Why Doesn't Anyone Ask: If Content Is Printed On Paper, Is It Niche?

Heidi Dawley’s recent piece in Media Life, “For blogs, the real future is a ways off,” has this for a subtitle: “Though written off by many as ad vehicles.”

For “most blogs,” like ChasNote here, sure. With my few thousand readers (thank you all!), I have no plans of going public anytime soon. Nor is ChasNote on the Q4 ad buy from General Motors or HP. But as for the 40.4% of media buyers surveyed by Media Life who agreed with this statement — “I see blogs stagnating and becoming passé. They will never be a great place to advertise, they’re too unpredictable” — they’re being asked a silly question.

That’s like asking “Do you think making ads in the HD DVD format is a good idea?” It’s not relevant whether you like the HD DVD format (versus Blu Ray or the plain old cathode-tube TV format); what’s relevant is “Do my customers

spend their evenings in front of TV programming formatted in HD DVD?” The answer should be, “I like what they like, and you’ll see my ads following those customers wherever they go.”

If you frame the question about blogs in a similar way, you’ll get a much different answer.

Dawley’s article ends with Nielsen / NetRatings numbers from September 18. Among the top 25 brands online MySpace is #7, Wikipedia is #14, YouTube is #16 and About.com is #17. While that list doesn’t include any FM partner sites just yet, Digg (8,500,000 uniques), Boing Boing (2,200,000 uniques) and Dooce (800,000 uniques) aren’t exactly small either. Should marketers care that 100,000,000 young people have MySpace profiles? Should marketers care that more than 11 million people watch videos on YouTube every week? If we care about our jobs, we had damn well better care. Should we care whether Boing Boing is published using Word Press of Movable Type? I don’t think so.

So while small blog sites with specialized content are best thought of us a niche marketing oppotunities, just as are small print magazines with specialized content or small cable networks with specialized content, large-reach blogs can be reach marketing vehicles. It feels sorta stupid to write a sentence like that. But until 100% of media and marketing folks (rather than 44.7%, according to Media Life’s survey) agree with this obvious statement — “As long as blogs continue to grow and evolve and demonstrate more professionalism, they will be more accepted as an advertising medium” — the ChasNote crusade will continue.

  1. # Randy Hoffman said: October 2nd, 2006 at 9:53 am

    For any media seller with 20 years of experience, articles like Ms. Dawley’s are an exercise in frustration, but ultimately just the latest example of media “experts” predilection with the status-quo.

    Here are some examples of media buyer wisdom I have run into over the years:

    1982- Independent television stations will never be able to “reach” audiences equivalent to affiliated stations. (of course independent stations became the foundation for the FOX network)

    1985- Animation will never work in broadcast primetime…(Doooohh)!

    1990- Cable television will never be a reach medium (Now it’s just a given fact that more people watch cable programming than broadcast networks combined).

    1995- Cable cost-per-points will never be equal to broadcast cost-per-points.

    2000- Radio advertising will continue to grow faster than most other mediums due to the time people spend in their cars. (Can you say, IPOD)?

    If media buying was a stock-trading play, buying contrarian would have made you alot of money over the last 20 years.

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