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I am writing this final post of Public relations and managing reputation to let my subscribers know I am closing this house down, largely influenced by the fact I am now working as a permanent employee, rather than running my own business.
What I will probably continue doing, however, is publishing posts on LinkedIn and in media outlets, while also speaking in professional forums. Having said that, my focus is on doing the best I possibly can in my job with Toll Global Express, while also spending time with my family and maybe, just maybe, finding some way to fit some ‘me’ time in the mix!
This PR, change comms and corporate affairs blog has been running for about six years, but it’s been a barely noticed child for a while now. For a long period, I was pumping out at least one post per week, and it’s funny how for most of that period it wasn’t much of a problem to think of something I thought was worth scrawling about.
For me, writing helped prompt me think about my profession more deeply than otherwise would have occurred. So I was paid back by the process, if you like.
Why blogs work
There is no hiding from the commercial side of the blog, as well. When I started my own business way back when (remember the GFC?), there was really no intelligent option other than having some sort of standalone web footprint.
Since then, many enterprises have made Facebook, or even Instagram, their online hub.
For a sole operator like myself, the blog was clearly the best option. It has allowed me to write about topics relevant to my profession. This accomplished three things – in theory, anyway:
- It exhibited, through thought leadership, I knew what I was talking about and worth commissioning
- It offered people value through analysis and thinking, for free, that may have prompted them to want to reciprocate in kind by giving me work
- It generated content that helped the SEO of my blog, driving more traffic to it and ranking me higher in searches for relevant terms
Don’t worry, I make all of the above claims with a large grain of salt. How much did they really occur?
I don’t know, but at least when I was pitching work to clients there was online real estate there that backed up my claims for having appropriate experience and intellect to get the job done. I continue to find it amazing that people can open up a business but not have some sort of discrete, and sem-decent, web presence.
An important by-product of the process was that while I am by no means the most gun of digital communicators or SEO kings, it is true I do know a fair bit about digital and especially blogs/SEO as a result of operating the thing for so long.
Lack of thought leadership in PR
And while I am being sort-of modest in most claims in this final post, there are very few half-decent PR/professional comms blogs in the world, let alone my home country of Australia, so because of that paucity mine has definitely been one of the best! This is important because there are not that many voices speaking publicly on PR.
Which leads me to a swipe I’ll take at academics, including those who I have a massive amount of respect for in Australia. Jim Macnamara is one of this country’s most notable PR academics but also makes a big effort to reach out beyond the confines of academia with useful, readable texts which you don’t have to force yourself to read. Take his relatively recent piece on Listening, for instance, which I heartily recommend.
Why aren’t there more academics following Jim’s lead? Really, there is a lot of room for improvement here.
Industry associations? Yeah, well, they are great for the less experienced professional, which is absolutely necessary. But there isn’t much of great professional development value fostered by the PRIA or the IABC in Australia in this regard.
New steps in digital footprints
One reason why I can ditch the blog these days is because of the blogging platform that has emerged on LinkedIn. If I started my own business today rather than six years ago, I would still probably start my own blog. You still need, I think, as an ‘enterprise’, to have your own unique URL/appropriately branded online presence (yes, maybe I should have branded my URL differently to craigpearce.info in hindsight to something more PR/comms-specific, but we all learn from our errors….).
But as an employee or contractor, due to the overwhelming dominance and credibility of LinkedIn, I think it presents a strong case for being a better blogging platform than WordPress and its ilk.
You can still do the thought leadership thing, it’s definitely where recruiters will go a hunting more than anywhere else and I guess it probably isn’t too bad from an SEO point of view as well, though I can’t say that for certain.
While there have been many kind people who have encouraged me in my blog musings over the years, and have actively commented or shared the posts (all of which I appreciated), I want to thank the man who started it all, Peter Hindmarsh, in particular.
Peter convinced me to kick off the blog, being of the questionable view I had something useful to say. I’m not sure he was correct (and look at the suffering he’s had me inflict on people!), but he opened up a world of enjoyment and possibility for me and allowed me, and this is so very, very important, to make connections of substance with a large number of people across the globe.
Very cool. Just like P Hindmarsh was, and remains, a very cool guy himself.
I might start the blogging (ad)venture off again at some stage in the future but, for now, I am following my own advice from a personal branding point of view…the best thing I can do for my career – forget content curation, forget the tweeting, forget wallowing in the narcissistic mire of Facebook – is do the best I possibly can at my job.
For old times sake, why not share this through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et through one of the handy buttons, if they feel like working, on this page. Cheers.