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?
It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Mostly because I’ve been thinking about my legacy given I’ll be 40 next August (I’m already planning my nervous breakdown–oh, you think I’m kidding?). Not just in a professional sense, but in a larger, more worldly sense. I mean, I’ve been working in the professional PR and marketing world now for 16-plus years–what do I have to show for it?
That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it?
At the end of the day, I have a lot to be thankful for. A thriving business. Great business partners. Outstanding clients. And a job I love. Hasn’t always been that way in my life. So, believe me, I don’t take my current situation for granted.
But, back to the initial question: What’s my biggest professional accomplishment?
I think about the following:
This could potentially be number one, which may surprise people. Why? Because starting and maintaining a blog takes A LOT of time and effort. Ask anyone who’s done or is doing it. Managing a successful blog means you’re taking time away from something else you love to do (in my case, my family, golf and friends). It’s really been a labor of love for me. And, something I’m damn proud of. Recognition aside, my blog has so much to do with where I am right now in my life. For instance, there’s probably no way I’m in business for myself without this blog. I don’t meet all the wonderful people I’ve met online (and then in real life) if not for this blog. I don’t get the chance to help organize BlogWorld without this blog. I don’t c0-found the MN Blogger Conference without this blog. You get the idea. My blog is one the the key reasons I’m doing what I’m doing today–across the board. And, I don’t take my blog lightly either. I mean, I don’t pore over posts for hours on end. But, I do take my content seriously. After all, if I don’t, why should anyone read it? I take a massive amount of pride in my blog.
Even though I’m not currently a PRSA member (changing that as of Jan.), and technically I had to drop the “APR” designation from my business cards and byline, it’s still a pretty substantial professional accomplishment. And one I’m very proud of. Especially considering I didn’t have a ton of traditional PR experience before I started studying for the test in 2002-2003. As I’ve said for years, I haven’t found the APR designation itself to be all that valuable from a “employer/earn more money” perspective. But, I found the PROCESS to be EXTREMELY valuable. From the actual learning to the studying to the camaraderie and networking, it was a life-changing experience for me. And something I’d recommend to most anyone, depending on the circumstances.
I know HAPPO isn’t exactly the movement that’s sweeping the country, but I’m really proud to have been involved in something that actually had the ability to change lives. And, in spots, I believe we’ve done that (and now, locally, I’m trying to take that a step further with our Minnesota-based HAPPO Report). I’m also extremely proud to be working with our slew of HAPPO champs across the country. People like Richie Escovedo. Jeremy Pepper. Nikki Little. And, of course, Valerie Simon. It’s been a great way for me to get to know those smart folks a little better. But, at the end of the day, it’s about helping others and paying back an industry that’s given so much to me over the years. If I had a legacy, I would hope HAPPO would be a part of it.
McGladrey Advantage Program
Most (if not all) of you reading this blog will have no idea what this is–or what “McGladrey” is, for that matter. But, my time and experience working for the fifth largest accounting and consulting firm was invaluable for my career development. And, “Advantage” was a big part of that. About halfway through my tenure at McGladrey (five years) I was asked to head up the Advantage program. It was pretty innovative at the time (7-8 years ago now)–especially for an accounting firm. The program was one part hard copy newsletter, one part e-newsletter, one part Web site and one part PR program. It also had internal communications legs. I was asked to lead the charge and manage an agency, which created the lion’s share of the content development. It was a big job, and it was a fairly high profile job (my first). And, we delivered results. In terms of leads. Visits. Awareness. And, it was a huge point of pride internally. Sadly, they cut the program after I left McGladrey, but it still stands out in my mind as my biggest corporate professional accomplishment.
Minnesota Blogger Conference
Another collaborative effort, #mnblogcon has been so much fun to work on and get off the ground the last two years. But, I have to admit, my partner, Melissa Berggren and our team of partners (this year: Josh Braaten, Bridget Nelson Monroe, Beth Rubin-Gabor, Bill Van Cleaf and Suzi Magill) put in so much more work on this event than I do. I’m just happy to be a part of it. But, I will say getting the inaugural event off the ground last year was no small feat. So, I take a lot of pride in what we did last year–and this year. And, for what we’ll hopefully do in the years ahead. And, I’m especially proud to be a part of what I believe to be a top-5 blogging community here in the Twin Cities.
Even though this doesn’t happen without the blog, this has to be my biggest achievement–and the one I’m most proud of. Most people don’t know me all that well–so they wouldn’t know that I was a bit of a slacker earlier in my career. Almost got fired once, in fact, due to performance. I wasn’t always the hardest worker. And I’ve never been the smartest person in the room (by design). But, through the years, I have learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses. And I’ve also learned how to minimize those weaknesses, and play up the strengths. I’ve learned from some incredible mentors along the way. And I think my diverse background (something many people held against me in job interviews) paved the way for my role as a small business owner and digital PR/marketing consultant. Even though it’s always been a dream of mine, I would have NEVER thought I would own my own business–or have any form of success doing it. Yet, that’s where I am today. Hey, I’m smart enough to know this whole thing could go straight south tomorrow. And that’s fine with me. No one can take away what I’ve done to date. And no one ever will. And, I have a feeling when all is said and done, and I’m bouncing my granddaughter on my lap when I’m old and gray, I think it will still be my biggest career achievement.
Now, what about you? What’s your biggest career achievement? Would love to hear about it. Please brag in the comments.
Note: Photo courtesy of Alaska Teacher via FlickR Creative Commons.
The finalists are set for the 2011 PR Readers’ Choice Blog Awards! The voting began last Monday, June 13 and extended through last Friday, June 17.
Disappointingly, there were only 16 total nominations this year–that’d down from 185 comments with nominations last year. Not sure what that says about the awards or general recognition like this, but for all intents and purposes this will be the last year of this awards. So, vote appropriately 🙂 In all seriousness, I want to thank everyone that has supported, commented and voted for these awards this year–and in the last two years. I know it has meant a lot to a number of bloggers that have been mentioned and nominated–and it definitely has meant a lot to me that you took the time to nominate and/or vote. So, thanks you for that.
Please vote for your favorite blog in each category below. Think about your vote carefully–don’t take the “Readers’ Choice” piece lightly. This shouldn’t be a popularity contest–but instead, a reflection of the blogs you really value and read every day.
Votes will be taken through midnight Monday, June 27. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 29.
Good luck to this year’s finalists![poll id=”2″] [poll id=”3″] [poll id=”4″] [poll id=”5″]
Two years ago, I started the PR Reader’s Choice Blog Awards. The motivation was simple: There were all sorts of blog awards, but none specifically chosen by bloggers and online participants. So, I started an awards program that’s based entirely on community participation and voting.
Over the last two years, a number of outstanding PR blogs have been nominated. The following have taken home the “hardware” as PR Reader’s Choice Winners:
Best Up-and-Coming Blog: PR Nonsense (March PR)
Most Educational Blog: Convince & Convert (Jay Baer)
Most Thought-Provoking Blog: Conversation Age (Valeria Maltoni)
Blog of the Year: Spin Sucks (Gini Dietrich)
Best Up-and-Coming Blog: LAF (Lauren Fernandez)
Most Educational Blog: PR 2.0 (Brian Solis)
Most Thought-Provoking Blog: Danny Brown (Danny Brown)
Blog of the Year: PR Squared (Todd Defren)
This year, I’d like to follow the same process we’ve used the last two years.
First, please nominate your favorite PR blog in one of the four categories below by next Friday, June 17.
* Best Up-and-Coming Blog (must have been blogging less than a year to qualify)
* Most Educational
* Most Thought-Provoking
* Best Student Blog (new category for 2011)
* Blog of the Year
You can nominate a blog by leaving a comment below with your name and the URL and name of the blog you are nominating–this is the ONLY way votes will be accepted. You can nominate more than one blog, but only ONE blog per category. And, you can nominate blogs that won last year or in 2009.
Next Friday, I’ll tally up the nominations. The top five in each category will qualify for the final round and public voting, which will begin on Monday, June 20. We’ll vote for a week until EOD Friday, June 24 and winners will be announced on Tuesday, June 28.
Hope you’ll consider submitting a nomination today!