Celebrity Blogs as Site Content

Metrics, user profiles, pricing, and availability might be top of mind when media planners strategize their campaigns, but the driving force behind a media buy is content. When it’s good, it influences all the aforementioned factors; it increases the site’s value in Internet users’ eyes, attracts a broader, more appealing audience, provokes ad sales, and boosts prices. When it’s low-grade, dull, or inappropriate, it does the opposite, driving both consumers and advertisers away.

For these reasons, it’s important to spend time with the sites you buy from on a regular basis, getting to know their new features and noting content trends. If you’ve done this recently, you’re bound to have noticed the proliferation of celebrity blogs. They’ve become a focal point for countless sites recently, so much so that some properties have launched numerous versions — and significantly enhanced their page counts and volume of marketable content in the process.

Blogs have been a part of content sites and portals for some time, but generally to provide up-to-the-minute content or further connecting users with site products and services. Southwest Airline’s Nuts About Southwest blog points to new in-flight products, employee insights, and the oddities of air travel. Online TV site Joost’s blog updates users on newly added TV series, just-released games, and television industry news. Dell’s new blog, Your Blog, specifically addresses personal technology and aims to provide an overview of product types, as opposed to just Dell-specific products.

Celebrity blogs are a little different. These too highlight a company’s product or service, but they also enhance the company’s credibility and worth to consumers by tapping into society’s obsession with public personalities. A company successfully providing potential customers with more insight into their favorite celebrities’ points of view can translate into a more favorable perception of the company itself.

Of course, the definition of a celebrity varies, depending on the nature of the industry and product category. A well-known personality in the food industry is certain to be unknown to many, but that won’t keep a site’s target audience from coming to hear him pontificate on springtime greens. For example, Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton might not be a household name, but he’s known to foodies as one of the judges on the Food Network’s reality series “The Next Iron Chef” and one-time judge on the network’s “Iron Chef America” show. Who better to draw a qualified culinary crowd of consumers by contributing to the magazine’s The BA Blog?

That said, reality television makes most everyone a celebrity, deservedly or not. Planners should be careful to ensure particularly outspoken or controversial personalities they advertise around don’t adversely affect site users’ perception of their clients. Such could be the case with BravoTV’s lineup of celebrity bloggers, cherry-picked from its more popular reality television shows.

In the extensive blog section of its site, which is constantly updated, Bravo currently offers over 30 active blogs hosted by celebrities ranging from “Top Chef” and “Project Runway” judges to standout show contestants. Blogs rotate depending on programming schedules (many more are on seasonal hiatus).

Most of Bravo’s blogs enhance existing site content with exclusive and behind-the-scenes perspectives from respected personalities with something valuable to say. Others are a place for dubious reality show participants to nitpick about how they were represented on TV and air their costars’ dirty laundry. While there’s certainly an audience for this, this type of content isn’t right for every advertiser.

Then again, knowing more about the blogs associated with the sites on your media plan could guide your campaign creative decisions. Was it a fluke that an MSN display ad reading, “There’s no way you can know everything. But you can fake it. No one wants to look dumb,” appeared adjacent to the blog of “The Real Housewives of New York City” star and designated airhead Ramona?

Now that’s what I call using celebrity blog content to its fullest potential.

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