Many have been advocating blogging over the last 18 months – since they realised it was something they had to propose, whilst not necessarily understanding the real deal with setting up a blog – and although it is encouraging to see members of the UK editorial community seeming to embrace the blogosphere, take note.

Before you embark upon setting up a blog, or are advised by your hip, trendy and oooh sooo absolutely fabulous tweeting PR contacts to set up an editorial blog to drive traffic to you online and increase journalistic commissions, consider these Top 10 Questions:

1. Do you have a blogging strategy in place, and does it align itself with your overall Comms plan for the year?

2. Who will update the blog content if you can’t?

3. Who will monitor the stats, trackbacks and site reports?

4. Are you comfortable with being challenged by other bloggers?

5. Do you actually have something to say, on an ongoing basis?

6. Does blogging align itself with the services and products you offer?

7. Have you checked out competitors’ blogs and researched?

8. Why do you want to blog – are there a specific set of reasons, other than you think you should?

9. Are you able to integrate blogging with other activities such as tweeting?

10. Which platform are you using and who will organise the technical elements for you?

If you can answer the above with clarity, confidence and consistency, it’s likely that blogging will probably be an excellent addition to your Comms mix, particularly when we journos need all the differentiators we need in dwindling newsrooms.

Advertisements

…At least, according to this recently – reposting after a query.

Actually, in part I agree: many of the traditional publishers in the UK observed the coming of digital and internet-based publishing, blogs, twitter, and the numerous online innovations, instead remaining focused on the print options only.

The readerships, as consumers, have voted with their feet and mouse clicks, and more of them are migrating to free content online than ever before: the hundreds of redundant journalists across the UK lay testimony to this.

But still, in spite of overwhelming evidence indicating that newspaper management needed to engage the audience, the reader, the market, in the places they choose to get their news, what have many done? Continued observing, done nothing, introduced no innovations, given minor allowances to the digital age by copying content from print to the web…and wondering why readerships walk.

Let’s not forget one simple economic fact: when a product or service no longer serves the market, it becomes obsolete.

And so we see the current state of the British newspaper industry. They forgot to nurture the relationship with readers. And then bemoan the state of advertising and consumer interest when the paginations keep plummeting on a daily basis.

It’s all about listening to the market demands and repsonding accordingly. It looks like for some it’s too late. As we all know, when you lose their interest, readers rarely ever come back. This simple business rule applies to the publishers too.

Great post here on the importance of fact-finding, fact-checking and why trained journalism still offers something the increasing army of citizen journalists, bloggers and forum commentators can’t give. The upshot? Trained journalists represent the reinforcement of fact-checking at its best: the power and credibility of a balanced, thorough and fact-checked editorial item.

Of course, the initial news value from a tweet, blog post, or forum item can lead journos towards a valuable investigation of an issue, but it’s the fact-checking process, the collation of facts and the trained execution of facts which makes the difference between an amateur piece of citizen journalism and a well-rounded, informative and thought-provoking piece of journalism.

One of the most concerning elements, for me, of untrained editorialists as I call them, is the rise in commentaries and the lowering in quality content. It seems that everybody’s got something to freakin’ say online these days. Progress?

The thing which makes a difference for me, as one who sits firmly in the ‘trained’ editorial camp, is that without the correct and professional usage of fact-collation, fact-checking and fact-integration into an editorial item, we’re left with a shabby represntation to the readership. At best, conjecture. At worst, fact-less content. Propoganda, as it used to be called.

Terrifying prospect, huh? Without the trained, fact-orientated journos in place, how can content remain at a premium?

Not really, but Technorati’s annual report makes for fascinating reading.

The state of the blogosphere – apparently we are taking it more seriously and bloggers are finding it easier to blog now with authority than ever before. And bloggers are certainly attracting more kudos as content creators. Competing with hacks, in fact – just look at the case study of the Huffington Post in the USA to see where British Blogging could go with the right push.

I would say this new-found seriousness applies to the one-man brand bloggers, rather than the corporate bloggers working within an organisation and not gaining the limelight, of course. These marketers are not branding themselves, big difference.

But, ultimately, anything which raises the bar for blogged content is, I think, a good thing. Great research from Technorati, too.

Re-iteration of a point made consistently for months now here, and although it is aimed primarily at creative ad agencies, it’s relevant for anybody in a creative space. And yes, that includes you, newsroom journalist. You, too, need to go digital now.

Damien Blackden makes solid points, but we’ve heard it all before, to be honest. For a long time now. And to me, it raises simply one question.

If you’re working in creative industries, why wouldn’t you adapt to digital ways of doing business, and quickly, given where audiences are migrating? Anything less is surely a form of commercial suicide.

Well, the senior management in regional newspapers aside, of course – unless they know some cosmic secret the rest of us haven’t been allowed to access as yet regarding the state of journalism offline in the UK.

Oh crap, I’m being sarky again about the media managers in print. But, having done my time in Northcliffe Group, and seen the erosion of the motivation of literally 100s of talented journalists and editors across the UK , it gets a little hard to sit back and let the inefficient management carry on nailing our editorial talent to the cross of outdated management models anymore.

The choice? Simple really.

Do yourself a favour – get out. Fast. Run to the nearest organisation which embraces content, digital, online and is serious about offering you, as a trained media professional, an industry-level salary. Enough is enough! Or, carry on moaning in the newsroom, until the axe falls and you’re left moaning at the Job Centre.

Remember, adapting and moving on is a sign of strength not weakness in British journalism. I know, for me, adapting has meant surviving and retaining a successful content-based career.

Actually, the thought of still being in a traditional newsroom fills me with dread. Phew, lucky escape.

Or did you actually expect a job for Life? Really? Oh dear.

Great article here from www.journalism.co.uk, indicating that a recent Sunday Times vacancy for an online reporter has attracted more than 1,200 applicants for the position. The article then goes onto discuss what’s left after a life in Journalism for the out-of-work, redundant, laid-off Hacks out there.

I think a bigger question comes from this – if you’re taken out of the newsroom, perhaps it’s time to stay out?

After all, there are a plethora of other content-based positions which give as much if not more job satisfaction, more security, more money, and – in all likelihood – a better work/life balance. Oh, how I love the 13-hour days on deadline.

Online content production, blogging, tweeting, copywriting – there are endless opportunities to continue to craft compelling content when the redundancy axe crashes its blow through the newsroom. Heck, journalists may even have to learn digital skills.

Would you apply for a position on a daily newspaper ever again, or seek brave new frontiers to deliver your content? I’ll pick the latter option, thanks.

(Re-posting this after an inquiry about the worst example of bad PR I’ve seen. Think of it as educational rather than critical)

…and the dubious award goes to these guys.

A huge thumbs-down to the PR Directors at PR firm Dada.co.uk today: following a mis-pitch yesterday on behalf of their client Whyte & Mackay, in which a press release on the drinks firm’s re-brand was sent to a printing industry-based Newsroom (ie mine) a follow-up email was sent by myself, asking the PR Account Director to remove us from their irrelevant PR issues.

Email received back, apologies accepted, we all move on and continue to cypher the 250 daily emails from PRs.

Or so I thought.

This morning, another email from a different PR Account Director at Dada, telling me about the wonders of how Whyte & Mackay are using Twitter to promote and launch Campaigns for consumers. Fabulous. And totally irrelevant. Again.

Many thanks to the second PR Director at Dada – this guy. He was too busy to take my call earlier, asking if they could actually confirm that they had removed our newsroom email address from their database, and if they would please, please, please stop PR Spamming us. Too busy to talk to the Press? Another clanger for a PR firm to commit.

So, in the absence of a decent resolution, here we are.

To top it all, Dada’s PR pitch on their site claims that ‘No-one can offer you a PR service like DADA’ and – for completely the wrong reasons – I am now inclined to agree.

Now pass me that chocolate fireguard, it could come in useful.

…and here’s why.

Great post concerning the value of Twitter and PR, widening out into a larger discussion about how journalism sees Twitter in terms of news value and the stream of PR.

The particularly relevant point for me is how, according to Iain, content and PR-promoted content might be valued in relation to how many times is it re-tweeted. Usurping the traditional ‘column inches’ metric for old-fashioned PRs to ‘wow’ clients with.

Content is still king, as highlighted in Iain’s post. PRs need to remember this. Places like Twitter never forget this.

The Jury’s out following this story today.

Strikes me that one of the main reasons most people read a blog – any blog – is the authentic, genuine, real, undiluted voice they get from the author. A slice of their life. Certainly with many of the BBC’s journos, we follow their blogs for this very reason.

Or, it appears, we used to. Not anymore, as the editorial guideline changes seek to push even more Beeb journos into mediocrity.

Of course, we all want to see standards maintained and the quality of journalism must be maintained – especially at the BBC. But when references to Sachsgate are made and cross-referenced, one can feel the Daily Mail-esque fervour rising. Arse.

I, for one, think it’s a sad day for the BBC’s editorial bloggers. Freedom of the Press should surely include British bloggers.

Interesting to see from this story today a hyperlocal newswire launching across 12 UK cities – but are we hopeful, or watching another attempt to galvanise a regional news industry which is dying away at the hands of the internet and free content?

So much has been written about free content, digital content, hyperlocal content, de-constructed content et al lately, it leaves me wondering where journalism students go when they graduate. It certainly isn’t into regional newsrooms in the UK.

Valiant efforts by redundant journalists to keep local news going, but when the majority of the British audiences are moving away from offline news and selecting content from online news, blogs, twitter feeds and the like, it begs the question what can – realistically – be done to save the neolithic dinosaur that is the regional newsroom. I struggle to see any solution, and I’m a mostly-positive Editor too.

Suggestions? Jump off the sinking News Titanic and await for digital rescue?