Blog advertising expenditures have grown 300% in the past year, according to Henry Copeland, president of blogads.com, and blog advertising is still obscenely cheap. In fact, companies can make a really big brand splash for $25-$75K.

Blogs provide advertisers an excellent opportunity to reach a devoted audience niche. Nonetheless, a new American Advertising Federation study on "Digital Media Trends" reports that 58% of "advertising industry leaders" said that they personally are "struggling simply to manage existing online efforts, let alone stay ahead of the curve."

And, while blogs' impact is magnified because they reach influencers, blog numbers, until recently, have been little more than curiosities to big brands.

I predict that the cost of blog advertising will rise exponentially in the next 6-12 months. And, as traditional advertisers try a heavy-handed approach to creative, many companies will skulk away, having convinced themselves that this newfangled social media doesn't work.

Although every publication on the planet seems to have run at least one article about blogs, the first question I am asked in every time I talk about social media at conference is still, "But do blogs really work for corporations?" Pretty soon, communicators who don't know the answer will be asking, "Would you like fries with that?"

It's not their eyeballs, it's their mouths

With click-through rates in traditional online advertising dropping, inexpensive blog click-throughs are as high as 1%. Advertisers are starting to appreciate the influencer constituency on blogs, where the distinct advertising value of these audiences "isn't their eyeballs, it's their mouths," Copeland says.

Successful blogs are edgy, have a sense of humor, and 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.

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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.