Thinking Marketing Thoughts

May 24th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We know, we know. You’re saying, “Booksquare, what does advertising have to do with us? We are writers. We demand information.” We, in response, will stroke our chin and gaze off into space. Finally, after a long pause fraught with whatever it is that fraughts pauses, we will say, “Young Grasshopper, you have so much to learn. Let us guide you. Put your trust in our wisdom.”

Then, after everyone stops laughing, we’d resume our normal routine of mainlining coffee and making stuff up.

Actually, if truth be told, we’ve been waiting for months for just the right moment to bring up advertising and how you can use it. Patience. It’s no sloth, but apparently is a virtue. We heard Phil Kaplan of AdBrite speak in Austin this past March, and were interested in what he and his fellow panelists — Jason Calcanis (Weblogs, Inc.), Henry Copeland (BlogAds, Bill Flitter (, and Gohul Rajaram (Google) — had to say. Links to sites via the second link below; highlights of the session via the third link…you didn’t think we were going to retype our notes, did you?

The Los Angeles Times focuses on how a bad boy turns his life around (no, seriously, it does). We’re going to focus on another angle: can you use advertising to your advantage? Let us answer our question with a question: did you know that people actually click on Google ads? It’s true. Those ubiquitious text ads (some graphic) actually drive traffic to websites. As far as marketing investments go, they are reasonably priced. Your job, of course, is to write enticing (and short) ad copy and target the right keywords. Naturally, the flipside is that running the ads on your site can generate a little extra income (actually, a lot if you have the right niche, but we’re focusing on writing at the moment).

Companies like BlogAds focus (almost) entirely on the blogopshere. Sure, you can run the ads on your site, but we’re talking about you. A well-designed ad placed on a major site (and site owners do have control over what runs) can bring you and your work to the attention of readers. You’ll get more coverage from well-situated blogs than you will from a New York Times quarter page ad. Probably for a lot less money, too.

Pheedo is doing something interesting. Something we’ve been expecting for a while. Expecting meaning anticipating and dreading at the same time: ads in RSS feeds (you knew it was coming). We’re not going to say that there are some readers who don’t always click through to your site, but there are some readers who treat their RSS feeds like email, only clicking on a link when the spirit moves them.

But, you say, I don’t want to be obnoxious. I don’t want to, sigh, advertise. Therein lies the beauty of our plan: you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to promote your work. You don’t have to come up with 35 of the most clever characters, strung together as words, in the English language. You are in control.

However, we will suggest that it’s a tough market out there. There’s nothing like a little advantage. Of course, this means you have to pull on your pajamas do some research (because we are not going to learn about stuff like CPMs for you). Go ahead, look into a little advertising for your next book. The contract you save may be your own.

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