Betting on Blogs
Posted: December 18, 2008 | 8:27 ET by Tessa Wegert
Blogs are everywhere. They've proliferated in recent years, going from virtual obscurity to becoming a respectable form of online media. Proactive Internet users and businesses that recognized the benefits of adding an entirely new content channel propelled this medium forward, and it's thanks to them that blogs now represent a viable advertising opportunity.
Of the millions that exist, most blogs can't actually offer the quality content and volume of readers necessary to warrant a media buy. But those that can have the potential to deliver very desirable results.
The appeal of a blog for advertising purposes lies in several different facets of its character. Blogs have an air of authenticity to them that attracts and retains the interest of consumers. This inherent sincerity for which they have gained a reputation lends itself well to niche topics and industries, many of which are of particular interest to marketers.
The tech industry, for example, has embraced blogs, using them to offer up-to-the-minute reports on hot topics like gaming as well as unbiased product reviews. Tech blogs attract smart, Internet-savvy consumers who are apt to spend more money online and become advocates for the products they approve of. Now what tech marketer wouldn't want to tap into that?
Not only do they attract consumers, but blogs attract them often. Because blog content is constantly updated, readers come back again and again. Many visit multiple times in a week, or even in a single day. This creates more exposure to marketers' ads, and affords more opportunities for you to connect with potential customers.
Blogs serve another purpose that's of value to advertisers: to engage consumers in an active dialogue. This is important because audiences that are engaged with and invested in a site and its content tend to be more responsive than passive site users to advertising that's relevant and interesting to them.
The key words here are "relevant" and "interesting." Try repurposing your mainstream media ads, and you may not get the results you seek. Blog readers are more likely to be forward thinking with a unique perspective on things. The ads they'll like best are those that are unique as well.
Buying into BlogsIn the world of blogs, advertisers have two options for buying ads on blogs: they can buy directly from the blog or parent site to which it belongs, or they can buy through a blog advertising network. Often the decision isn't left up to you; smaller blogs with limited resources tend to pass their ad selling duties on to networks, so if the blog you have your eye on is of the niche variety, you may find yourself calling up a network sales rep. The benefit to this approach is that you'll receive access not only to a larger audience, but also a greater spectrum of content on your topic of choice.
Buying direct is typically as easy as purchasing any other ad placement from the site. Some sites bundle blog ad buys with other placements, as the blog alone might not be able to deliver the necessary number of impressions required for your campaign.
Because they are formatted to deliver current information in manageable bites, blogs have found favour with entertainment and lifestyle portals, and of course, the newspaper industry. You can bet sites that make a business of being first to market with content that's in demand have a blog. By now every major North American paper has added at least one blog to its site (including the Globe and Mail), whether to share the musings of its reporters and columnists in a less formal fashion, or present added-value information that consumers might not otherwise receive.
Buying from a network is simple as well. You'll probably find yourself talking to one of three major blog networks: Federated Media, Gawker Media, and Blogads. Between them they represent most of the better known and more visited blogs on a variety of subject matters, from celebrity gossip sites like Gawker.com and PerezHilton.com to tech blogs like BoingBoing, TechCrunch, and social news site Digg.
A quick glance at the audience profiles of such sites offers a glimpse into the new face of blog readers. No longer are they the young procrastinators they were once assumed to be. These days, blog readers are more likely to be discerning white-collar professionals with the power to influence their peers. No wonder blogs have attracted major advertisers from such industries as travel, automotive, high-end electronics, and consumer packaged goods.
Advertise with a blog and you'll be in good company. Not only have consumers grown to love them, but marketers have as well.
Tessa Wegert is a veteran Internet media strategist and writer covering interactive marketing and technology. For links to her past articles and columns visit tessawegert.com, or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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Tessa Wegert is a veteran media strategist with a background in media planning and buying, content development, ad copywriting, and campaign management. As a prominent industry writer she has been covering digital marketing and technology for leading newspapers and trade publications for over a decade. Connect with her on Twitter (@tessawegert) and LinkedIn.