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New Kids on the Blog: how bloggers (and the internet) are becoming increasingly influential in the storage market

There was a time when bloggers were holed up in their bedrooms writing about their hobbies, when successful blogs got a couple of hundred views and no one really took them too seriously. That time is gone – bloggers are becoming increasingly influential, and a new survey for networked storage PR specialists A3 Communications has found that more and more people are getting their news and updates about the data storage industry from blogs.  

They’re people who matter: 60 per cent of IT decision-makers in financial services said that they use blogs to stay up-to-date. That’s just four per cent behind those who said they used news sites. And almost half (44 per cent) of all interviewees agreed that they too use blogs as a source of information. It’s an astounding figure, showing just how important bloggers are becoming in the media sphere, and how useful they could be for your next communications campaign.

The survey, carried out by Vanson Bourne, asked 100 UK IT decision-makers across a wide range of sectors about the media and online sources they rely on to research or keep informed about the storage industry. The results are a fantastic insight into the changing way people get their information – the information that helps them to decide about their next storage purchase.

The survey backed-up the widely recognised trend that people are increasingly relying on the internet for their news (77 per cent of all interviewees said they get their information from websites and 58 per cent research news sites). That’s compared to just 34 per cent who use print newspapers, and a tiny 16 per cent who use the radio to find out more about storage.

Interestingly though, this changes by sector, highlighting just how important it is to know who you want to reach with your PR before you start planning your tactics.

In the manufacturing sector, for instance, just 48 per cent of interviewees cited news sites as one of the ways they get the low-down on storage. Compare that to 64 per cent in the financial services.

Social media too is fast becoming a legitimate way to find out about developments and trends in the market. Gone are the days when Twitter was the place for a throw away 140 character comment. With 25 per cent of all interviewees using Twitter as a source of information, it’s time to think more strategically about how to use it as a real mouthpiece for your company. Adding social media to your overall PR strategy is a great place to start – and building relationships with your followers through meaningful conversations also helps.

This survey also highlights where you might be putting in too much effort. Just 18 per cent of all the decision-makers interviewed say they use YouTube – interesting when you consider the time and money that goes into making videos that often just languish there. Don’t dismiss it out of hand though. Instead, look at whether a film is the best way to get your message across, and if it is make sure you think about how to drive people to it, and decide what you want them to do once they’ve watched it.

The survey results are a hugely valuable window onto your customers’ media habits and are a great place to start when you’re planning your next PR activity. But it’s not just about knowing which media your audience consumes. It’s about building relationships with that media too: finding out what news they like, and how and when they want you to get in touch. Make sure you read their blog posts and articles, follow them on Twitter and really get to know them. That relationship will be really important when you’re ready to tell them all about your next piece of news.

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