When I attended the Media Relations 2005 conference in San Francisco April 10-12, one the things that surprised me most was that the PR profession doesn’t take blogging as seriously as it should. There was only one panel devoted to blogging and RSS feeds. And I sat at a table with PR people who told me their bosses already have told them “abolsutely no blogs.”
I probably shouldn’t have been surprised.
When blogger and publicity expert BL Ochman discovered that the Public Relations Society of America failed to include a program on blogging at this month’s 2004 International Conference, she was aghast.
The tagline for the PRSA convention Oct. 23-26 in New York City is “architects of change, advocates of understanding.” So, she reasoned, why would the 20,000-member group ignore the PR profession’s newest and most powerful communications tool?
“Individual chapters have done blogging seminars, most notably a teleseminar which was attended by 300 people,” BL said. “But that is NOT the same as the international conference including blogging. With 4 million people blogging, this is a very fossilized attitude on their part.”
Other bloggers and journalists picked up on the controversy, which soon was all over the Internet. BL refused to give up and issued an outright challenge to PRSA to add a blogging program. Buoyed by support from fellow bloggers who joined the campaign, BL’s persistence finally paid off. Days before the conference opened, when one of PRSA’s other programs was cancelled, it added a segment on blogging–one week after BL first started writing about it.
“As bloggers write about an issue, it starts to get into Google very quickly,” BL said. “Within a few hours, my posts about PRSAs conference had started to rise up in PRSAs own listings in Google. If you go to Google and type in ‘PRSA 2004 conference,’ you’ll get linked to the blogs where I wrote about this.”
PRSA says it received more than 400 proposals from people who wanted to present at the conference, but none on the topic of blogging. The final program was created based on topic relevance and what members said they wanted or needed.
Even though PRSA certainly should have had a session on blogging initially, the group was wise to finally add one before the pressure became even more embarrassing.
BL says there are more things you must know about bloggers and why blogging is a valuable PR tool for your business. She shared dozens of tips last year during the telephone seminar “Blogging 101: How to Use Weblogs for Publicity.” Read more about what we discussed, or order the CD or cassette tape.