Working at an advertising agency, I have the good fortune of seeing the work of incredibly creative people on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the vast majority of what I see is never viewed by the public, or even the client for that matter. A good bit of what advertising creatives do gets left in file 13. (“Creatives” is agency speak for art directors, designers and copywriters.) Only a handful of concepts and campaigns that meet the client’s needs and expectations, or do a particularly outstanding job of communicating on their behalf are taken to the client for review. The rest, some pretty damn good work, is discarded.

Social Media Explorer

A couple weeks back, I was invited into creative review meeting. One example of work displayed was an outdoor billboard advertising a new blog we are developing for a client. Because it is a new communications initiative, the request for creative examples of how we would market the blog was put into the pipeline. Neither the creative folks nor the account management people had reason to question whether or not advertising a blog was appropriate.

While my efforts to educate those in the building not in tune with social media standards and practices have begun and are ongoing, our blog billboards are a microcosm example of how far the marketing and advertising world still has to go in terms of developing communications and content relative to social media.

My reaction to the piece was that it was certainly well done, communicated the message and successfully promoted this new venture. But just the thought of an advertisement for a blog, especially one connected to a corporation, just seems wrong. It didn’t pass the smell test for me. Perhaps other social media strategists would disagree depending upon the client or cause.

As the weeks have passed since, I’ve mulled over the work in my head and still have no real definitive stance on whether or not advertising a blog is appropriate. Certainly, we in the social media space often discuss how to promote your blog. Many of us have small, personal blogs we hope to one day monetize, but aren’t in the position of being able to purchase banner ads or even traditional advertising to drive our traffic. Even if we were, though, would we? What about the big corporations that can afford the media buy?

I want to know what you think. Assuming the blog in question has some form of monetization as a goal, even if it’s not the primary one, is it appropriate to advertise, via online or traditional methods to promote it? Blogs that would fall into the category of my question include:

When, if ever, is an advertisement for a blog appropriate?

[tags]blog advertising, advertising a blog, blogging, advertising, marketing, blog promotion[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.moneyandblog.com Justin Dupre

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t be appropriate. We are advertising original content (at least what should be original). A blog is a product. No different than something we can buy in a store. We advertise products. Products are advertised. If you have the money to advertise, than go for it.

    Justin Dupre

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Justin — Thanks for the input. I see your point but still worry that the community here online may not think it’s kosher. Guess I might be being a bit too leery, but I certainly can see it your way. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Brett Traver

    Jason — Not to answer a question with a question, but my knowledge on social media is limited. Does the online community view corporate sponsored blogs with a tainted view already? I believe I fall more inline with your view, but I’m certain whether to advertise a blog or not would be determined by the goal of the blog/client and audience acceptance.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Hey Brett — The online community embraces corporate blogs, so long as they are honest, transparent and allow for genuine exchange between the company and the consumer. GM Fastlane, Boeing, Marriott, Dell, Southwest Airlines, Kodak, HP … all have done or are doing very nice jobs of building a conversation and connection point for customers.

    My question is whether or not the commercialization of the blog would turn the tide of acceptance. That’s one I still don’t have an answer for.

    Thanks for checking in with us. Good to see you here.

  • http://pointlessbanter.net Kevin

    I plan on doing a bumper sticker campaign for my readers as well as advertising in small “alternative” newspapers in various regions.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Kevin — Send me a sticker. It’ll be on my car, I promise. And good plan on the alternative rags. Your stuff is right up their ally!

  • Brett Traver

    It sounds like Kevin may have hit the nail on the head. He is doing something for his current audience (bumper sticker) and advertising in the medium his audience appreciates.

    If done appropriately it probably would not turn the tide of acceptance. Kevin seems to be an example of going to right way. However, you wouldn’t want to advertise a blog about eco tourism in Trucker’s Weekly. (I have no idea whether there is such a publication.)

    Bottom line: Do it but tread carefully.

  • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

    Brett — Agreed. I’ll give you a dollar if you find me a copy of Trucker’s Weekly! Heh.