The idea of advertising a blog on TV is just plain crazy. Right?
Well, it used to be. But with the introduction of Google TV, that crazy idea isn’t so crazy anymore.
Google TV is part of Google AdWords, and it works much the same way. It’s an auction-based system where you choose the price you want to pay. Obviously, the more you pay, the more people you’re likely to reach. But it’s possible to run an ad on network television for as little as $20.
In the old days (back when I worked as an NBC TV producer), placing TV ads was a big deal. You had to go through individual television stations or hire ad buyers who had special relationships with the networks.
But now with Google TV, just about anyone can create and run TV ads that will air on national TV shows. You can search to find TV programs that match your keywords, target people who are likely to want what your blog offers, and you can even see what ad placements deliver the best results and make adjustments to optimize your strategy.
Why would you even consider advertising your blog on TV?
The average American watches anywhere from 3 to 5 hours of television every day. That means people spend around 13 years of their life in front of the tube.
That sounds a bit sad, but one thing the statistics don’t mention is that more and more people, especially bloggers, spend a lot of that time multitasking. They’re sitting on a couch with the TV on and a laptop open.
You’ve probably noticed that more and more TV ads show web addresses. That’s because advertisers are finding that television is driving people to websites to buy products or find out more about items of interest.
Despite some of the junk, TV is a highly respected medium. It reaches a wide audience. And with more and more cable channels, many shows are now targeted to specific audiences. No matter what your interest, there’s a show about it out there somewhere.
Plus, ads on TV are visual and easy to digest. TV ads work for the same reason that video works online. It’s an effortless way for people to take in information.
So why wouldn’t you at least experiment with TV ads? If you can target the right audience and get the ad fairly cheap, you might find a great payoff. Then again, like anything else, it might flop. You never know until you try it for yourself.
This is a pretty good time to try. Since TV ad buying is down right now, there’s always the chance that your little ad could fill an otherwise empty commercial slot on a major TV show and reach more people than you ever could with the typical promotional tools.
How Google TV works
There’s a lot more to Google TV than I can explain here, but the process is pretty simple.
- Log into your Google AdWords account and create your campaign. You select the audience size, set your bid, choose your budget, and select a start and end date.
- Choose the programs, networks, or times of day you want. If you have a blog about pets, maybe you want to run your ad on Animal Planet. If your blog is about the arts, perhaps you want A&E.
- Upload your TV commercial just like you would upload any other video. There are specifications to follow, but it’s not rocket science.
- Track your ads and adjust as needed. You can see where your ads run, the estimated number of people seeing it (called impressions), and other statistics.
If all this sounds familiar, it should. It’s almost identical to running a Google AdWords campaign.
How to create effective TV ads
Okay, you’re a blogger, not a TV producer. So you probably don’t know much about advertising.
But let me clue you in on something. A lot of people who create TV ads don’t know squat. So you really can’t go too far wrong if you just follow some simple advice.
If you’re going to promote your blog, and you don’t want to spend a fortune, you need to keep your ad simple and direct. No fancy stuff. Your goal is to get people curious enough to go to your blog. So follow this simple formula . . .
- Get attention.
- Present a problem.
- Offer a solution.
- Direct people to your blog.
Let’s say you have a blog on amateur photography. Here’s how you might write a script for a TV ad to get people to your blog. You’d have both visuals and audio, but here’s just the audio portion.
Are you an amateur photographer? Are you fed up with blurry photos and poor lighting? Frustrated with those great shots you missed? Now CoolPixBlog.com has released a free report that reveals 101 tricks professional photographers use to snap perfect pictures every time. How to get crisp photos with a cell phone camera. The secret of clear nighttime shots without a tripod. How to be ready and never miss a great picture again. Go to CoolPixBlog.com and download your free report now. That’s CoolPixBlog.com.
Pretty simple, huh? Notice how this script follows the formula to get attention (Are you an amateur photographer . . .), present a problem (Are you fed up with blurry photos . . . ), offer a solution (Now CoolPixBlog.com has release a free report . . .) , and direct people to your blog (Go to CoolPixBlog.com . . .).
Google TV offers a tool called SpotMixer, where you can use a library of images, audio, and video, or you can upload your own materials. There’s also an Ad Creation Marketplace where you can find producers, actors, voice over professionals, and other resources who can help create your ad, depending on your budget.
Frankly, I’d suggest mixing something on your own just for a test. As long as you target your ads and follow that formula I gave you, you don’t need anything fancy to work.
If this all still sounds a little crazy, I don’t blame you. But just to show what’s possible, watch this video on Google TV ads to see how a guy who works for Slate.com created a simple ad and ran it on network TV for about $100. And he did it all from his laptop.
If you like, you can also visit my copywriting blog for more details on writing TV commercials, specifically direct response commercials. The formula is a little more detailed here, but the idea is similar.
If anyone has the guts and initiative to try Google TV, please let me know. I’d love to hear your story.