bloggers & edgy content for adweek

Things at Adweek haven’t been particularly great lately with the switch away from actual weekly publication, as the magazine name suggests that it is, being the most galling. And the most indicative that it’s not happy times on the trade mag’s balance sheet.

Getting hip to the times, Adweek started and is continuing to make a major push online, which much of its content and focus going to their website…which has only generated flat traffic numbers according to Adverganza.

What to do?

An anonymous commenter, the same who first started the conversation at Adverganza, came by (digitally, of course) to elaborate on his comments. His suggestion was, succinctly, to leverage the fresh voice of ad bloggers to make the Adweek content different and edgier than AdAge’s:

“Like it or not, Adweek does not have a lot of personalities. At least not a lot of interesting ones. Morrissey tries to bring in guest columnists, but these writers are not regulars. So it’s no different than AdAge.com’s guest columnists…[the answer is to create] content that features the characters out there blogging…Let copyranter write a weekly column. Let Parker submit a “Rant of the Week.” Let Toad submit his tradigitalist perspectives on Web 2.0 or Twitter. Let Jetpacks submit a weekly crazy cartoon. And of these suggestions would inject some personality into Adweek.com.

Tapping bloggers could become a point of difference for Adweek.com. Most of the bloggers I mention bring new perspective to things; that is, many are speaking from the “grunt” levels-they’re in the trenches. These bloggers are drawing audiences because people relate to what they’re saying (versus reading yet another editorial from, say, Al Ries or Jack Trout).”

Adweek is not unlike your most basic consumer packaged good: they need to differentiate from the competition.

Obviously, as a blogger, this is not a completely unbaised opinion, but our anonymous commenter is on to something. The trades are, in many ways, interchangeable. There I things that I like and dislike about both, but at the end of the day they are really trading in similar, if not the same, information. They are commodity products, only minimally different from each other.

Sure, I read one or both every day but I expect the same from them…in a way that I never expect the same thing when I read, say, Make the Logo Bigger and Dear Jane Sample.

A move to make one or more of the industry bloggers a regular columnist at Adweek.com would certainly make the trade mag more relevant and contemporary, not to mention the fact that it would show that they get this webbernet thing and they just might pick up some traffic from the blogger’s current readership.

The main question is, for a blogger that might be approached, one of money.

What is the worth of a blogger to Adweek.com? Is a blogger’s value the size of their current audience? Is a blogger’s value the ability for their work to differentiate Adweek from traditional trade mag content? Is a blogger’s value based on something else entirely?

The question for Adweek, before approaching a blogger, is if readers will react negatively to the “co-opting” of an independent blogger’s voice by one of the trades?

If I were Adweek I would think long and hard about making a move for one of the “elite industry bloggers” but I would also think long and hard about the questions that it would raise. Especially compensation.

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2 responses to “bloggers & edgy content for adweek

  1. Let me just say a few words, as I’ve said too much already. I really believe Adweek’s future success will boil down to two basic things:

    1. Start acting like a challenger brand again. Somewhere along the way, Adweek stopped playing like the spirited upstart. They are more corporate than ever, with so many stories and columns that read like PR pieces. In the past, challenger brands battled the leaders head on, creating positions that often directly contrasted with the leaders (again, think of the old Cola Wars and Burger Wars). Today, challenger brands distinguish themselves by simply being original. Yes, this sounds very simple and obvious. But the challenge for Adweek is to design and define a unique identity.
    2. The people running Adweek.com should start acting like online content creators versus magazine editors. I still think Adweek is essentially posting its magazine content online. Adweek is experiencing the same problems as traditional advertising agencies (particularly what George Parker calls BDAs). Adweek is not showing real savvy in the digital space. They seem stuck in the only thing they feel comfortable with, which is being print journalists. People interact with magazines very differently than with Web sites. Again, this sounds simple and obvious. But Adweek needs to makes its Web site a real Web site.

    Whether or not Adweek.com integrates bloggers is almost irrelevant. Adweek.com needs to inject original personality and content. Who they have to pay to get it is their call. They may not have to pay anyone, if the organization simply started providing empowerment and certain liberties to a few key staffers. But that’s just my opinion.

  2. sorry for crying wolf, but I’m back.

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