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Are You A Sanctimonious PR 2.0 Professional?

It appears from Sterling Hager’s recent post he thinks that the panel members of the PRSA Boston social media event a week ago are a bunch of sanctimonious 2.0 people; at least that’s how I read his post. I assume I am included in the list.

Mr. Hager described on his blog how he disagreed with the advice PRSA panel members gave an audience member who had asked a question at the event, the panel had advised that corporate employees should write all their own material on a blog. He went onto to suggest that the panelists need to get a clue, and that a PR person would be a lousy public relations professional if they are not aware of the details of their client's company, such as product, competitive facts, R&D, finance, channels, positioning and differentiation and therefore if the public relations professional is not aware of the inner workings of their client the professional should not blog on a client’s behalf. Also, that if only client corporate staffers have the ability to write a blog it will only be a matter of time before clients decide they do not need an outside PR consultant to talk for them.

He went onto say," What the anointed should be saying is that if a senior corporate executive has the time, the talent, and the interest, the blog he or she authors will without question be better than anything a PR stand-in could produce. But a PR professional worth his or her salt and who can write can do a good job of it and readers, quite frankly, don't give a darn who writes the copy as long as it is real, useful, entertaining, varied, insightful, consistent, regular, and important."

I am wondering if Sterling Hagar thinks that the purpose of blogging is to solely conduct public relations? I may be wrong about this, but the reason I ask this question is that Mr. Hager appears to be saying that most clients don't have the time to write or the ability to write good blog posts. And so it is a good idea for public relations consultants to write their blog posts for them. What about product managers or senior scientists? Would it really make sense for public relations professionals to talk about engineering issues with customers, or to try to solve customer support issues? Mr. Hager if you are suggesting that the sole reason for blogging is PR I am afraid I must disagree with you. Blogs can be used for many things, though in the process of answering a customer support question you can certainly gain a boost to the perception of your brand.

Agency people and public relations professionals can choose to offer their services and blog on behalf of their clients, and even act as ghostwriters for them on a blog. However is it a good idea to do that? I think that in the perception of the reader blogging is more like talking with someone on a telephone or even in the same room. You would not expect an actor to take the place of the individual to whom you are chatting with on the other end of a telephone line, well it is just the same with blogging, when someone puts their name to a blog post the expectation on the part of the reader is that the person who wrote a blog post is the person whose name appears on the masthead.