Advertisers should value what bloggers say about their brands

Blogs came into my life four years ago. I regularly read several marketing blogs, but am devoted to three that have no direct connection to our world.

Advertisers should value what bloggers say about their brands
Advertisers should value what bloggers say about their brands

One blogger is a comedy writer, one a PR professional and one an unemployed man living in Swindon, who writes more sense about politics, TV and TV ads than most journalists.

Writing a blog in this industry also seems to give you a better than average chance of your views being spotted and amplified by the trade titles - even occasionally when they don't merit it.

So far, I have resisted starting a blog, convinced that my lack of stamina would soon consign it to the mass graves of other abandoned musings.

However, that changed last week when we launched our Televisionaries blog, designed to encourage debate about the future of commercial TV.

TV generates high emotion and extreme opinion in the blogosphere.

It's impossible for us to monitor everything that's said about TV in blogs, but we do try to correct some of the wilder inaccuracies that are stated in some of the more influential ones.

Our "favourite" is the Guardian Technology Blog, where any suggestion that people might watch TV at all unleashes a swarm of avenging Furies, as if we'd said that the earth is flat or that paedophilia is a worthwhile hobby.

The purpose of the Televisionaries blog is to elicit what people would like us to cover at our forthcoming event of the same name. You're all welcome to join in.

However, the danger with all blogs and online forums is that those views are given more weight than they merit.

The easy transparency of internet comment is both a blessing and a curse. It's easy to find yourself responding to a theoretically influential, but essentially atypical, vocal minority.

Advertisers are coping with this dilemma too. The things people say about them online are important; they would be foolish not to track comments and value that feedback.

They might even try to influence it, although our experience is that it's what you do offline that has the biggest effect on what gets said about you online, and any deviousness, such as fake comments, will inevitably bite you in the bum.

But they, and we, must put in at least as much effort to understand the views of the 99% of the population who don't comment on blogs.

Tess Alps is chief executive of Thinkbox, tess.alps@haymarket.com

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