A couple of days ago Om Malick posted an interview of Ray Ozzie which got me to thinking about something entirely different.
The interview is a good one though and worth checking out.
But what it got me thinking about was whether it pays for Microsoft to give this interview to a big site like GigaOm in the first place? Taking a look at Techmeme I saw most blogs covering the interview just repeated the original contents which, in my experience, is what often happens in the blogosphere.
So Microsoft's goal, to get their message to all GigaOm readers, could be achieved without giving the interview straight to them. The blogosphere is an arena where news flows up as quickly as it flows down. If they gave the interview to a smaller site the story would still end up on GigaOm within a day.
So the question is: could Microsoft have gotten more mileage out of going to a lesser blog? I think so and I think it was an opportunity missed on their part. Public Relations is the art of squeezing as much goodwill as you can out of every move you make. Microsoft didn't do that here. Ask yourself, doesn't it look a lot less like pandering when a big company goes to a smaller blog? On that note, isn't the smaller site a lot more grateful to get the interview?
The truth is, it makes Microsoft look tons better to go to a smaller site and it still achieves everything they got by going to the bigger one.
That's why, when I hear bloggers go on about the death of PR I have to chuckle. PR isn't dead its just changed into a more dynamic environment which means you can't just go to the big guys and feed them a story anymore. PR pros and those who do their own PR need to look at blogging patterns and figuring out how to use them in the most effective way.
Don't get me wrong, a company like Microsoft still needs to curry favor with the big sites like GigaOm but they're better off doing that in the background. Things like feeding exclusive tips aren't seen by the public and are more valuable to the bigger sites than a pre-canned interview anyway. This allows companies to give the interviews to smaller sites who will praise them endlessly for a story that would be nothing more than a blip on the big site's radar.