Yes, sometimes it’s in our best interest to do something we don’t really want to do, to literally kiss the pig. Nothing could better typify this than the great ad debate, that age old fight that occurs in media wherein the editorial staff seeks to maintain their supposed journalistic credibility by running a publication that is utterly advertising free, while the ad staff is running around trying to turn your hallowed publication into The Want Advertiser.
When I worked in print, the editorial staff barely deigned to acknowledge the existentence of the advertising (in fact, most editorial content management systems in print media do not show the ads, only the blocked out holes where ads will go) while the advertising team referred derisively to the actual content of the paper as the “News Hole” (making the purveryors of such “newsholes”).
In some ways, things have been worse for online media, especially niche media. Online, many of us were able to build out our sites without the benefit of advertising, channeling the Field of Dreams mantra “build it and they will come.”
Unfortunately, many of us found that we were simply too small to attract the advertisers we wanted. We found the endemic advertisers with in our niches were generally too small to foot the bill for what we wanted. In the end, many of us found we either had to sell or buy, that owning a single site wasn’t enough.
In the past few days I’ve seen a miraculous transformation on Reel-time, the site that I started with. The site finally hit the radar of the NameMedia sales team, and all of a sudden, I’m finding there’s a lot of interest in what turns out to be a huge reservior of potential page views.
The funny thing is that they’re now talking with people who would never have returned a phone call from Reel-Time a year ago. If we’d even bothered to make the call.
So, in the long run I’ve learned the big secret of publishing: you’ve got to love advertising, and in particular your ad sales guys.