Big thanks to my friend Phil who highlighted that my blog is now officially two years old. Wow, that crept up on me.
My blog has evolved and changed constantly over the past two years – as any good blog should. I have made mistakes and learnt what works and what doesn’t as the blog has grown. Every mistake has made me more confident to try again as each one has highlighted something I need to change which I take great heart from. How can I advise my clients on the pitfalls of blogging and how to approach it if I haven’t experimented myself?
When reviewing my visitor figures I saw that in the first month I started writing this I recorded a whopping six hits. I can almost guarantee that they were me on the work PC, my mum, my wife, my colleague Jo, my friend Josie and probably the brother-in-law. In March of this year, the same blog recorded 13,056 views. I’m secretly quite proud of this.
This blog has helped me share ideas, connect with people I have never met, build relationships with the media, share research and fun stuff I have found on the internet and help start conversations with my peers. That said, for all my best efforts to reach out to the UK PR community I have sadly found better interaction with our friends across the pond.
I have always monitored how many hits my blog records after I Tweet about a new post and realised a long time ago that I am more likely to see a rise in traffic, an increase in comments and emails from readers if I Tweet about posts in office hours in the US rather than UK office hours. This is odd because the vast majority of my followers are based in the UK. Unfortunately, I think this is because the US communications industry is more inclined to share ideas and acknowledge the work of others than us Brits. Whether this is because fewer Brits are seriously part of the blogging community or are still nervous about communicating with the competition is unclear to me.
I used to communicate with one of my peers via this blog, Twitter and email but after I approached one of his clients to take part in an interview about Buying PR was cut dead. I felt this was quite sad as I had no intention of trying to steal this client and told him so. In fact most of my questions to his client were written to highlight what a good job he had done and I know for a fact that he was forwarded the copy by his client to approve before I received the responses. Well, I never received the responses despite the client sending me a couple of emails to say that I was just about to receive them. What a shame.
Another series of interviews that I have been working on for the past year, my Meet the Media series has proved extremely popular. The idea was to find out how our industry can work better with the media and improve relationships between PR and journalists. I thought it might start debate and conversations but this has never really evolved.
After publishing each interview I often see a large rise in traffic including links from UK PR agency intranets and RSS readers but rarely receive any comments. One of my former colleagues even told me that my interviews have been emailed around his office at a large London agency with a note telling all execs to read it but I have never seen any comments from anyone at that company.
I have never written this blog to be part of a popularity contest and often spend a Sunday evening looking for new blogs to read or leave comments on and have always tried to acknowledge work and highlight other bloggers that I respect. One of the key things I have learnt in the past two years is that if you just take and don’t give anything back, blogging can be quite boring. It is the conversation that is interesting. Being told you are wrong can be as rewarding as being given a pat on the back becuase you are being noticed.
Why will the next batch of PR bloggers bother if they continually share ideas and don’t receive any feedback as to whether they are right or wrong? In much the same way that Drew, Andrew, Stephen, Phil and Stuart helped me by commenting on the odd post when I started or sending the odd message of support I would like to return the favour and help highlight any new PR blogs out there. Every time the guys above acknowledged my blog it spurred me on to continue to to keep trying to improve. So if you have just started a blog about PR and would like to have it highlighted here please don’t hesitate to get in touch.