Is the age of the independent PR blogger over?

At least one popular blogger has thrown in the towel. A blogger who’s still going strong wonders whether he and others should follow suit.

Last month, popular and long-time PR/social media blogger Danny Brown announced he was winding down his popular blog. 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. I think Danny’s a bit ahead of the curve here. I think the age of the PR blog might be over. Here’s why. 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 to today, and bloggers like Danny are competing against thousands of PR agencies, organizations, and bloggers every day. When was the last time you saw a new PR blogger rise to the level of Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich, and Todd Defren? Keep in mind, many of the legions of new PR bloggers (most agencies or other organizations looking to make money, mind you) are writing about topics and subjects that have been beaten to death over the 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.) 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 other independent PR/marketing bloggers saying that in the months and years ahead. We’re definitely reaching a tipping point. Early bloggers moved on PR blogger Todd Defren, an early adopter, posted on Facebook a longing 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. Almost all seemed to agree: It’s a much different landscape today. What none of them really addressed is why; it’s because they moved on. Many of those early adopters also saw early professional 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 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? When Danny’s blog was hitting its stride five to seven years ago, he hadn’t had kids yet. Now he has two, and they are the apples of his eye, so he’s ditching the blog and the speaker circuit in favor of spending more time with them. I applaud his 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 path many have pursued, but Danny realized what many discover too late: Life is 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 couple of things: your college days with your friends, and those years with your kids when they were young. Danny is embracing that time, and 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. (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 hundreds of contributors and people who manage the blog as part of their full-time job. People like Danny don’t do that. 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. Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. A version of this article originally ran on his blog, Communications Conversations. (Image via)


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