Friday, July 21, 2006

One in 15 UK newspaper readers has a blog?

This news, which comes to me via Neville Hobson, about the extent of blogging in the UK deserves meme status in the UK public relations industry.

I quote the Guardian:

'One in four British internet users keeps a blog and more than half of that number share their online musings with the public, according to a report released today.

The research suggests that, with 27 million internet users across the UK, the country now holds nearly 7 million bloggers - equivalent to nearly one in nine of the population.'

This is exciting news. It confirms a valuable channel for communication has become mainstream for the Public Relations Industry.

The article notes Tim Worstall, whose blog at attracts around 3,000 clicks a day, questioned whether the number of active bloggers was really as high as the report suggested.

"A good 70% of blogs are things where there's one or two posts and then the writer loses interest," he said.

What is key here is not that the blogs have only three posts but that more people are involved in Social Media.

The most heavily read print media in the UK is the local newspaper. According to the Newspaper Society:

83.6% of all British adults (40 million people) read a regional newspaper, compared with 69.6% who read a national newspaper. Regional press has a high solus readership; 33.3% of those who read a regional newspaper do not read a national daily.

Allowing for the age issue (some bloggers are not adult) it would not be unreasonable to imagine that ten percent of local Newspaper readers have experience of social media to the extent that they have participated.

If the numbers are to be believed, of national newspaper readers the ratio is nearly 1:15.

With careful monitoring and evaluation, a PR campaign can identify its target constituents very closely and can achieve considerable participation and awareness with this new media - does this mean we get higher ROI?

To get an even more rounded view of Social Media, it is worth looking at the Times report about Kenneth Lay, the disgraced Enron chief who died suddenly this month. Wikipedia is so fast that it also tends to be sloppy, partial and inaccurate, sometimes wildly so. however, argue that the death of Lay shows the resilience of the system. True, there were initial inaccuracies, but these were edited out over time. The system worked precisely as intended. It is the kind of capability that allows Public Relations practitioners to get a group of people to contribute to building a good brief for their campaigns.

To get the skills to be part of this revolution talk to Ralph Tench. He has a plan.

Picture: Cox and Fortum