We all blog together

Funny, really, how many individuals' blogs in my RSS reader are having more posts saying: "Sorry, been a bit busy, here's what I've been up to." Funnily enough I was thinking of posting something similar myself. But it also got me thinking.

Part of this also stemmed from a colleague asking for a list of bloggers for area x earlier today. My list was a bit small. "That's great," came the response, "but, er, is that it."

I checked. Yes, that was indeed it. And, what's more, it was probably a bit smaller than the last area x blogger list I sent over.

Which neatly melds these two lines of thought together. This isn't a sign that the blogosphere (sorry) is getting smaller, nor are people stopping blogging. But they are consolidating.

Plenty of people still have personal blogs, but it's kind of inevitable that blog activity tails off at some point. It takes a lot of time to run and maintain a blog, especially if it's just you running it.

You know those blogging advice guides that tell you to blog every day. Great, but you try blogging every day on your own blog, plus having a job, plus having a social life, plus having a relationship, plus writing for all those other blogs you promised people to. Why, you'd almost think blogging was a full-time job.

It's one of the reasons I'm quite a fan of Posterous.

It's somewhat inevitable that, if you're any good, you'll either try and flex your muscles and write for blogs for bigger audiences, or group blogs that carry more prestige. After all, it helps you get more writing and blogging work, and so on.

So, I can either say: "Oh yes, I blog at Gary Andrews.net," and people may expect a wonderfully daily updated site. Or I can say: "I write for Soccerlens, twofootedtackle.com, and Pitch Invasion. And I have my own blog." Kind of sounds more impressive really.

If you're really good, others will pick up on your work and you might even get a mainstream publication or two pick you up for occasional pieces. Plus you flit between half a dozen different blogs. Before you know it your personal blog is looking a little forlorn or serves merely as a place to dump everything you're working on.

It's not like it's a surprise that blogging, and websites, and group blogs ape more traditional publications really. There's only a small percentage of bloggers who have the time to consistently post, and these tend to be the ones who set up blog networks.

But this brings us to another point to briefly touch on - online PR. If blogs are consolidating, and bloggers are moving between online and offline publications, where does this leave your online PR specialist?

In times past, your non-online PR (no, I have no idea what the best name to label these as is) would take care of the press, the magazines, the TV, the radio and your online PR would beaver away looking for bloggers or cool websites.

But now your blogger is writing for the newspaper, and blogging as well, and that reporter you've got labelled as a star contact is spending more time updating his blog for the newspaper, while another journalist has set up an online magazine, yet the hot young blogger has launched his new news and opinion site for the same topic and, now you come to look at them, they look remarkably similar in terms of content. And they're all on Twitter.

I'll be shocked if online PR is still considered a separate discipline in five years. And I think I'm being generous in timescale here.

Yet you'll still find people who insist online PR is a separate discipline; an area that only online specialists can deliver results. Yet, increasingly, your online and not-online PRs are pitching the same spaces and, if they're doing it well, it'll be in exactly the same way.

I've said many a time before, it's not a mystery on how to pitch blogs. To that, you can add, there's no point drawing up a long list of blogs and websites to get coverage on if you're not going to see the benefits or the ROI.

You wouldn't invite the Glossop Advertiser to a national policy briefing that has little relevance to Glossop, solely on the basis that it's the same medium as the Guardian. Similarly, why would you want to pitch a blogger on a topic that has little relevance to them, other than the fact that, like Blog Y, they're also based on the internet. Great, it's been covered by 20 bloggers. But that's not much use if it's only relevant to the audience of 2 out of the 20.

There's nothing mysterious about contacting bloggers, and there's no shame in going for the biggest blogs in that area if they're the most relevant. But it's also worth remembering not to forget the smaller individual bloggers writing in the same area. After all, they'll probably be editing the bigger blogs in a year's time.