I thought now would be a good time to review the web sites of the major PR industry trade publications. Since PR Week recently announced that much of their content would be available online for free, the whole marketplace deserves a closer look. I decided to focus this roundup on what is freely available from each site, although I do subscribe to most and there is additional content behind the “pay wall” for many of them.
Here are the five industry leading web sites I have identified in alphabetical order. Let me know if I’m overlooking any you’d like to see included.
The first thing you notice when you visit the home page of Bulldog is that it focuses heavily on promoting events and training. The only apparent way to get to any free content is to click on the “Daily Dog” link on the left hand menu bar. This is unfortunate because the Daily Dog provides some of the best regular content from any of the online PR publications, and in fact is the one I read most religiously. The Daily Dog is available by email or RSS delivery (not surprisingly, I favor the latter). It includes a good mix of new account news, product announcements, commentary & opinion, and sound advice columns.
This site provides headlines and a teaser paragraph for much of its subscription content, but if you’re looking for free news you’re mostly out of luck. They do have a blog, but as of this update it hasn’t been updated in six weeks (February 6 was the last post). Ironically, the site indicates that they used to provide content for free but have recently moved to a subscription model. The online subscription content appears to be focused mostly on personnel changes and account wins, as well as case studies.
Jack O’Dwyer’s longtime — and often controversial — coverage of the PR industry is legendary. The web site itself is heavy on free resources, but not on news or commentary. If you’re looking for agency rankings, services databases, job boards, or useful links, this site is for you. The newsletter itself requires a subscription (which many would argue is worth the price), but you won’t find any of that legendary reporting and analysis on the web site for free.
The PR News web site features primarily teaser content designed to encourage people to subscribe to their full suite of content. Much of their home page is devoted to house ads of one sort or another, some featuring events, others various publications, and of course several imploring visitors to subscribe. I couldn’t even find a place on the web site to find out the content of the current issue without a username and password. Overall this site offers very little for those interested in industry news but unwilling to pay for it.
First, these comments apply to the US edition of PR Week. That’s the one I am most familiar with, so I am sticking with it. With the new direction PR Week is taking online, the site now serves as a valuable resource for PR pros. It has a wealth of regularly updated information. It tends to be fairly heavy on who won which contract and a little lighter on techniques and professional development. The publication has a number of companion blogs to provide more up-to-date information than the print version could have. The site does pitch subscriptions, but in a relatively restrained manner. Overall the design seems focused on content over promotion. PR Week does offer regular email newsletters to keep pros updated and RSS feeds make news more accessible for the more tech savvy readers. The primary content that remains protected for subscriber access only are “features” from the print edition. While it would be nice to see those made freely available as well, the amount of free content on this site is still impressive.
If you’re looking for free news and commentary about the PR industry and prefer to rely on trade press rather than blogs, your best bets today are probably Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog or the newly unshackled PR Week web site. But perhaps you know of some publications that I’m overlooking, so be sure to let me know if you have other sites that you would include in this roundup.