Ad Blogging: A Positive Practice, An Unhealthy Obsession, Or Both?

by | Feb 13, 2014

Nearly two months ago, I made the decision to stop adding new content to I wanted to starve the blog and my blogging habit in the process. In theory it ought to be easy to do, the starving of a blog. Just close the window on it. Shut down the machine. Look away.

I wish it were that simple, but it’s not, at least it’s not for me. AdPulp exists as a media brand now. Digital media is alive in a way printed media is not, and you don’t put something that’s alive in a drawer and call it good, The End. AdPulp is also alive in our readers’ minds, at least for now. Which begs the question: why step off in the first place? A writer courts an audience like a bee courts flowers, so there’s something unnatural here. Right?

Actually, the reasons for quitting the blog are pretty simple. From a return on investment perspective, ad blogging was a losing proposition. I also confused the marketplace that supports me, by presenting as both ad creator and ad critic. People prefer to hold one idea in their mind about you, not two. Given that making ads pays better than ad criticism, it was easy enough to decide where to focus my efforts.

Stories for The Content Strategist by David Burn _ Contently

Having said that, I continue to be an advertising critic and a journalist. Quitting a blog doesn’t change that. In fact, I am working on a new feature right now for The Content Strategist about the challenges of managing “brand voice” in multiple digital channels. In days of old, this article would have gone up on It would have been unedited and typically I would have spoken to no sources.

Timeframes for “real journalism” are also much different. A blog post is something you throw together in an hour, maybe two if it’s highly involved. A feature for a proper media entity takes many hours of work spread over several days, even weeks. Now my process looks like this: come up with an idea, pitch it to the editor, create a list of interview questions, find people to interview and schedule a time to talk, take copious notes during the interviews, transcribe the notes, prepare a draft, edit, submit, receive changes from the editor, make changes, re-submit, wait for approval and publication. A blogger would likely laugh at the archaic nature of this process. But I cherish the slow, deliberate, thoughtful approach.

Whatever happens with AdPulp—a sale, an inspired reinvention, or nothing at all—I now have valuable knowledge I didn’t have before. One of the loudest-and-clearest messages from this nine-year journey is build a business first, then add a blog. AdPulp was a blog before the business, a write-it-and-they-will-come dart into steady headwinds.

Contently, the publisher of The Content Strategist, is a good example of the business-first approach to making media today. Contently, the business, is a platform for connecting journalists with publishers and brands. The Content Strategist, on the other hand, is Contently’s media brand–its skin in the game. At the same time, the site is an “ad” for the platform. That’s how it’s done!