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Divided by language, but not by blogosphere

NEW YORK: Public relations professionals in the US and UK agree when it comes to recognising the importance of blogs, but comparatively few from each country participate in the blogosphere by monitoring, writing or reading blogs, according to survey results released recently by Peppercom Strategic Communications and Bulldog Reporter.

The survey of more than 1100 PR executives from agencies and corporations in the US and UK was designed to identify whether communication professionals in either region are more advanced in digital marketing. The survey results show that there is a consensus on how the two countries are embracing new technologies, yet there are many disconnects in the results overall.

"Originally, the purpose of this survey was to compare and contrast blogging communication practices in the US and the UK and identify best practices," says Steve Cody, managing partner and co-founder of Peppercom.

"Surprisingly, what was revealed was a level playing field across both countries where a select few are diving into social media, but most are hesitant to start the process."

Importance of blogs

The top two responses given for the importance of blogs were the ability to share information quickly and broadly (US: 84%; UK: 74%), and the opportunity to influence public opinion and decision making (US: 74%; UK: 65%).

Despite these opinions, most respondents admit that they (or their clients) do not have an official company blogging policy (US: 87%, UK: 82%). And although a majority of respondents felt blogs were important, only 37% in the US and 36% in the UK are actually blogging on behalf of their company or client.

Who's blogging?

While most respondents (78% of US and UK) believe that the PR department should handle fallout from bad news breaking in the blogosphere, 49% of respondents don't even monitor blogs. In fact, 63% have not adapted their communications strategy to include proactive outreach to blogs, message boards, and other forms of digital mediums.

One third of companies claiming to have a blog say that it is written by the company's CEO; however 54% of respondents are not involved in the writing, creative or approval processes for corporate or CEO blogs.

What's next?

When asked about the next big development in new media beyond blogs, the top response was video podcasts (34%) with online communities such as MySpace running a close second (32%).

"Ultimately, what this survey revealed was a need for communication professionals in both countries to step up to the plate and start integrating blogging practices into their strategic approach," says Jacki Vause, MD of Peppercom's London office. "No one is denying the power of blogs. Now is the time to employ them."

  • A discussion about the survey results is available in podcast format at or Bulldog Reporter's head blogger Sally Falkow leads a conversation with Steve Cody and Jacki Vause about the findings and what they mean for corporate marketers. Additionally, Antony Mayfield, head of content & media at SpannerWorks, and Denise Stinardo, manager of new media, Eastman Kodak Company, weigh in on the implications of the survey from their perspective.

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