The power of the personal

26 Nov

That was interesting: something of a small scale PR and social media experiment.

I’ve been blogging here for five years: 702 posts attracting 1093 comments to date (or about 1.5 comments per post). If I’d followed best practice I could have doubled my comment count by studiously commenting in response to others’ comments. But I’m a bit old fashioned, and tend to feel that I get enough of a say on my own blog, and should leave the comment space for others. Not best practice, I know (this form encourages conversations).

The last post was a one line entry with a link to a news story on another site. Despite the opportunity to comment on my news over at Behind the Spin, 14 of you had your say back here (a vastly higher comment count than I’m used to).

Sarah has put her finger on it. It’s a rather shameless piece of attention seeking (my blog, me me me) – but it clearly works. I suppose if you’re reading this, it might suggest some level of interest in who’s writing this blog.

But the relative lack of comments at Behind the Spin needs some explaining too (three to date on that news story, but one of these is from me and one from another member of the magazine team). Here’s my explanation. A magazine is less personal than a blog – and rather more perfect as it’s edited. Leaving a comment, while technically just as easy, is psychologically much harder. After all, who is the comment aimed at – the article’s author (anonymous in the case of our news pieces), or the magazine’s editor. And who might respond? Is anyone reading?

So personal works best. We’ve always known this in public relations (it’s why word of mouth recommendation works). But where does this leave corporate blogs? Personal works; just don’t expect a more confessional style here. I’m not that shameless. Honest. One award; one mention in a new book on PR (PR – a persuasive industry?); and one self-indulgent announcement. Enough already.

3 Responses to “The power of the personal”

  1. Paull Young 26/11/2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Pretty simple really – you comment to connect with the author, not the article.

  2. Richard Millington 26/11/2008 at 6:14 pm #

    You’ve really hit the mark with corporate blogs. People want to build relationships with people. Brands is much harder. If employees ooze the brand values through their own blogs, it makes things much easier.
    It’s why I dislike guest posts on popular blogs. It feels like a betrayal (if not blatant promotion).
    I also suspect there’s an undercurrent of compassion about all this. In a sense, we’re growing up with each other via social media. We’re connecting with each other. we’re caring about our careers and lives.

  3. Wayne Larson 27/11/2008 at 3:25 am #

    A creator of podcast411.com came to a class of mine at the University of Kansas and spoke about both podcasting and blogging.
    He made it very clear that if a person was not blogging they are, and will continue to be, in the growing minority of people who are not participating in this form of communication.
    As publications continue to cut down on staff one can only assume journalism as a whole will become increasingly conversational as opposed to strictly informational like it historically has been.
    As an aspiring journalist it will be interesting to see how this trend progresses.

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