August 8, 2011
Go Blog or Go Home
I am one of those delusional sorts who imagines herself a useful contributor to the greater good.
I admit this freely, among other embarrassing things, on my personal blog. But this is my company’s blog. I hope I’m not having a Jerry Maguire moment…
You see, I sell advertising for a living. And while my Twitter alias (@Schugarmama) gives away my aspirations toward wealth, my goal remains that I do well by doing good.
In the early days of my career, I prided myself on keeping the Internet and its deluge of fun, diverse, odd, and rich content free for the masses. Certain pay-for-play ventures excluded, this has remained true. Most of your favorite properties (and mine) are advertising supported. Which means, if you’ll pardon the Colonel Jessup homage, “you WANT me selling ads… you NEED me selling ads.”
Sadly, my profession often ranks between car salesman and politician on the trust-meter and likeability factor. If this were my personal blog, I would address this with a “Suck it” and move on, but since it is not, I will say simply that not all sellers are created equal.
This isn’t an indictment of the ad world. (I’m pretty sure that might get me in trouble with the paycheck and campaign-issuers alike.) No, I love advertising. I am quite happy to rattle off my favorite ad campaigns, or discuss their merits to anyone who will listen. My poor husband is subjected to spontaneous rants about idiotic marketing campaigns, wasted broadcasting of niche products, and brand positioning that has the exact OPPOSITE effect of its intent. I love marrying ideas with execution and watching a story evolve between brands and consumers.
This is why I love social media.
Being a good story-teller is a talent, without a doubt. But telling that story with an audience of 30-300MM high-strung, opinionated, anonymous consumers interrupting, interpreting and interjecting? THAT requires mettle comprised of grit, moxie, and endurance.
If you also know that when I grow up I want to be a writer, you will understand why the world of blogs has become the place I call home. I am not a professional writer yet but my job helps professional writers get paid for their exceptional contribution to our collective cognitivity. (More selfless altruism – yay, me!)
If you don’t already know…Blogs are kind of a big deal.
If you haven’t been paying attention, more than 100 million blogs exist. But like salespeople, not all blogs are created equal.
What I find interesting about blogs is that you don’t have to be Arianna or Pete or Heather or Guy or Brian to produce professional, insightful, and follow-worthy content. The blog space is the great equalizer.
As a blogger, you may publish the inane or the influential. Reading blogs, you may trip through the absurd or you may stumble upon the profound. Large or small, experienced or new, hilarious or heartfelt, blogs and their writers are shaping national conversations, changing how we consume information, and inspiring emotion through language, passion, and journalism.
The way blogs fit into the news cycle and the role they play for brands, consumers, government, corporations, and each other has evolved dramatically and continually.
Last week, Scott Donaton wrote in his AdAge piece, “…for many brands, content dwells in a ghetto, rarely connected to, surrounded or amplified by other marketing activities.” Not every brand has the means to create the next HP ePRINT LIVE or Life Goes Strong but every brand can leverage powerful voices and the entertaining content they create in the blogosphere. And just like the sexy, branded-entertainment world that Scott is promoting, bloggers aren’t a tactic to be ticked off (pun intended); they are an organic bridge between brand and consumer. With proper maintenance and attention, these bridges will provide solid infrastructure for the exchanges you are craving.
Word to the wise, don’t make the mistake of treating bloggers like amateurs. You wanting them to partner on your brand campaign = they have value and know it. If you aren’t sure what that value is, do your research, find a trusted partner to help you explore it, or ask the bloggers themselves for guidance. Bloggers aren’t gilded spin-doctors. Bloggers are the antidote to brand bullsh*t. If you want candid, constructive feedback – about pretty much anything – ask a blogger.
If you’re left a little bewildered by the mad dash toward social, the liberation of your brand identify from your careful construction, or the rising power of consumers, the best advice I can give you is…
Go Blog or Go Home.
Christine Ryder is a 14-year digital advertising veteran day-lighting as
director of sales for Technorati Media.
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