How do I identify a popular blog?

PR blogger Chris Norton has prepared an interesting list of tips to help determine how influential a blog is. Please check out his post which is backed up with years of having done this for clients but in essence they are:

1. How many comments does it get?
2. Check the site’s page rank
3. How many people are linking to it?
4. Check its Alexa ranking
5. Check its Technorati rating

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Have you checked your Twitter page rank?

Google page rank

I read a very interesting post on Andrew Bruce Smith‘s blog about how most people don’t realise that they have a home page with a high page rank. I have been working on this blog for almost two years now and have spent many hours writing and sharing some of my thoughts.

I also have a Twitter account which I also love but spend far less time populating. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Andrew highlighted that the page rank for your Twitter page could be higher than your blog. Surely not but upon investigation I found that this was actually true.

As he says in his blog, most people will have achieved this without even thinking about it. I certainly did.

Worth thinking about the next time a client asks you about the merits of starting a Twitter account. If you can build up a high page rank to your Twitter page you potentially have a powerful SEO tool for providing backlinks.

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How many PR professionals comment on a journalist’s blog?

I have been working on this and other blogs for a couple of years and have always found that a great way to build relationships with other interesting bloggers is to leave a comment on a post. I know from working on this one, I will always click through to a blog that has linked to me and check on them from time to time to look for an opportunity to return the compliment.

One of my favourite past times on a lazy Sunday (before Mae was born and these became a distant memory) was to flick through my blog roll and catch up on what the good and the bad from our industry were up to.

One of the things I always tried to do was find journalists who blog and try and keep track of what they were up to. I know that a lot of journalists don’t particularly like this medium as they see it as giving their craft away for free but a hell of a lot use it effectively.  For example I have seen some excellent tips on how to work with the media or what they believe is bad PR practice. They are also homes to highlight work they have been commissioned to work on ahead of posting on Response Source.

That said there are a variety of journalist blogs that are totally ignored by PR people. I know how personal my blog is to me and I am sure that it is exactly the same with journalists.

What better way is there to understand exactly what interests them (or doesn’t), what they like to write about or who they write for? A blog will give you all of this information and allow you to build a relationship with a journalist ahead of pitching something for your client.

I know that I am more likely to answer an email or a call from a familiar name quicker than a stranger and by commenting on a journalists blog you can start to build this relationship. The relationship should be a two way thing or you risk being named and shamed by those in the media fed up receiving spam mails from faceless PR professionals.

I understand that there are a lot of pressures on our time but I genuinely think that if you have 10 journalists who are important to you, it doesn’t take much effort to read their blogs once a week and provide some comments. By investing this small amount of effort I believe the rewards can be priceless.

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Why do so few PR professionals blog?

Similar to most people I was very lucky to get a load of books for Christmas and am slowly working my way through them. Two of them –Bit of a blur by Alex James and Gonzo the life of Hunter S Thompson by Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour – have been writen in a style that reminds me of blog writing. Instead of chapters there are a series of posts based around subjects or by different contributors.

The result is that the books were both engageing and easy to read. Mainly because they got straight to the point and there is no filling just to hit word counts. I found it particularly interesting that this style of writing is becoming more prevelant at a time when so many PR bloggers are abandoning their blogs in favour of Twitter.

Writing is a skill that requires exercising and blog writing allows someone to share ideas and find their voice which is why I think it is such a shame that so many people are abandoning their blogs. I recently reviewed Matthew Watson’s top PR blog list and realised that most don’t write about PR or blog so infrequently it is hardly worth visiting from month to month.

Some of the top thinkers in our industry first tested their ideas on blogs to get input or formalise ideas before they unleashed them in fantastically successful books. Robert Scoble, David Meerman Scott and Seth Godin are just three faboulous examples of authors and thinkers who trialed ideas on their blogs before going on to release best selling books.

If these guys recognise the power of blogs and mainstream books are now copying this style of writing, why are so many UK PR professionals not bothering with this medium?

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Are you a social media douchebag?


This is one of the funniest blog posts I have read for some time.  The five signs that you are a social media douchebag is well worth a read. My colleague Jo Jamieson and I were chatting yesterday about the language that is used in marketing circles these days and how it is fast becoming on a par with or worse than the acronym hell that is the telecom space.

Hey man, what do you do?

I leverage insights.

No, seriously.  What’s your day job?

I put brands at the forefront of social media revolution.

Come on people, we all know you are clever but why do you have to sound like a douchebag?

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New Year resolution

My wife keeps on asking everyone we meet what their New Year resolution is and when I am asked the same question I haven’t had an answer. This morning I sat down and thought about what they should be and here they are:
Paul Stallard’s New Year resolutions
1. Secure more national coverage for my clients
2. Find time to write more
3. To leave more comments on other people’s blogs
4. Ask more questions
5. Network more

Have any of you got any New Year resolutions? If so why not put them in print and let the world see them and let them help you achieve them.

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10 qualities of a strong media pitch

Freelance journalist Alex Blyth was kind enough to take part in one of Meet the Media interviews not so long ago so I want to return the favour by trying to point you in the direction of his blog. Alex has written a great blog which lists the 10 qualities he feels makes a strong pitch based upon his experience of having spoken to many editors about what they want to see.

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Meet the media – Dan Oliver, .Net

Source: Dan Oliver

Source: Dan Oliver

This weeks Meet the Media interview is with Dan Oliver, editor of web design magazine, .net. Dan also writes his own personal blog,, which he asked me to mention so that he would update it.

One of the tips Dan provides, is about not forgetting the junior members of a publication as they are the future editors of magazines. He also makes an interesting point that he doesn’t believe that the route of bad PR is the people on the end of the phone but in fact their bosses who have advised them badly.

Paul Stallard: Have you ever done any PR work and if yes what was the experience like?
Dan Oliver: I don’t really know how this happened, but there was a time when I considered a move into PR. I was offered a job at a place up in Manchester, but eventually decided to to turn it down. I’ve got a lot of respect for people that work in PR, because I know I would really struggle to write something creative about an inkjet printer.

PS: Do you think that most PR professionals read the titles you write for before contacting you?
DO: No.

PS: How has the increase of social media affected traditional journalism?
DO: When it comes to the definition of journalism, I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about blogging, and it’s very hard for me to talk about this subject without being accused of hubris. My honest opinion is that putting a blog on the net and writing some entertaining copy does not make you a journalist.

I trained as a journalist for three years at University, and did various work placements on newspapers for another two. In that time I learned about fact checking, staying on the right side of the law, ethics, story structure, interview technique, and many other skills that take time to learn. Continue reading

Who writes blog content?

My colleague Rebecca Wheeler wrote an interesting blog today about a survey from JD Power & Associates. According to the survey nearly four in 10 bloggers say they would pay news organisations to reuse news content. I agree with Rebecca that I don’t see this as the saviour for newspapers as to be honest bloggers can copy their news for free and just add some comment relatively easily.

However, this story did came in the same week that I saw Guy Kawasaki is paying two people to ghost write his posts on Twitter.

Are we approaching a new dawn for bloggers? If you can buy content for your blog and pay people to write your content on social networks such as Twitter is there a danger that your personality gets lost?

I was talking to another colleague Jo Jamieson the other day who writes a personal blog as well as the day job one. She met up with some bloggers from her community and they all expressed how they thought that she spoke exactly the same way as she wrote on her blog. I try hard to do a similar thing here and feel that is part of the charm of blogging. Surely, if content is not being generated by the owner of a blog it will lose its personality?

What do you think?

Sunday reading

While chatting in the office about the amount of traffic to our website and personal blogs we mentioned that traffic obviously drops on a Saturday with less people inclined to visit when not in their office but traffic does pick up on Sunday. An interesting observation and one which I wasn’t too surprised about as I personally find Sunday afternoons a good time to catch up on my online reading.

With less distractions and more time to sit and think about what I have just read I often find it the source of my inspiration for the forthcoming week. It also gives me the time to visit the blogs listed in my blogroll and try to build my communication with them without feeling guilty that I should be working on behalf of my clients.

So to all you Sunday visitors hello and I know where you are coming from.