“Blogboarding: A Blog is Not an Ad”

What do this

Truck Billboard

and this (click to enlarge) have in common?

blogboard4.jpg

They are both self-promotion tools advertising ways their businesses can help you “promote” your business. That is not a blog. That is a blogboard, the online equivalent of a billboard.

A Blog is NOT an Ad

I will not deny that a blog is a branding mechanism and promotional tool, but not in the sense of traditional self promotion. By participating in an online discussion and contributing to it, you build your brand’s (or your own) reputation. It’s also about sharing.

Sharing is Caring

Cats sharingAmong other things, social media empowers the little guy to have the strength of big business. There is something subversive when we blog about social media tactics. There is also something honest and liberating about sharing instead of hording.

Take a look at Todd‘s, Kami‘s, Brian‘s, Chris‘ or Shel‘s blogs. Their blogs all give the same insight, strategies and tactics that they charge their clients for. Does blogging decrease the inbound sales for clients? Perhaps, but not likely. What it does do is help a curious, prospective client get a feel for the philosophy of their company. It also helps current clients stay informed.

Blogging also helps increase transparency. When a client knows what I’m doing, they have more faith in me and are more engaged. Nothing makes me happier than when a client discusses something they read on my blog or any blog…if it’s not a blogboard!

Fight Blogboarding! Show us, don’t tell us.

Oh: and NEVER put contact information in the post. Save that for the “About” section.

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3 Comments

Filed under Best Practices, Future of Media, How To, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Rants, Sharing is Caring, Social Media

3 responses to ““Blogboarding: A Blog is Not an Ad”

  1. Steven Phenix

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for sharing YOUR opinion of what a blog is supposed to be about.

    Here’s USC Annenberg’s Online Journalism pinging Jeff Jarvis on the definition of a blog:

    “There is no need to define ‘blog.’ I doubt there ever was such a call to define ‘newspaper’ or ‘television’ or ‘radio’ or ‘book’ — or, for that matter, ‘telephone’ or ‘instant messenger.’ A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list. People will use it however they wish. And it is way too soon in the invention of uses for this tool to limit it with a set definition. That’s why I resist even calling it a medium; it is a means of sharing information and also of interacting: It’s more about conversation than content … so far. I think it is equally tiresome and useless to argue about whether blogs are journalism, for journalism is not limited by the tool or medium or person used in the act. Blogs are whatever they want to be. Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining ‘blog’ is a fool’s errand.”

    The full post can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/2xsjlv

    Personally and professionally I’m constantly experimenting with a number of different ways to blog. It was nice of you to notice and I’m happy to be your proof point in this post.

    I travel to SF a lot, so the next time I’m your way let’s go out for a drink. I’d love to hear more of your opinions on blogging.

    Hook ’em Horns!

    -Steven

  2. Hi Steven:

    Thanks for your comment. I agree that a blog can be flexible. If BloggerX wants to talk about their grocery list, that’s fine by me. However, I think that as PR and social media evolve, we as an industry must determine what these tools mean to us.

    Did we as an industry discuss the Press Release when it first developed? I don’t know, but we have done a lot of talking about it now. Did the newspaper publishers discuss how the medium would evolve? I don’t know what happened back in the day, but today there is a lot of talk about “bastardizing” the press (ala Rupert Murdoch/Wall Street Journal) or the “tabloidization” of mainstream media.

    In the last couple of months, PR peeps have been under fire and social media has been portrayed as the new snake oil. To be taken seriously, I feel we have to discuss these things and what they mean to us. What are the standards that we as a community and an industry hold dear to us and how do our actions appear to those outside our community? These questions will be more important as the technology is adopted by a larger segment of the population.

    If we allow astro-turfing and blogboarding, then we basically set a precedence allowing advertising and advertorials to take over a space that many consider to be an honest, open arena for discussion.

    Since it is a discussion, there are many voices involved. Thank you for sharing yours, Steven. I’d also love to hear from any other readers out there.

    \m/ (hook ’em)

    Chris

  3. mias001

    Hi Chris, Steven.

    Interesting blog post. I love it.

    I agree to a great extent with what Steven has to say. There is no set regulations / rules for blogging and as such can be used for anything. As with anything in life, social response aka social norms aka the majority would ultimately decide on the guidelines of a “medium” that is not governed by law.

    Which plays back into Chris’ hands. Because from my experience neither bloggers, nor consumers/customers/clients appreciate interruption marketing/forced advertising.

    Blogboarding seems to simply be an extension or exploitation of a gray area between interruption marketing and communications / conversations.

    However, should your customers favourably respond to it, then I reckon you should by all means continue with it.

    My gut tells me that consumers will dislike it aggressively though.

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