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.
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.