ClickZ Is Blogging

Here at ClickZ, we think we know blogs.

We’ve been covering them for well over three years. Back in June 2003, we organized the first-ever conference on blogs as a marketing and communications tool for businesses. No small number of our columnists blog, our colleagues at Search Engine Watch blog, and some of ClickZ’s staff editors run one or more blogs in their free time.

And today, ClickZ finally launched a blog of its own. What took us so long? And how come we’re blogging, anyway? I’ll try to explain.

All the News That Fits

One of the primary reasons for the ClickZ News Blog is scale. There’s an absolute glut of interactive marketing and advertising news these days. Our editors simply can’t cover everything in depth. We’re making harder and harder calls about what we do cover.

The blog is a place where a well-informed, connected, and seasoned group of editors can provide glimpses into the stories we can’t fit into our News section, but which shouldn’t go unmentioned, either.

Give and Take

The blog is also a place where we hope to have a dialogue with our readers on a number of levels. We publish reader feedback, of course, and we’ll continue to do so. Comments on blog posts will be more immediate (we had to start human-editing feedback a few years ago due to spam).

And because the blog will also serve as an editorial test bed, your input will help us shape future stories. In fact, sometimes we’ll throw out source queries to you for stories we’ve got in the works. Right now, Zach Rodgers is looking for input for a story on video game ads. Kevin Newcomb’s hoping to connect with people for a piece on classified aggregators. So if you want to be quoted in ClickZ, or know when to send a relevant pitch and to whom, keep an eye on the blog. We’re always looking to deepen our knowledge and our network.

What’s the Diff?

Plenty has been written and debated about the difference between blogs and “real” news. I won’t get into that debate here, but I will explain how we view the difference between ClickZ News and the ClickZ News Blog.

Our staff editors will contribute to the blog, but it won’t be as “journalistic” as the stories that publish in our News section. Blog entries won’t be third-party edited or fact-checked, as all our news stories are. They won’t be subject to the thumbs-up or -down scrutiny of the daily news meeting. The blog won’t necessarily be subject to the outside verification rule we hold our news stories to. We may write up something on the blog directly from a press release, for example. Doing that in a news story without first speaking with outside sources is a big no-no. The blog’s a place where inverted-pyramid reporting isn’t the rule, and a wee bit of opinion or bias may sneak into the text.

Does that undermine our blog’s credibility? We doubt that very much. ClickZ editors’ coverage of interactive marketing and advertising issues is, after all, a far cry from your Aunt Selma blogging the same topics. We’re professional journalists with deep and highly specialized industry knowledge.

We’re also using the blog to update, expand upon, or annotate existing news stories.

Though writing about blogging is old hat, doing it ourselves is new terrain. We waited until we had a sound reason to launch a blog — we didn’t jump into the fray willy-nilly. We first launched a prototype behind a firewall to see how things worked out in terms of content, design, ads, and other elements. Sure, the blog is still a bit of an experiment. But we didn’t want to subject readers to the really messy (or non-functional) parts!

It’s only Day One, so we really don’t know what’s working. But we’re glad we did catch some stuff that wasn’t. When I told our friends at Organic what we were up to, I was gratified to learn this very smart interactive consultancy is going through the very same test-then-soft-launch process. I was kindly given permission to publish a link to Three Minds, the agency’s not-officially-live-yet group blog. It’s gestating very much the same way our own blog did; a group of people who have long worked collaboratively are learning to blog collaboratively, too. It’s an approach I recommend to companies considering their own collective blog.

So take a look at ours or subscribe to the feed. And please let us know what you think!

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