During a recent podcast on the “new media” of blogs and Webcasts, a venture capitalist asked Steve Hall, Publisher of the Adrants blog, what he would do if an advertiser agreed to pay Steve more if his coverage resulted in more click-throughs on the vendor’s ad.

Steve, to his credit, said he wouldn’t play favorites for an advertiser, since that would only reduce the quality and credibility of his blog. The quality and credibility of his posts is only reason he has readers, he says, and, thus can charge for advertising at all.

Evan Schuman, whose StorefrontBacktalk blog I profiled recently, answered much the same way. “Our readers would smell anything that sounded too promotional or in any way irregular,” he said. “And if they saw the ad, our credibility would be killed. The best way to attract advertisers is to be attracting the right kind of readers.”

Steve and Evan are both making an “old-school” journalism argument, that quality editorial is the goose a publication needs to produce the golden egg of ad revenue. I’d answer the same way, and would hope that readers are paying enough attention to tell the difference between a writer at least trying to be impartial, and a vendor pleading their own case.

If you want coverage in a blog operating under these “old-school” journalism rules, I’d advise you play by those rules and treat them as you would a respect trade publication. Read the blog beforehand; only pitch to those that are a good fit, and work hard to find and explain the actual news value of your announcement. Link your specific announcement to broader trends, wherever you can, and have credible customers who can back up your story.

And whatever you do, DON’T hold out the promise of advertising in an attempt for coverage. Even when we bloggers aren’t pure, we like to think we are.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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