Where have all the UK PR bloggers gone?

26/1/15 Post has been updated to include some entries that were missed off the original post and to take account of feedback in comments and on Twitter.

Paul Sutton posted yesterday about the “Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Comms Bloggers“. In the post Paul highlights the apparent demise of marketing and communications bloggers in the UK.

I thought I’d investigate PR related blogs in particular. To do this I analysed the tweets from over 500 of the most influential members of the UK PR community over the last 60 days (c. 140,000 tweets all told).

Within these there were a little under 2,000 domains represented that were shared by two or more members of the community during the period. Of these I spotted 73 sites that are PR related, or carry PR content, and are UK based.

6 media outlets – The Drum, Econsultancy, PRWeek, Holmes Report, PR Moment and Communicate.

35 corporate sites – almost all agencies with a few service providers included. Some, or all, of these could be in the list due to posts on their corporate blogs being shared, though it could also be content like news announcements or job opportunities.* 

Of the remaining 32 sites, 7 are multiple contributor sites – CIPR Conversation, the PRCA’s blog, Comms2point0 (Dan Slee, Darren Caveney), Behind the Spin, PR examples, PR Conversations (Judy Gombita, Heather Yaxley, Marcus Pirchner) and CharityComms. Paul’s post itself appears on both his own personal blog and the CIPR Conversation.

Leaving 25 sites that relate to a single individual “blogger”. In alphabetical order these are:

allthingsic.com (Rachel Miller)
blog.magicbeanlab.com (Mat Morrison)
byrnebabybyrne.com (Colin Bryne)
commsbird.wordpress.com (Rachel Moss)
escherman.com (Andrew Smith)
greenbanana.wordpress.com (Heather Yaxley)
maxtb.com (Max Tatton-Brown)
prstudies.com (Richard Bailey)
showmenumbers.com (Some random guy)
wadds.co.uk (Stephen Waddington)


The data suggests there’s a relatively small cohort of UK PR bloggers that are garnering attention with personal blogs.

Meanwhile a large proportion of content being shared would appear to consist of corporate blogs or people contributing to media outlets and shared platforms.


A few points to note:

1. The timeframe of this analysis (over the Christmas period) may mean that some blogs haven’t appeared because they didn’t post much, if at all, during the 60 days. I will re run the analysis in March to see if the picture is similar.

2. Posts will almost certainly be being shared through other means than Twitter, LinkedIn for example, but I would still find it surprising if interesting posts weren’t being shared to some extent on Twitter.

3. It’s possible there are blogs that are attracting significant attention from the UK PR community, just not from the group of influencers our data looks at. This seems unlikely as I’d be surprised if at least some of this group wouldn’t have picked up on such content.

4. The option to now publish within LinkedIn may be a substitute for personal blogs, as could Medium. Both of these sites appear high in the list so it could be worth looking at these in more detail.

5. I could have just missed someone relevant on the results. If anyone wants to look at the full list let me know.

* Corporate sites

I haven’t included sites that relate to agencies with global operations e.g. edelman.com, blog.ketchum.com where it’s likely that content is being created by UK based staff. The exception being where a dedicated .co.uk domain appeared in the list.


25 thoughts on “Where have all the UK PR bloggers gone?

  1. Fantastic analysis, Adam. Seems to back up my point, doesn’t it? Just 22 quality personal blogs (I define quality as having been shared by the influencer group you defined, assuming low quality wouldn’t be shared by these people) in a 60 day period. Wow.

    There are a few names on this list I don’t recognise, so will take a further look at those guys.

    Thanks for driving this conversation further!


  2. As a sometime blogger who used to appear in these sort of lists, from personal experience I found that the more I undertook corporate blogging, the less I wanted to continue my personal blog. I also found that I was drowning in the noise, as corporate blogs – plus other channels – quickly grew. Comments became all too rare and without that engagement, it kind of lost its attraction for me. And, as you mention, some people have moved towards sharing their thoughts where their audiences are such as on LinkedIn.

  3. We are way too busy to blog. Also, it’s really hard to talk about marketing, comms and PR without sounding like a bit, well, you know..

  4. I think your thought no. 4 is definitely something to look at. I’ve been thinking about blogging about PR again (too long since I have, as I switched to a personal blog about photography and travel) but my first thought was ‘why bother, when I can publish on LinkedIn and then share on other social media’?

    I haven’t investigated whether it would be the best place yet and who knows whether I’ll get around to blogging about PR at all….all those other pressures may just get in the way as always.

  5. Great post as always Adam – I hope you are well buddy.

    I thought Paul’s post was interesting and this has added to that debate. I made the point that it still seems to be the guys from back in the day 2006-8 that seem to still be blogging. Sure a few have given up and focused on corporate blogs but the worrying thing for me is people adopting blogging today. I try to encourage each and every one of my team to do it but they are busy and can find excuses if they really want to. I think everyone should still blog although I don’t think you have to blog every day for the sake of it. I think sometimes less is more.

    Brilliant analysis though – nice work.

  6. Great post Adam and coincidentally on an issue I’d been thinking about blogging about before you and Paul published your posts. It was sparked by a question from a MSc corporate comms student I was teaching who asked about the value of starting a PR blog and if it was too late as the space was filled with established PR bloggers and that blogs were now unfashionable. My response was it’s definitely still a good idea. Stephen Waddington has one of the best PR blogs, yet he was quite late into the PR blogging game – starting with contributions to his corporate blog and later to his own personal one. I also think it is important to have blog as an ‘owned’ platform rather than relying on third party ones such as LinkedIn and Medium. That said LinkedIn is very good and I’ve noticed very different results from publishing the same content on both my blog and LinkedIn. My blog posts usually gets far higher views, but LinkedIn is far, far better for comments and engagement. I always get LinkedIn comments and frequently get emails, even directly resulting in some work.

  7. Hi Adam,
    Was not expecting to see my name included in your list – but that just made my day!
    I only started blogging last April and love it – but don’t have much time to do it as often as I’d like, what with the full time day job and the three little Rugrats at home.
    Still, I love the connected community it brings with it and admire the likes of you who manage to blog great stuff, really frequently, despite a high profile demanding job. I’ve learnt so much from this experience and do it because I like to – not for any vanity metrics.
    I particularly enjoy reading the comms/marketing/PR blogs of others – so please DON’T STOP people!
    Blogging and connecting on the twittersphere helps me improve my networks, knowledge, skills, awareness of emerging trends, and has resulted in a renewed enthusiasm.
    Sounds worthy, but true.

  8. Hi Adam,

    Thanks for including me on the list – flattered and surprised to be part of it. I think it’s a really interesting topic, particularly because I don’t consider myself a ‘pr’ blogger – I tend to blog about whatever’s taken my interest or annoyed me recently. I write a lot for Hotwire’s corporate blog though, so maybe that’s something I need to reconsider.

    Would be interested to know if other people are the same or if you consider yourselves PR bloggers?

  9. Paul – thanks :) We’ve been working on Lissted’s community listening tools and I thought this was an interesting area to test them out on.

    The analysis does seem to support your point. I suppose the key question is why?

    Brendan’s points about noise and the lack of comments being potential drivers resonate, as do the potential commercial benefits of corporate/agency blogs and the reach offered by the likes of The Conversation or Econsultancy.

    But I wonder if this sort of aggregation just reinforces the very issues Brendan highlights? However if the response to your post and this one indicates anything, it’s surely that people will comment if they feel strongly enough.

    Lance, thanks for stopping by. I certainly can’t criticise infrequent posting. I posted just seven times in two and half years! Agree wholeheartedly with your last post http://disruptive-communications.com/the-biggest-challenge-of-seo/ – good PR is good SEO – and good PR and good SEO people know this.

    Carole, I already thought LinkedIn was an interesting area based on what I’d seen and Stuart’s comment about greater engagement backs this up. I definitely see its attraction as a publishing platform in a B2B context.

    Chris thanks for the kind words. The “busy” issue is definitely a big one (as both Darcy and Carole highlight as well), but I’m still with you that it’s a valuable thing to do. If nothing else blogging has helped me think through ideas and get them straight in my head, still does. That’s one reason why I’ve started posting more recently. I’ve never worried too much about whether anyone was actually reading it. Good job really……

    Stuart, fascinating to hear the different engagement experience between your blog and LinkedIn. I’ve only just started posting my blog content there and I’ve had some (small) degree of success. Is the walled garden element perhaps the reason why people are happier to engage? And if so, why the desire not to comment out in the open?

    David, sorry if I caused you angst, not my intention :) Your latest post about the McKinsey research http://diaryofacommunicator.com/2015/01/22/mckinsey-consultants-reveal-how-companies-can-transform-business-with-social-tools/ is very interesting stuff. Going to check out that report in more detail.

    Rachel, glad to have made your day! You might not post frequently, but your PR Resolutions post https://commsbird.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/prresolutions/ really struck a chord if its number of Twitter shares is anything to go by. Drinking more water and less wine is a resolution I could do with implementing.

    Tom, FWIW I’d see someone as a PR blogger if they work in PR/Comms and they blog about stuff that’s relevant, even if only obliquely. Interested to see you talking about the #CameronMustGo hashtag http://www.tomrouse.co.uk/cameronmustgo-why-trending-on-twitter-doesnt-make-your-campaign-newsworthy/, hadn’t seen the tweets you featured, “Why hasn’t the BBC reported extensively on all the films that have been ruined by removing one letter?” Brilliant stuff :) A few of us had a conversation on Twitter on that topic that you might find of interest https://twitter.com/AdParker/status/538647052595773440

  10. Hi Adam

    Just picked up on this post. Interesting.

    I will use your list, and the comments, to check out some of the PRs’ blogs I’m unfamiliar with.

    If you blog, you must have a website, I would say, and you must be sharing through Twitter, so you’ll have picked up most blogs.

    I know, as an avid blog reader, that you’re right re rarity of PR blogs. Not so re content marketing, SEO and social media marketing where brilliant analysis is to be found on a daily basis.

    Lastly, a plug for my blog (which you’ve missed:-)). I started it in April when I set up my own Glasgow PR company, after spending the previous five years as head of Weber Shandwick’s Glasgow office. Here are a few relevant posts:0)




    All the best, and good post.


  11. As someone appearing twice on the list with my personal blog and as one of the ‘owners’ of PR Conversations, I’m both surprised, and not surprised, to see few active PR blogs. I started blogging in 2006 and found it a medium that I loved, and still enjoy.

    My objective was first of all just to set up a blog as it was something people were talking about and it seemed a good idea to know how to do it. After that, all I wanted was to say in public what I was thinking about PR and other things, and never worrying about whether anyone read or commented on my posts. It gave me a platform (and a bit of a profile) and I liked being a blogger.

    So I’m still here and trying to post when I find time. Blogging is my choice medium – I’m not a huge fan of short-form social media as I want to write not simply Tweet. LinkedIn seems more promotional than pure blogging.

    One thing that I used to do much more, and am trying to focus on again in 2015 is reading blogs and commenting. That’s what the community of PR bloggers used to do more of, and how come I got to know many of those still blogging, alongside many who have come and gone.

    I’m not particularly interested in corporate blogs (most seem puffery to me) but do like finding and engaging with younger bloggers, many of whom have some interesting things to share. I’ve been checking out the blogs of the PR students featured on the BehindtheSpin blog for example.

    Anyway, I’ve had two or three ideas for blog posts floating around my head recently, so thanks for the prod, I’m going to write one of these up now ;-)

  12. Hello Adam (and thank you, Andrew Bruce for pointing to this post in the CIPR LinkedIn Group).

    Although profile for PR Conversations is always appreciated, I must point out that since its inception (in 2007), it has always been a global, collective blog, not a UK-based one.

    And of the three current principals, only Heather Yaxley is based in the UK. (Markus Pirchner is from Austria and I am Canadian.) It’s funny, because usually new readers think PR Conversations is either a Canadian or an American blog…. (The misunderstanding is even more amusing if you know that the “global, collective blog” concept was initiated by Italian PR maestro, Toni Muzi Falconi.)

    Heather does have her own blog, however, so you could add Greenbanana PR + more to the UK list. Visit: https://greenbanana.wordpress.com/


  13. All right…Heather Yaxley’s comment was not approved (in moderation) prior to writing mine, but it appears I missed her blog also (already) being on the list.

    So, I’ve returned to offer up another resource, although admittedly Catherine Sweet is American, but as she says in her About section:

    I’m Catherine Sweet. PR professional, stakeholder, communicator, teacher, novelist, American (but I have lived in the UK for more than half my life, so I am bi-lingual, fluent in both American and English). Lover of all things Italian Renaissance, ballroom dancer (argentine tango is my favourite), church bellringer, Labrador lover.

    This blog is for PR professionals, clients, and students- in short, anyone who shares my passion for good communication.


    (I met American-in-the-UK Catherine via Aussie Craig Pearce, when we both contributed to his ebook: Public Relations 2011: Issues, Insights, Ideas
    mailed-by: gmail.com. And Brit-in-Switzerland Paul Seaman also contributed to that same publication. He blogs here: http://paulseaman.eu/)

  14. David, thanks for stopping by. I agree there is a lot of blogging in the fields of content marketing, SEO and social media, though I wonder how much of it comes from the US? I might do a follow up post looking at this.

    Heather, glad to help give you a prod :-) Agree completely with your points about not worrying about readership and the drop off in comments. This last point has come up a few times.

    The consensus seems to be that there are four main areas that blogging can have value. Promotion, helping to clarify your own thoughts, making new connections and learning from others. I think the lack of comments has diluted numbers 3 and 4 leading to a split between those whose primary objective is commercial (often through corporate blogs) and those who still do it because they find the act of getting their thoughts down valuable to them.

    Judy, thanks for commenting. I was in two minds about including PR Conversations for the very reasons you state, but decided to because of Heather’s involvement.

    Regarding Catherine’s blog, as I mention I based the analysis on shares in the last two months and it looks like Catherine hasn’t blogged for quite a while and so wouldn’t appear. Which is a shame as her last post was on a topic that’s close to my heart too https://catherinesweet.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/five-out-of-ten-journalists-mislead-you/

  15. Yikes, you are right! When I checked her blog (before my second comment here), I thought that last post was from December 2014, not 2013!

    I must get on Catherine’s case to take up blogging, again.

  16. Personally speaking, when I was freelance I used to blog like crazy as it’s the best possible showcase for your offering. I’ve spent three of the last four years in-agency so have tended to blog on behalf of the company rather than myself, choosing LinkedIn Pulse as a platform for my own thoughts more recently.

    I realise a lot of those listed are agency-side, and it’s not by any means exhaustive – I’m thinking of Max Tatton-Brown’s Augur PR blog, or the Red Rocket Phil Szomszor, for example, or the Battenhall crew.

    In short, we’re all still blogging – maybe not as much as we used to – but that’s the fragmented media scene for you. I’m going to treat this as a catalyst to get back on the case with blogging.

  17. Chris, thanks for adding to the discussion. As you say it’s not an exhaustive list of all PRs who blog and it was never meant to be. The purpose was to see if the data backed up Paul’s anecdotal sense of change in the PR blogging landscape.

    Personally I think it does. In fact the comments, including your own, reinforce the picture that it paints of a shift towards corporate blogging, shared platforms and new publishing options such as LinkedIn.

    The question then is, what impact, if any, is this having on the conversation within the community? Has it become diluted, with less opinionated posts and less comments and engagement generally? If so does it matter? Do we care?

    Great to hear this conversation has given you motivation to blog, as it appears to have done for a few people, look forward to reading them :)

  18. Nice work Adam … and Paul, of course.

    It seems to me that, with the failure to attract new perspectives and new voices, the UK PR blogger community risks losing interest – and relevance – to anyone who isn’t already a member of said community.

    But maybe that’s ok. Maybe blogging (in this context) has had its day. As I said in a comment left on Facebook for Paul: “If I was in my early 20s, and trying to make a name for myself in PR and comms in 2015, I don’t think I’d blog. I think I’d probably consider blogging about comms was too self-referential, had been more than adequately covered already, and was likely to lead me into situations where the triumph of enthusiasm over experience could all too easily attract criticism.”

    If there are just 20-odd people in the UK PR blogger community that could look like a de facto closed group to anyone on the outside looking in.

    I don’t have any answers, by the way. In fact, I’m not even sure what the question is. I just thought I’d share my perspective as someone who once blogged ferociously about comms but who hasn’t felt the calling for quite some time.

  19. Brilliant post Adam.

    Could I be cheeky and ask for a bit of background on the method/tools you used during your analysis to extract the tweets and links?

  20. Sorry I’m rather late to this particular party, but I thought I better add my ten pence worth.

    I’d say it isn’t that PR blogging is dying out, but the venues are changing. LinkedIn has proved to be a very fruitful publishing platform in the last 12 months (for me at least). My Social Media Fakery post back in May for example has been viewed over 20K times with over 100 (real) comments to date – that’s more than my entire blogging output from my WordPress blog in the previous 4 years. My LinkedIn posts routinely get 000s of views rather than the low tens my own hosted blog posts often used to get.

    Another reason to like LinkedIn as a blogging platform is that it has been the least prone so far to fake accounts (although I have noted a rise in bogus profiles in recent months). Thus views, likes and comments generally are from real people. The CIPR group on LinkedIn is another example of how a particular venue can provide the feedback and comments that you might have used a blog for in the past. Lisa Preston’s post on PR and SEO for example sparked 40 comments – some of them almost blog posts in their own right.

    Certainly if you are attempting to reach a professional audience, then LinkedIn as a blogging platform has a lot going for it. IMHO.

    I tend not to duplicate content across different platforms. Hence the paucity of blog posts at blog.escherman.com in the last year. Having said that, I’ve certainly no intention of shuttering my WordPress blog.

    Finally, I have to say that much PR blogging often ends up repeating the same old themes. Reading some of my posts from 5 or 6 years ago, you often realise that actually little has changed in some respects. So rather than repeat the same old things, I’ve broadened my palette into other related areas such analytics, SEO, PPC and social media.

    If nothing else, blogging (AKA writing) is a great way of checking whether you really do have a genuine grasp of an issue. Great writing is the result of great thinking. Anything that encourages the latter and facilitates the former should continue to hold some value. Irrespective of the venue that hosts the content.

  21. I’m back to add in another comment, plus to check out whether I will still be moderated. (Because I think comment moderation is a big deterrent to blog commenting….)

    I think part of the reason why the number of bloggers, in general, is down is because people have become a lot more calculating on which blogs (written by whom) they “share.” Part of it is (no) thanks to sites like Triberr that encourage a quid pro quo approach to only sharing posts of your “tribe.” But I also see a general tendency to only share posts where the person (or her/his blog gets a mention) OR it is written by a (social) “friend.”

    I am the primary “curator” for the PR Conversations Twitter account, and I try to source posts/articles that I consider to be OF VALUE to our global audience from various communication disciplines as well as the boundary-spanning areas (like HR). What amazes me is how most people are very appreciative that something was shared and will follow the account…only to unfollow the account a few days later, because we haven’t automatically followed them back. Meanwhile, a PR Conversations post has gone online, and those same people haven’t thought to share it.

    And, truth be told, that goes for a lot of the (higher) profile UK bloggers you have listed here. They love to have their posts shared via @PRConversations, but almost never (voluntarily) share our posts (or that of guest contributors).

    It can’t always be get/take, get/take, get/take…bloggers have to be generous in giving back as well.

    That is, when something of value is written. Not an automatic share.

    There are some bloggers (including from the UK) who I think write some decent posts, but I feel less inclined to “share” their work (going forward), simply because they rarely (or never) share their appreciation in return.

  22. Such a low profile my blog does not even count. Perhaps this is because it is only used these days as a repository for essays I have written for specific users and it is, after all 10 years old.
    How awful!
    Strange though, this morning, I was contemplating using it for a succession of essays into the future of PR. There is a new generation of PR development that it can be used for.
    You know the sort of thing: Automated ‘media’ relations (http://goo.gl/6R7d4I), automated events management (http://goo.gl/0LwnMq), monitoring and responding to visual cultures; intelligence agents to create conscious constituent activity and so forth.
    I honestly don’t need ‘six ways to maximize your LinkedIn profile’ and that is where a lot of blogs are. I think that is also where a number of PR bloggers found themselves at a time when the PR industry was pondering the need to be involved and we were already doing it.
    Today looks a little different and those of us in the forefront have more interesting means for communication.

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