formats that make it easier for them to do their job. In the process, your effort makes it easier for them to write about your company too.