Colin Farrington, director general of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, has ruffled feathers by claiming (I paraphrase) that bloggers are lonely illiterates with no mates. Simon, David and Drew have led the charge. (I’ve been on leave, so this is by way of a catch-up.)
I detect a storm in an e-cup. I suspect that Colin (who is no PR practitioner but a manager of the institute’s people and finances) is deploying that self-deprecating humour that Agnes Poirier finds so peculiarly British.
But is blogging part of something significant? Consider this. The Economist’s survey of internet advertising identifies what’s changing with marketing spend:
…if you can track the success of advertising, especially if you can follow sales leads, then marketing ceases to be just a cost-centre, with an arbitrary budget allocated to it. Instead, advertising becomes a variable cost of production that measurably results in making more profit.
But advertisers must stop interrupting consumers. ‘On the internet, by contrast, advertisers have no choice but to “go with the user,” … and “the information coming back from the users is more important than the messages going out." This is why public relations is becoming ever more significant; even, as Al and Laura Ries have argued, first and foremost amongst marketing techniques. (I know, I know, but public relations is frequently funded from the marketing budget, and this ties in with the argument in The Economist’s survey).
Meanwhile, another PR graduate with skills, drive, experience and, yes, an impressive blog has been snapped up by Edelman’s interactive solutions team. Congratulations, Stephen. At the same time, an experienced PR consultant and, yes, blogger thinks that the future of public relations is in search (just as The Economist argues that search is the future of advertising.) Good luck, Antony.
I’ll say this, Colin. We live in interesting times.