Mashable mentioned an interesting trend yesterday: businesses are building blogs that are focused on their area of expertise, but not necessarily on their products. The idea is simple: by building a media outlet that interests their target demographic, businesses hope to lure more customers.
As the post notes, some journalists would argue that private companies are not credible sources. You can probably find these journalists’ stories on the pages of your favorite newspaper – right next to the ads that fund those pages. Mass media has always relied on sponsorship – entertainment or information nestled around product pitches. Why take offense when the same thing happens on the internet that happened on the DuMont network in the 50s?
From the companies’ perspective, using online media makes perfect sense. There are few better ways to extend your brand – for instance, Whole Foods runs a blog about food and recipes to help establish itself as an expert in groceries. And it’s cheap to do – all the company really needs is the mental discipline to update a blog daily.
With ventures like this cheaper, easier, and more effective than traditional advertising, you can see why advertising revenues are declining. It’s another way the business community will have to adapt to a changing world.