The event kicked off with a panel of five, Michael Parsons from CNET, Chris Price and Katie Lee of Shiny Media, Mat Toor of Dennis Publishing and James Rivington from Tech.co.uk, and was hosted by Peter Kirwin of Fullrun.
There was a run down on how each of the sites likes to be pitched to (send an email, don’t phone them – especially if it’s just a standard pitch, include quotes and unique pictures, use an interesting subject header), followed by a lively discussion on whether there is a difference between bloggers and journos (some of the panel felt bloggers had more principles than journos…. they shall remain nameless) and how the immediacy of blogging requires a good wireless connection and the press releases to be held off until after a press launch. Don’t forget to provide some food at a launch either, Michael Parsons is particularly keen to fill his tummy and stop that free champagne from sloshing around his insides. His poor liver is suffering. Of course, that’s assuming that you can get a blogger to a launch in the first place – they are self confessed un-socialites.
"Is blogging dying?" was a question that reared its ugly head once more. As the panellists work for blog sites, it was unlikely they’d say yes, but there was a general consensus that the blogosphere is platauing (80 million blogs – the vast majority not regularly updated) and as huge amounts of information hit our RSS feeds, as consumers we’ll become more selective about what we’re reading.
There was lots of nodding and muttering among the delegates when the subject of measurement came up. "Clients aren’t convinced by the audience numbers, or how they’re measured" was the cry from the audience. On the contrary, said the panel, metrics are now easier to measure than ever. Unique users and page view stats can be made available to PRs and they can be much more reliable than some of the more measurements used by more traditonal media. Can they be fiddled? Probably. Can traditional media stats be fiddled? Most definitely.
So off we trotted to the fabulous Swirl Room for drinks, courtesy of Indigo Red, and some light banter. I bumped into one of my PR agency clients who is "new to this blogging stuff" and asked me to recommend some PR related blogs to have a look at, so off the top of my head came Drew Benvie, Simon Wakeman, Stephen Davies, The PR Monkey, Strumpette and The World’s Leading. Those are the blogs that are obviously stuck in the forefront of my consciousness, so sod what Technorati says, they rank highest in my little world and don’t look to be dying any time soon.