January 28th, 2008 | Published in Google DoubleClick
I've been glad to dust off my blogging chops with this new DoubleClick blog lately, and furthering my Web 2.0 street cred, I was just interviewed for a podcast by MarketingVoices, which just went live here. The host, Jennifer Jones, focused the interview on how marketers can effectively reach word-of-mouth influencers, and in my reply I discussed three ways marketers can use blogs to do so: 1) set up a company blog (like this one) themselves, which admittedly is easier said than done well; 2) use next-generation PR tactics to reach out to bloggers in a manner that does more good than harm (again, often still a challenge to traditional-minded PR specialists), and 3) advertising on blogs.
That last point is only still just catching on among marketers, capitalizing on the benefit of the so-called "long tail" of content and ad inventory online, but in fact it may be the most effective of all three strategies, both in terms of reach and influence. For evidence on that point, I cited our research paper "Influencing the Influencers: How Online Advertising and Media Impact Word of Mouth," which concluded that influencers pay considerably more attention to web ads than non-influencers when in the purchase decision process.
As to how marketers can reach influencers through blog advertising, I talked a bit about the emerging trend of publishers forming what are known as "vertical networks" – that is, large web publishers such as Martha Stewart and Food Network reaching out to large numbers of bloggers to form niche networks of content with high-quality small publishers. This trend is really a win-win-win: the publishers extend their reach of relevant content and advertising inventory to keep pace with the rapid growth of industry spending without a huge investment in new editorial resources; marketers can effectively reach influencers in contextually targeted content areas via existing trusted partners, and bloggers can cash in on the value they are creating with their passionate content creation without having to develop expertise in ad sales. Have a listen, you might enjoy it!