Advertisers, including Paramount Pictures, The Wall Street Journal, and the Gap, are successfully reaching niche audiences for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. As a result, a handful of bloggers are earning six-figure incomes from their blogs.

Why aren't more advertisers and bloggers getting together? Three reasons: fear, ignorance and the knowledge that a lot of pioneers get shot.

With click-through rates in traditional online advertising dropping, inexpensive blog click-throughs are as high as 5%. Blogs provide advertisers an excellent opportunity to reach a devoted audience niche for as little as $10 a week.

Already, blogs such as DailyKos , which receives 15 million page views a month, get $9,000 a week for advertising. Inventory is sold out weeks in advance.

Advertising on blogs is not like buying a minute on the Super Bowl, says Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads , which matches advertisers with blogs.

In his view, successful blogs are edgy and have a sense of humor, and they are recognized experts in a narrow niche. Blog audiences look at traditional ads like "Click here, get 20% off," and say, "Screw this, I've seen it everywhere," Copeland says.

Advertisers should look at blogs in terms of brand development, says Rick Bruner of Business Blog Consulting . It's easy for a billion dollar company that has a customer service or brand blog to see $100K worth of value, Bruner says, "and that's just a bug fart in the marketing budget of a Fortune 500 company."

Blogs are efficient buys

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B.L. Ochman is a social media marketing strategist for S&P 500 companies, including McGraw Hill, IBM, Cendant, and American Greetings. She publishes What's Next Blog and Ethics Crisis, where readers can confess their worst ethics transgressions and others can rate them on a scale of one to ten. She also blogs for MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog.