Is the age of the independent PR blogger over?
Earlier this week, popular and long-time PR/social media blogger, Danny Brown, announced he was shuttering his popular blog.
Well, he wasn’t closing it down, necessarily. But, he was announcing that he would not be blogging about PR an social media-specific topics all the time from here on out.
That’s an interesting move for a guy who just wrote a book. You would think he’d be all over his blog promoting his book. But, that’s not the way Danny operates. Never has been. Probably never will. But, that’s a story for a different day.
I think Danny’s a bit ahead of the curve here. I think the age of the PR blog might be over.
Too much noise.
When Danny, and others like him, started blogging, there were fewer voices in the online crowd—which, to an extent, were why those voices rose to the top. Sure, they were smart. But, they were also competing against fewer people. Skip forward today, and bloggers like Danny are literally competing against THOUSANDS of PR agencies, organizations and bloggers every day. Think about it—when was the last time you saw a new PR blogger rise up to the level of Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich and Todd Defren? And keep in mind, many of the legions of new PR bloggers (most agencies or other organizations looking to makey money, mind you) are writing about topics and subjects that have been beaten to death over the months/years—with little to no original thinking, as Danny notes in his post. So, it’s really tough to find the good stuff (I concur with Danny’s note about blogs to read—especially Adam Singer’s; always been a fan). With that stiff competition, it just becomes a little easier to say, “you know what, I don’t need this. I’ve had enough.” That’s really not what Danny is saying here—but I can see a number of other independent PR/marketing bloggers saying that in the months/years ahead. We’re definitely reaching a tipping point.
Early bloggers moved on (and became very successful!)
Noted early adopter PR blogger, Todd Defren, had a post on Facebook last week, yearning for the days of yore and a simpler time when PR bloggers could be counted on two hands. A number of notable PR bloggers commented on that post. And almost all seemed to agree—it’s a much different landscape today. No kidding. But, what none of them really mentioned is a large part of why the landscape is different today is because THEY moved on. Many of those early adopters also saw early success. And, that meant, they had less time for their blogs. Todd is a prime example. So is David Fleet over at Edelman. Heck, two of the first PR bloggers I followed, David Mullen and Shannon Paul, don’t even blog anymore! So, kudos to these good people—they saw success, partly as a result of their blogging efforts, no doubt. But, that shift has played a large role in where we are today.
Is it still worth the time given life situations?
In essence, this is Danny’s primary argument. Danny now has two little kids—kids he didn’t have 5-7 years ago when his blog was just hitting its stride. Not surprisingly, those two kids are now the apple of Danny’s eye (as a father to two kids myself, I can certainly relate). So, he’s choosing to spend more time with them instead of spending time blogging and on the speaker circuit. I applaud this stance. Danny could easily have taken the opposite approach—he could have continued to blog incessantly. He could have joined the speaker circuit and traveled. He could have continued down the same path many have pursued before him. But, Danny realized what many of us discover too late: Life is ultimately made up of experiences with those closest to you. Namely, your family. When you’re old and gray, you’re most likely going to look back fondly on a few things: 1) College days (i.e,. the “glory days”) with your friends, and 2) Those years with your kids when they were young. Danny is choosing to embrace that time. And again, I wholeheartedly applaud it.
Solo bloggers just can’t compete against the “content machines”
In some cases, this means competing with the likes of blogs like Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks, which publishes at least once a day—sometimes twice a day (keep in mind, Gini does NOT do ALL the posting and she has full-time help). In other cases, it means competing against group blogs like Social Media Examiner, which is sourced by literally hundreds of contributors and people who manage the blog as part of their full-time job. People like Danny don’t. Sure, the blog is connected to his job, but it’s not his full-time job to keep the blog up—therefore priorities win out. I can sympathize with Mr. Brown here.
Well, those are my thoughts. What do you think? Is the age of the independent PR blogger over?