Blogvertising or Adverblogging?
The great thing about the insurgence of blogging on the web is sheer number of new terms emerging every day that include the word "blog." My personal favourite is "Neighblog," which is used to describe blogs that are geographically close to you, and not, as I first assumed, blogs about horses.
I've been reading a lot lately about the use of blogs for advertising. To me, this completely misses the point of the power of the blog - or more accurately, the POTENTIAL power of the blog. Juicy Fruit tried to be an early adopter of using blogs solely to hawk a product and failed miserably. Honestly, I could write a whole entry on why the Juicy Fruit blog is terrible to the point of being offensive to anyone with half a brain, but I really want to talk about blogs as a whole.
I was recently in Victoria, where I was talking to a friend about how to promote a retail athletic wear store. They're boutique - they're not Sportchek. It's for athletes, by athletes, and you can really tell that everyone in the store knows what they're doing and wants to help. Really a unique business approach, it would seem.
Naturally, blogging came up. A great marketer, but only vaguely aware of blogs, his first instinct was that the blog would advertise sales and events. Maybe, but that's not the real power of the blog. Blogs are excellent (for now) at pulling back the layers of bullshit, and exposing something a little more real. Naturally, corporate blogs are still marketing devices, so they have to tow the party line, but the reason that people are identifying so much with blogs (in my opinion) is because it's not a sales pitch. Much like the nice people on WestJet who talked to me like I was a person instead of a customer, blogs all but do away with advertising speak and open up a conversation.
Sure, but at the core, you're still advertising, right?
I wasn't sure the answer to this question when I was first asked. The conclusion that I came to is that advertising might be a side-effect of blogging, but if you go into it with that as your main goal, it's going to fail. Nobody is going to read it, because it will seem contrived.
If I am going to go back to your blog day after day, you better give me a reason, and it's not going to be your cleverly crafted slogans.
You can't just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!The effect of crafting a corporate blog is a lot like crafting a play. I need to be lead to believe in what you're saying, not told outright. If an actor simply announce that he was sad, you wouldn't believe it. If his actions lead you to believe he's sad, it's much more powerful. The same is true with blogs.
- The Robot Devil, from Futurama
If you say "we have great service and we really care about you," you're just another voice saying the same thing as every other business. If you show me, I know you mean it. Blogs are an excellent opportunity to show me your intentions without me coming into the store. Once I believe it from the comfort of my home, I'm more likely to come in and try on that new model of Asics.
In a way, it's advertising. In another way, it's much more real.