The Role Of The PR Counselor In Client Blogs
Jeremy Pepper notes that Newsbluntly, the Newsmarket broadcast journalism blog I mentioned yesterday, is actually openly written by their PR firm, Plesser and Associates.
"There are no biographies of these writers, so it's a little hard to figure out who they are. However, if you scroll down to the bottom of the NewsBluntly blog, you'll find that ... it's published by Plesser Associates.
Now, according to my favorite Website, Dictionary.com, one of the definitions of published is: To be the writer or author of published works or a work.
In this case, is that who the writers and authors of NewsBluntly are? Is it Plesser? Who - if not PR people - are better authorities on media? Our job is to interact with the media, so we should have some insight into the industry."
Indeed, as the screen grab below shows, the Newsmarket blog is written by the same PR contact who's name is listed at the bottom of the company's press releases. My feeling is that's ok. We should praise both the client and their agency for having the courage to be completely transparent. Plesser's proudly saying "yes, we are writing our client's blog content and we're not ashamed." Newsmarket, on the flip side, is also proudly slapping their name on the site and saying "yes, we're ok with this."
Blogging is the biggest PR tool to come along since the Internet first dawned in the mid 1990s. As an industry, it's going to take time to identify best practices, sort out exactly where the boundaries lie and what the roles should be. I doubt that agencies will ignore companies who ask us to launch blogs even though they may not have the time to actively write them, just as we don't turn away ghost writing speeches or bylines.
What we do need to do, however, is separate what works from what doesn't and what level of transparency and input is required. Time will tell.
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About the Author:
Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.
He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.
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