P.O. Box 2363, Bellingham, WA 98227-2363 - (360) 223-2486 - Jonathan W. Sodt
These are the works of Grass Dog Studio of Bellingham, Washington.
Where I'm Going with This Advertising Schtuff
(26 Mar 2007)
In my day job, I work for an independent weekly newspaper. I design the front page, the inside pages, the house ads, and any ads our advertisers would rather have us design for them. I have an assistant who does smashing center spreads, the events section and half the ads.
The Philosophy End
I've been reading a lot of Hugh McCleod in the past year. His huge message seems to be that blogging is the death of traditional advertising. I don't think he's necessarily entirely right.
He may have already written to this effect and I just missed it, but I see a number of levels at which each form of getting-the-word-out is important and useful.
For instance, my webcomic is a form of blog, really. It's updated on a regular basis (three days a week right now), and it's primary purpose is to express an idea. To help get more people reading it, I syndicated it on LiveJournal, a particularly useful tool for spreading the word. The LiveJournal friends page acts as a sort of automatic word of mouth mechanism. In LJ, if you subscribe to a feed, unless you tell it otherwise that feed gets placed in a public "Friends Page" with a bunch of other feeds. Then, anyone visiting your LiveJournal can read what you read, and they often do. Furthermore, I created a mechanism by which a person can easily copy my comic to post to their own webpage or journal.
And for the past seven years, this presence, along with a strong and quirky printed presence in my local town of Bellingham, has garnered me a base readership of about 350 people online. Really, actually, most of the work was done in the early stages by the printed copy and word of mouth. But that number of 350 people hasn't really changed.
I've seen it fluctuate depending on how much comic I produce, along with the quality of the feed I pump to LiveJournal. But it pretty much has hovered around 350 for several years.
So, I could produce a better comic. Actually, I already am. The quality of my work has vastly improved over the years. And as it has improved, I've heard fewer and fewer people saying "I don't get it." But the number of people reading it online has not increased. And I doubt that I'll be able to bump it up more than one more notch in a short time. Improvement takes time and experience.
This leaves me with traditional advertising (which includes guerrilla advertising, actually). Which means spending time or money placing the message that my comic exists in front of the right people.
It boils down to this.
A blog is all well and good, but when you're just starting you need to get people to see your blog in the first place. A blog, after all, is really just an extension of your storefront. It's like a couple of sofas and a coffee pot near your front door, and a considerable amount of your time sitting and chatting with the costumers to find out what they really want and what you actually have to offer them.
You have to get your customers to walk in your front door first, though. An ad is like your shop sign. It let's people know that there is a door to walk through in the first place.
So I placed ads on a couple websites and got what is now 100 people walking in my door in four days for less than $10.
Actually, looking at the numbers, it was about 1 in every 1,000 people who saw my ads. The next thing to find out is how many of those people are interested in what I produce.
That's the next stage of my experiment.
(25 Mar 2007)
These are the recent page hits on my website
How Advertising Works
(24 Mar 2007)
An ad can guarantee one thing, and one thing only: that it'll lure someone to your doorstep. Once they are there, it's your job to usher them to your cash register.
A short To-Do list
(21 Mar 2007)
I've been stalling. Here's the things I gotta do in order of importance:
"In Finland, they serve alcoholic coffee."
(15 Mar 2007)
This is a commissioned piece from Keffy, the author of Moralicide. I love the comic, so it was an honor to do. Anybody following my work will recognize Ian in the background, but the character in the forground is the lead from Moralicide, Alex:
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