Friday, June 26, 2009

Pretty ordinary bloggers survey leaves several unanswered questions!

The Bangalore, India, arm of Text 100, a well known PR firm, sent me a presentation this Friday, which is about a global bloggers survey! This survey received inputs from 449 technology, news and lifestyle bloggers across 21 countries.

On receiving it, I wondered why I was never part of this list? This puzzled me a lot since the Text 100 India team is always speaking with me at least once a week for something or the other! Perhaps, I am a blogger from India and not so important! :) Never mind! The folks at Text 100 India will always remain my good friends!

The survey results however, are quite predictable and hardly surprising! There's nothing new in it and that's disappointing! For those interested, the results are:

1. Growing influence of bloggers -- Corporations are increasingly recognising the influence of bloggers.

As though this point needed any acknowledgement or a survey! TechCrunch, Engadget, etc., don't need any introduction! There are several other bloggers of repute and their words definitely count!

2. Social media releases -- Corporate news releases are out: Social Media Releases will experience far greater usage!

I wonder if the second point is true! Given the mountain of releases I receive, I don't really know what to make it! To accommodate those, I spun off several other blogs. Bear in mind that PR companies think nothing of this effort! If you talk about charging for hosting releases, they shy away! In fact, I was most amused when a PR firm recently called me up to inquire about my blog's traffic, saying it needed that figure for 'internal usage.' Wonder what that means!!

3. RSS is key -- If your company is not making their information available via RSS feeds, you are missing opportunities.

Again, this one seems a bit like -- too much, too late! RSS has been around for quite a while now! If people don't bother to use them suitably, who is to blame? Whether PR folks use RSS at all is something I won't know.

4. Part-time bloggers: The majority of bloggers are still part-timers -- adjust your strategies accordingly!

Quite accurate and already known! Only the very brave give up full-time jobs to blog, with or without any financial or other support!!

5. Cultural differences -- Despite being global, there are still cultural differences to be respected.

Even the rest of the findings are ordinary. For instance, computers, technology and the Internet are the subjects most blogged by surveyed bloggers. The preferred content is news and reviews of new products, opinionated comments on their blogs, and interviews with key people. Corporate news announcements are of least interest.

What the survey doesn't mention!
What the survey hasn't mentioned or spoken about is how can PR firms help bloggers make some financial gains out of blogging! Nor is there any mention of any such methods that could be adopted by bloggers and PR firms.

The absence of this critical piece of information renders this survey ordinary! If it were a part of the survey, bloggers would have really appreciated the effort. Sadly, it completely misses or overlooks this extremely critical point!

Several bloggers, including yours truly, offer a variety of services, to make some financial gains. Even this aspect is completely missing from the survey!

It would have been good to cover this aspect as it would educate everyone about the kind of services offered by bloggers. In fact, it would inspire more people to take up blogging as a career -- another aspect given a complete miss by the survey!

Need to answer basic questions
There are basic questions that need to be answered, such as:
1. Why should anyone choose blogging as a career?
2. How can he or she make money by blogging?
3. What are the services he or she can offer via the blog?
4. What kinds of services are being made available by bloggers?
5. Should bloggers get advertising? What types? To what extent and duration?
6. What would be the advertising charges? Would it be different from print media or the Web portals?
7. How can PR firms work better with bloggers?
8. How can PR firms develop a win-win situation and help bloggers gain financially?
9. Should bloggers charge a fee for queries received from elsewhere?
10. How good or popular are sponsored posts? Are PR firms doing anything to boost this and help bloggers?
11. There are so many blogs (including mine) on Blogger and Wordpress. Is it still a blog or a web site -- especially when PR firms look for online coverage?
12. Which blogging platform is more preferable?

Am sure there are several bloggers out there with a whole lot of other questions I may have missed!

One other point carried in the survey is a comment from a blogger in Ireland, which says: "Press releases don't work for bloggers, we are not journalists, we don't need to copy and paste nonsense we get sent. Plus, the big issue with coverage on a blog is being first. If you are sending the same release to the press, why would I want to blog about it? I am not unique then and am the same as a paper."

The headline -- Don't bombard bloggers with press releases -- could actually work very well in favour of the PR companies IF the PR folks worked out various strategies and ways of helping bloggers. They seriously need strategies, where currently, none seem to exist!

On the other hand, this survey also tells me -- perhaps, I should close down all of my other blogs -- which I recently started to host all of those press releases that I get bombarded with -- a point mentioned by some other well wishers as well!

What do you think friends? Should I? :)

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