I'd be tempted to go for the latter. Blogging has been around for long enough for it to be established as a mainstream form of media for PR practitioners, so for nearly one in five (according to our PR attitudes to bloggers survey published today) to ignore it is disappointing.
I guess one argument could be that certain sectors - industrial, for example - are not well represented by bloggers and so PRs specialising in those sectors may have an excuse. Even so I would imagine even in the most obscure areas there are at least a handful of relevant blogs – a opinion echoed in Sally Whittle's whitepaper The Smart PR's Guide to Blogger Outreach, also published by DWPub today. And surely fewer blogs in a sector actually makes life easier from a PR perspective rather than being a reason to ignore blogs altogether.
So on that basis surely the vast majority - close to 100 per cent - should be working with bloggers, not the 82 per cent found in our survey.
It is also possible that our survey, which admittedly lacks academic rigour, masks the complete picture. I suspect if anything the method behind the survey - an online form for which invites were sent by email and social media - perhaps skewed results more towards a positive attitude to bloggers, as those likely to respond were possibly pre-disposed to social media and therefore blogging. Which suggests that in reality the situation is rather worse, with perhaps significantly more than one in five PR professionals ignoring bloggers.
This rather brings us back to the now rather tired, but sadly still relevant, mantra of 'PR needs to do more to embrace digital media'. It was way back in April 2007 that I personally alluded to this argument with my whitepaper Public Relations versus Search Marketing, and no doubt a great deal has changed since then. But not enough.
This perspective is supported by another result of the survey that found that of those who work with bloggers only 26 per cent believe their relationship with bloggers is 'strong'. Though this could be symptomatic of a blogger community that is unfamiliar, and perhaps suspicious, of the role of PR.
On the positive side our survey found that 98 per cent of PR professionals found bloggers 'useful or invaluable', which suggests that there is widespread awareness of the benefits of working with bloggers, despite not all PR professionals actually doing it. And of those who do engage with bloggers, 67 per cent have a dedicated approach when dealing with bloggers, suggesting a majority are doing in in an intelligent way.