Are Blogs Important to My PR Campaign?

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How To Tell Which Blogs Are Bonanzas And Which Ones Are Busts

In the age of the Internet, everyone has a blog.

According to BlogPulse, there were 152 million blogs on the Internet at the end of 2010 and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Many of these bloggers have become opinion leaders in their particular areas of expertise, while others have next to no following at all and blog just to let off steam. So how do you know which bloggers to target when you’re promoting yourself or your company and which ones to ignore? I have a few tips that might help you weed out the followers from the leaders:

  • Check Their Bios – Many of the top independent bloggers didn’t start out as bloggers. They came from the ranks of the traditional media. Over the last 10 years, as advertising revenues have dwindled for newspapers and some broadcast outlets, veteran journalists and media personalities have either been laid off or they took the early retirement that was offered to them as part of the downsizing. These guys are the top dogs of bloggers, so check their bios on their blog pages. If it reveals that they once wrote a column on finance for the Dallas Morning News, then they probably have a pretty good following and they are influencers in their area of expertise.
  • Check the Web – If you’re unsure about a blogger’s credentials, Google them. If your search turns up old articles they may have written in print publications, then you’re probably on solid ground adding them to your list. If your search turns up nothing, chances are they are one of the voices in the wilderness who isn’t a high percentage target for your media list.
  • Check Their Traffic – There are plenty of Web sites like www.statsaholic.com that will tell you the traffic a particular Web site is receiving. You simply go to the home page and type the URL for the Web site you’re curious about into the search field and you’ll get the stats for that page for the last few months. When I look up a site to see if it’s viable, I’ll rate the traffic against the circulation typically associated with an enthusiast publication in the same field.

    For instance, when I searched paulocoelhoblog.com, a popular book blog, I discovered the site averaged around 60,000 unique visitors per month. That’s a healthy range and worthy of being on my media list. Then, I searched artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com, the New York Times portal for entertainment reviews in general, and I saw they averaged around 400,000 unique visitors per month, which I thought was a little low for a NYT branded site. Considering that site isn’t just about books, but about the whole range of entertainment topics, the smaller book site compared nicely against it.

  • Check Their Other Media – Readership of the blog isn’t the only benchmark. For instance, John C. Dvorak is the dean of consumer technology reporters. He reviews products, comments on the industry and has been a contributing editor for PC Magazine for the better part of two decades. His blog at www.channeldvorak.com only receives about 8,000 unique visitors per month, according to the stats I saw. However, he is everywhere.

    Based on a Google search, he also has another blog called www.dvorak.org, which receives an average of 70,000 unique visitors per month. Plus, he has a radio show at www.crankygeeks.com and an online TV show, tech5.mevio.com, that received 7 million unique visitors in March of this year. Plus, he still writes for PC Magazine, a top newsstand publication with several million in circulation. So, don’t discount a blog just because it may have low traffic. Using the blog as a way to contact a key guy like Dvorak is not a bad bet for consumer technology companies.

Of course, there is a little legwork involved to find the top bloggers. But, as bloggers are here to stay, the key is to use the information available and make sure to include them in our PR plans.

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