This “news section” of our site is a blog about advertising- it’s our way of letting clients and potential clients what’s on our minds when it comes to advertising. It also gets us to the top of Google and improves our search results and brings a lot of visitors to our site. Can’t beat that.
We are students of advertising- we pay attention to what is happening in the business. We believe it’s essential for us to know what leading thinkers are thinking about, who did what campaign, what the strategy is, and if it’s working. To do that- we read other advertising blogs- and often, we’re disappointed- not in the content- but in the tools they use.
Web 2.0 depends on “building community” with your readers. That’s what the little comments section at the bottom of each post is all about. It’s a way to become part of a discussion- and to build connections with people who share your interests. Unfortunately, many of the ad blogs don’t include tools to keep those conversations going- and it frustrates me no end.
Example: Ernie Schenck, co-founder of Pagano Schenck & Kay, winner of all the big ad awards, and now a freelance creative, has an insightful blog Ernie Schenck calls this advertising? He has a ton of bright readers, who comment often- however, Ernie uses a hosted TypePad solution- and has no way of notifying commenters that there have been additional comments on their thread. In WordPress, this is the subscribe to comments plug-in, and it can help your comment count (user generated content) grow considerably- fostering long discussions on a subject (we have one post with 109 comments at last count). Alas, Ernie is another great creative- with minimal understanding of the technology. Room 116 at VCU suffers from this same issue.
Same can be said of Mark Silveira’s “Ordinary Advertising” blog- again, using a non-wordpress platform, the site almost never is able to post comments without an e-mail to Mark. He doesn’t post that often, but I keep it in my feed reader because I liked his book “Ordinary advertising – and how to avoid it like the plague.” WordPress has an excellent plug-in called “Spam Karma II” that allows you to make sure you aren’t being comment spammed- and post immediately (without moderation) to keep your site discussions humming without requiring your attention to every comment (you can still blacklist bad words, or go back in and edit comments easily).
Some sites use Blogger- like “The ranch”- the University of Texas ad blog. Blogger ticks me off because to comment- they want you to set up your blogger blog. Just like good advertising, a good blog back-end shouldn’t force you to do something you don’t want to do (or make it difficult to contact you).
Luckily- all these sites can switch to WordPress- since there is a built in import and translate function for Blogger, Dotclear, LiveJournal, Moveable type and Text Pattern- there is also a way to import via RSS – which could be used for importing from some other arcane solution. See more about importing on the codex.
While there are successful blogs using tools other than WordPress- the key to good open source software is the size of the development community. The bigger the community- the more developers, bug testers, bug squashers, theme developers, plug-in writers etc. WordPress seems to be the technology with momentum- and, it also allows for a pretty simple translation to Drupal if you need your site to do much more (although the commenting functions in Drupal still don’t work as well as WordPress- see D’Arcy Normans site for info on making the change).
WordPress also has an amazingly simple, yet powerful interface- and allows for multiple authors on the same blog- with different levels of access- making it a great tool for any agency to get their entire staff into the content creation process. We’ve been so successful with results for our clients with WordPress that we now offer a seminar called Blogosopher, but soon to be rechristened “Websitetology” (due to the Midwest’s fear of the word “blog” it’s not considered a serious business tool by the local Luddite community). We’re available to come speak to your Ad Club chapter with an abbreviated version of the seminar- and/or to give the seminars (a basic and advanced course- each 3.5 hours long) to your membership- contact us for details.
Using the right tools to blog is like using the right media to reach your audience. The creative types who have taken the leap to use a blog to communicate their message to the masses are all smart people- just not all are tech savvy. Hopefully, this post will lead them to a better blog- and a larger audience.