This year I celebrated the tenth anniversary of my A PR Guy’s Musings blog. Some of the other early pioneers of blogging have recently written about whether blogs are still relevant.
The first was a post by Tom Foremski, who left the Financial Times to become the first journalist to quit mainstream media to write a blog, and the second was a post by Euan Semple, an early pioneer of social media at the BBC.
Euan is still enthusiastic about blogging, Tom somewhat less so. I think the different perspectives are both valid and perhaps reflect different expectations of what blogging would achieve. Tom’s perspective (crudely précised by me so you need to read his original thoughts) was that blogs would provide an alternative publishing platform for quality long-form publishing free of the shackles of mainstream media. Euan’s perspective is that blogging is about “developing our awareness, our communication skills and our collective intelligence.”
For me personally my PR blog has significantly helped my career. Not only did it play a part in me setting up one of the UK’s first online PR companies, but today it means I travel all over the world providing public relations consultancy and training to some of the world’s largest companies as well as governments and other organisations.
But that’s not why I blog. I think Euan captures part of it when he talks about developing awareness and collective intelligence. Blogging about public relations, reputation management, corporate communications and public affairs forces me to think deeply about the what I believe. Because my thoughts are exposed to peer review and criticism I’ve got to ‘up my game’. This mean the quality of counsel I can give when doing consultancy or training is much better than it would have been.
I also learn a fantastic amount from other blogs that I trust and respect – such as Euan Semple, Tom Foremski, Todd Defren, Tom Murphy, Alastair Campbell, Jeremy Pepper, Heather Yaxley, Philip Young, Judy Gombita, Richard Bailey, David Brain and apologies to the many others I don’t have time to list! We used to have ‘blog rolls’ where we linked to other good blogs, but that’s ‘out of fashion’ these days, just as blogs today rarely get comments as people talk about them and have conversations on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
The third reason I blog is to give something back. I love the public relations profession and I want to play my small part in helping it to grow, improve and develop. Above all I want to see PR become more respected and professional. My PR blog is part of my small contribution to that process.
Blogging is about learning from my peers, giving something back, but above all challenging myself to make me a better PR professional.