(Author's note: This blog post is a golden oldie -- or moldy oldie, depending on your perspective -- circa 2006. If you happen to stumble upon this post 15 years or more after its original publication, it will give you an idea of how PR blogs have evolved, and exploded, since this time.)
In response to my reference to Steve Rubel as "the leading PR authority among bloggers, according to Technorati and just about any other quantifiable measure,"Usher Lieberman has suggested that I have confused "leading" with "loudest."
I realize that not everyone is a fan of Steve, but Usher's comment does beg an interesting question: Is there really an objective way to determine blog leadership? Jeremy Zawodny has pointed out how difficult it is to follow online conversations at all -- let alone to establish recognized authorities.
The measurement tools are just not that reliable at this stage. Personally, I use several tools to track my online footprint, all of which return fairly disparate results.
To give you an idea of what's out there, here's Technorati's list of the top blogs tagged "Public Relations," sorted by authority. (I've eliminated duplicate mentions for blogs that were listed twice.)
For anyone familiar with the PR blogging community and best PR blogs, this list is problematic for a number of reasons. For example:
1. Some of these blogs aren't really about public relations. Their authors simply tagged them "public relations" because they occasionally touch on PR issues.
2. If you search under a different term, such as "PR," everything changes. My blog standing goes down a bit, while excellent blogs like Piaras Kelly PR, Phil's Blogservations, and Niall Cook's Marketing Technology jump into the fray. Piaras, Phil and Niall simply didn't tag their blogs "Public Relations."
3. Other top PR bloggers aren't listed at all, because they've never signed up with Technorati.
4. Different tools, such as FeedMap, are required if you are interested in sorting U.S. from non-U.S. blogs or creating other categories. (I'm proud to say that John Wagner and Steven Phenix are fellow Texans, but I had to stumble upon that fact on my own.)
So we prove Jeremy Z.'s point: Trying to figure out where your blog, your company, or your clients stand in the blogosphere is hard work. It requires a lot of guesswork and triangulation. Let's hope -- with the infusions of cash we're beginning to see in the Web 2.0 world -- that this will change.
And of course, the larger question is this: are the top PR blogs the best PR blogs, or does audience size have relatively little to do with quality and insight? The answer of most PR bloggers usually seems to depend on how popular their own blog is at the moment.
Scott Baradell is CEO of the unified PR and marketing agency Idea Grove, one of the top 25 technology PR firms in the United States. His first book,
Trust Signals, is scheduled for publication in 2021.