When I first entered the search business, there was no Google. The only people even claiming to know how to monetize the search engine space was an auction-based pay-per-click company called, GoTo.com, that most pundits felt would never make it. GoTo eventually became Overture which is now Yahoo! Search Marketing. Google came out with AdWords and we all know the multi-billion dollar industry it has spawned.
The reason for this preamble to this ramble is that more and more I am being asked my views on how brands should be marketing themselves with Blogs, or what is Blog Marketing?
I think we've all come to realize that a Blog is an amazing marketing tool in terms of starting a conversation, in a human voice, with your respective audience. Now, brands want to know how to leverage other Blogs as marketing channels and, I'm afraid, my answer to immediate success is "disruption."
For a Marketer to be successful at Blog Marketing there will need to be some kind of "disruption" - a time and place where their message can inspire the conversation that falls outside of the Blog owner's voice. It's a disruption because the regular flow of the Blog must be breached no matter how relevant, timely and personal the marketing message is.
I have high hopes that true Blog Marketing will eventually just be great content. Great content that is relevant to the context of where it is being hosted. But, we have a ways to go until we're there. Until then, it's going to take someone with the stones to disrupt the conversation. This worked for search engines. When GoTo first came on the scene, the thought of search results being ranked by who paid the most was ludicrous. It was even more insane that the top-payer could simply be outbid, at any point, and loose their spot.
Blogs will also have to go through this primordial goop of advertising to find the right groove. It's almost one-hundred percent counter to the notions of The Cluetrain Manifesto. It makes no sense in the context of "markets are conversation," and it's probably the type of talk that would make David Weinberger's eyes roll (and rightfully so).
It's Friday, we have all weekend to think about it. If Marketers want to build a business out of Blog Marketing, what's the alternative? I hate to see the thoughts of this Blog post come true. I actually believe there is a way to build a Blog Marketing industry that in no way begins by going down the traditional paths of disruption and conversation interruption. The challenge is for Marketers to all agree that this is not the best way to gain revenue from Blog Marketing and start thinking about ways to engage the conversation that would result in more revenues for their products and services.
The true challenge? It's far too easy to disrupt than it is to be creative. Don't believe me? Just watch five TV commercials in a row.