Jeremy Pepper over at POP! muses about whether there needs to be a better balance between PR agency blogging vs. client work, or whether some PR agencies are becoming too blog-centric. (here). From a recent exchange at the Syndicate conference he says:
“One person asked how I balance blogging and PR, and whether or not I am worried about my blog overtaking publicity for my clients. This is a growing concern, particularly as you have to explain to clients why you are getting press for your blog, but not press for them. And, it’s something that we should never have to address, because at the end of the day it is about the clients.”
As more PR folks are starting to develop meaningful online presences through their blog, that is a great question to ask yourself when selecting a PR agency (for the sake of full disclosure – I know the folks at PAN (mentioned in Jeremy’s posting) real well – both as a former client and a friend of the company).
David Weinberger thinks that PR folks should get out of the way, “connecting passionate clients with the public” (here).
My view, which I expressed earlier (here), is that while conversations are happening in the marketplace – sometimes without the involvement of the company – a company should get involved in those conversations. I agree with David that PR agencies should facilitate connections and then get out of the way. But there is another role that they can and should play – that of coaching clients on how to engage in those conversations in generally acceptable ways. While many web companies already know how to do that, I suspect that a majority of marketing executives, who must be increasingly getting pressured by their CEO to do something with blogs, have no clue how to do it. Having a trusted PR agency show them the way may be something of real value. And how else can they know how to do it, but by doing it themselves.