Reader Poll: Should This Blog Run PR Job Ads

January 16, 2010 · 24 comments

Talentseekr-logoLast week, I was approached by an ad rep from TalentSeekr, who wanted to know if I’d be interested in placing a widget over there in one of my sidebars that spotlights PR jobs my readers might be interested in learning about.

Though I thought I’d never be interested in running ads on this blog, I was curious. It’s a tough economy and the marketing and PR fields have had a rough couple of years as companies have downsized their communications budgets in light of the recession. I’ve had many incredibly talented friends find themselves without a job. I thought it could be really cool if someone reading a post here was alerted to their next great PR opportunity.

After doing some research on TalentSeekr and asking the rep lots of questions, I have to say I’m pretty impressed initially. The PR job ads would be relevant to regular readers. And once you click through the ad, you’re taken to a nice landing page for the company, where they outline their culture, the open position, benefits and more. It’s a pretty nice user experience.

So I’m interested in your opinion. Would you be totally turned off if a widget ends up in the sidebar that advertises PR positions? Or do you see it as a good opportunity to help point out career opportunities to our industry peers who happen to spend a few minutes here?

Please take a second to answer the poll. And add any additional thoughts in the comments.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brady Hudkins January 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I think there is little wrong with legit advertising. If you were simply littering your blog to make a buck off of keywords that you write about, I don’t think anyone would notice and if they did, attention would most likely be negative. But as good advertising does, you are attempting to help a possible audience member find a service that they didn’t know existed or weren’t informed enough to explore further.
I think that providing a legitimate ad for a service you intend to be positive is a good move for some of your possible audience and possibly for you as well.

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2 David January 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brady.

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3 Mighty Casey January 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Targeted ads like the job stream you’re considering would be both a good fit for your blog AND a traffic driver. Do it.

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4 David January 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Thanks, Casey! I always love when you leave a comment because when I see your name I can’t help but hear the words of one of my favorite childhood books in my head. :)

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5 Arik Hanson January 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Think we may have received the same email this week. I had similar struggles but find myself leaning toward “no.” Here’s why:

While I blog about PR and communications issues, I don’t typically blog about PR jobs. I know that’s not the point, but it plays into it for me.

Also, I don’t want my blog to be one of those blogs littered with ads. I know we’re only talking about one widget here, but one could lead to two. You get the idea. Like you said, kudos to those who take that approach. It’s just not for me.

And finally, unlike others, I don’t blog to make money. At least not directly. I blog because I want to share my thoughts and opinions with a community that I value. And, I hope they visit my blog often to share their thoughts and opinions. By placing ads on my blog, a part of me feels like I’m betraying their trust. Another part of me feels like I’m being greedy. I know, I’m crazy (you wouldn’t be the first person to call me crazy). It’s just how I feel. Like I said, I’m just not a big fan of the ads on personal blogs. It’s not for me. Again, just my opinion.

Good luck with the decision, David. I know you’ll take your time, evaluate the options, and make the right choice for you.

@arikhanson

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6 David January 16, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Good to hear your thoughts, Arik. Thanks for sharing them.

When I first started blogging, I decided there wouldn’t be any affiliate links or Google AdWords littering my blog. And that’s been an easy decision so far. My thinking was really similar to yours.

The reason I didn’t dismiss it right away though, is that it will be PR jobs. While I write about more than just PR (integrated comms, advertising, etc.), PR pros make up the majority of people who read this space. So it seems relevant.

One thing that’s funny is that as I’ve been thinking about this, I remembered the day you launched an initiative to help Sonny and Scott land great opportunities after they became “free agents” by leveraging the social web to spread the word about them. I thought that was awesome.

There are lots of great “free agents” out there. And that’s what’s making this decision a tad harder for me so far. Not that a single job ad on a rinky dink blog like mine will change the world or find jobs for the masses. But even if 1 person was pointed to a good opportunity, that would be cool.

In terms of one leading to another and the risk of having a littered sidebar, I think that has a lot to do with self control. I personally can’t stand sidebars with lots of ads in them.

Thanks again! Always appreciate your opinion.

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7 Ari Herzog January 21, 2010 at 1:20 am

Wow, it’s about time I receive the same email pitch as some of the top marketing bloggers. If you and Dave also received the email– as did I–then I’m unsure if I should smile or frown, not knowing how many people received it.

I’m also leaning towards “no” for the same reasons you write, Arik.

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8 Rachel Kay January 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm

David,

Congratulations on creating a significant enough blog that people want to advertise on it – that’s says quite a bit!

Interestingly I disagree with Arik (which rarely happens). I don’t think adding a couple of paid banners to your site degrades it. I know for a fact that won’t influence the topics you write about, and an ad is a completely transparent way to generate income. I don’t think it makes you a sell out, I think it means you’ve graduated from a starter blog, to a sophisticated editorial destination. CNN places ads, so why shouldn’t you?

In response to another point Arik made, I don’t think it matters whether or not you blog about PR jobs specifically – its about target audience. Your audience is PR people and so is your potential advertiser’s – perfect match. It’s not unlike a food product ad in a cooking publication. They may not write about consumer packaged goods but the audience still overlaps.

I could be wrong and I’m interested to see what others say. I’m much newer to blogging than Arik so he may be more on target, but my first instinct is go for it.

Rachel Kay
@rachelakay

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9 David January 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Great points. That’s where my head has been on this so far.

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10 Shonali Burke, ABC January 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Dave – I too was approached by the same company for the same purpose. I haven’t made up my mind as yet, but I’m considering it very seriously. Why? First, if it’s legit (which it is), completely transparent, and tailored to my target audience, I don’t think there is anything to complain about. Second, if we can help folks in our field find gainful employment, how is that a bad thing? One of the things I do often (regardless of whether I tweet about it or not) is mentor younger people and connect folks looking for jobs with others in my network. So in a way, this is an extension of activities I have been engaging in for several years.

Like you, I didn’t start blogging to make money – I started blogging to have an online voice (regardless of what I’d already achieved offline). As a relatively new blogger, I’m still learning, but would like to think that my readers/people who know me would know that I would not accept advertising that would “stink” or be off the mark in any way. If they do, my readership/traffic/comments, etc., will let me know – and then I’ll change course. But if this can help supplement my income while in no way denigrating my integrity, I can’t see how it’s a bad thing.

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11 David January 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Thanks for taking time to weigh in, Shonali. And for sharing how you’ve been thinking through this opp.

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12 Arik Hanson January 16, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Rachel:

You’re right–this might be a first. It’s funny, you know. If David was my “client” I would probably advise him to do this (for many of the exact points you and David make above). But, like I said, it’s just not for me. In this case, I think it’s just a personal decision about something that’s become very personal for me (blogging).

I think I may have written my initial comment a little hastily (sorry). I’m definitely not saying that by accepting these ads, David is selling out. And, if he chooses to accept the ads, they most certainly will not degrade the content of his blog. This is a personal decision for David. And, I will continue to be one of his biggest fans, no matter what he decides in this situation.

I know the approach TalentSeekR is taking here is sound (targeting PR bloggers). I put some time into researching the company and what they’re suggesting myself. But again, it’s just a personal decision for me. Not damning those who do. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Great discussion topic!

@arikhanson

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13 Richie Escovedo January 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm

David, I’m so glad you shard this post and poll. I, like you and the others, received this same e-mail offer for advertising on my blog. I had really never given this much thought before now. I’ve turned down an offer for advertising before, but it was mainly because it didn’t seem like a good fit for me, my blog and its readers.

What gave me pause with this proposal was the PR jobs target. I am leaning toward the side of accepting the sponsorship for my blog in the hopes that maybe it can be of some help to somebody.

Arik, you bring up excellent points and I agree with you on the personal choice aspect especially. just my $.02.

@vedo

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14 Danny Brown January 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Looks like the advertiser has been out in force this week – got the same email, and spoke to a good friend about it being on his blog as well. Like you, his target audience fits the advertising, so it would make sense. I also spoke with him re. working in a proper partnership approach with the advertiser, so we’ll see how that goes – could be a great holistic approach.

On a personal level, I said thank you but declined. It was a combination of I’ve always said I won’t have advertising on my blog (with the obvious exception of the Headway affiliate, because I believe in the company and it sends donations to the current 12for12k charity), and that I write from a wider perspective. There’s some PR; some marketing; some social media; some branding; some consumer; some blog tips. So to effectively meet everyone and “be fair”, I’d have to offer ad spots for each niche – yikes! ;-)

Kudos to you for opening it up to your community, Dave – always the sign of great leadership and respect.

Cheers!

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15 Stan Phelps January 17, 2010 at 12:39 pm

David,
I think the key issue is relevancy. If its relevant to your readers, go for it. The fact it might be helpful is a bonus.
The key to effective marketing is tapping into what I call the RIGHT3. You need to hit the right people, in the right time and in the right place. Kudos to TalentSeekr for realizing that you’ve got the right audience, a good percentage of which may be looking for their next opportunity and who are fully engaged while reading your posts.
Best,
Stan
@9INCHmarketing
#PurpleGoldfishProject

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16 Johnny January 17, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Just wanted to share this article that came to mind: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090101/how-hard-could-it-be-thanks-or-no-thanks.html :) and say that if it were me in your shoes, I would probably build a simple, custom job board or do some research to see what other solutions are available which other blogs are using (like Jeremiah Owyang who’s using http://jobamatic.com). The name TalentSeekr and the fact that they are doing so much outreach is a big turnoff to me.

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17 David January 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

That’s an interesting article, Johnny. Thanks for sharing it. I’ll take a look at the jobamatic link, as well. I don’t think I’ll be building a custom job board. I’m an account guy, not a programmer, unfortunately. :)

I’m not bothered so much by the outreach. The job of any ad sales rep is to identify ways to expand their companies’ business opportunities, either by bringing in new clients directly and/or by expanding distribution. You have to spend a lot of energy on outreach to do either effectively. So I don’t fault them for that.

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18 David Spinks January 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm

These people must have loved our community altogether haha. I also received this email and had a call with them since it sounded like an interesting opportunity.

Like you, I wouldn’t risk the credibility and focus of my blog for advertising, but this…seems like something that is valuable and relevant for readers. They also allow you to tweet out the link, or email it…however you want.

I’m still considering it as well as looking into other opportunities with them. I’ll let you know what I decide to do.

David
Scribnia.com

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19 amymengel January 18, 2010 at 11:16 pm

I’m indifferent, largely because I get your blog posts delivered to my Google Reader and wouldn’t see them anyway, unless I clicked through to comment (like I did for this post). I think I’m of the opinion that as long as the content is solid and trustworthy (which yours always is) and the ads don’t interfere too much with the design or user experience, then they don’t bother me.

@amymengel

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20 Allan Schoenberg January 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Some great responses to your post and it seems like your audience via your poll is in favor of you doing this. Obviously this is your call and it comes down to what you want to get out of this newly offered relationship — they gain from your audience and how engaged it is (and apparently all of the others they are asking). So what do you get from this — besides the cash? That’s mostly a rhetorical question so no need to answer via a reply.

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21 David January 19, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Hi, Allan. Thanks for jumping into the conversation. I know it was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer anyway.

I’m guessing that the cash I get from this will be enough to buy a combo meal at McDonald’s once a month. So the thought of a few extra dollars was a nice addition, but it isn’t driving the consideration. If it turns out that the cash is enough to buy 20 combos a month, I’ll let you know. :)

The reason it peaked my interest was because it advertises something that I think is especially important – new PR job opportunities at respected companies and agencies. Given the job landscape the past two years in our industry, I thought it would be great to help point a few more people to a potential opportunity. That truly is my primary interest, because I don’t think it will generate much in terms of cash. So that hasn’t clouded the thought process at all.

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22 Johnny January 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Just wanted to add some more thoughts since I’m someone who has been keeping an eye out for a new job opps. I can tell you that for the most part, I have stayed away from any major job sites/search engines and stuck to a few targeted sites, networking, Twitter, etc. Besides that, I would certainly glance at the listings in a widget here if there was one which I have done on some other marketing blogs. Usually hasn’t lead to much though because of the fact that most of the agencies high up on my list don’t advertise their openings outside of their own sites or advertise them at all for that matter. So my point is it really depends on what the job seeker is looking for. The majority that would benefit from this probably aren’t being as picky as I am…especially right now.

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23 Scott Meis January 22, 2010 at 10:38 am

I guess the solution is to just stop writing good posts so as to avoid these inquiries in the first place. Simple enough, right? I’ll give you some lessons.

Seriously, I wouldn’t see listing as an issue because you’re so attentive and relevant to your community and readers. I don’t know how flexible these advertisers are but possibly having a “Jobs in PR” nav tab on your blog that is updated ever couple weeks or even a bi-weekly email to subscribers would seem enticing to me. That’s obviously a lot of extra work and probably a management task you don’t have time or desire to take on. But, like I said, maybe there is some flexibility in distribution options from these advertisers.

I will say that @simasays does quite an amazing job with MarketingJobWire.com. Community and word-of-mouth driven with great local leads. I’m not sure if she makes any cash off of it, but it’s a good model and I’m sure it helps quite a bit on the networking front.

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