AmEx Enlists Small-Business Bloggers

NEW YORK American Express is kicking off a campaign this week in the online magazine Slate that enlists two small-business owners as bloggers.

The campaign, which is scheduled to start today and run into next year, promotes Open, the AmEx credit service geared to small businesses.

Content revolves around a special section on the site, called BizBox, that features the musings of Grace Bonney, owner of a small design firm, and Andrew Kruse, who founded an alternative energy company. The duo will address the ups and downs they face running their companies. BizBox will also include a regular Q&A session with small-business experts, AmEx-produced video and contributions from readers.

The AmEx push is not the first time Slate has matched advertisers with bloggers. This fall, The Washington Post-owned site launched its second “Cool Capitals” push for a group of European tourism boards, featuring two fictitious personalities blogging about visiting four European cities.

Like social networks and other sites, Slate hopes to weave advertising more seamlessly into the site’s content, rather than only relying on display ads, said Slate publisher Cliff Sloan. It has also altered its home page look to grab users’ attention, once reversing the type for Visa and another time remaking it as an 1876 version to promote a PBS series set in that era.

“We know from the Cool Capitals experience that this can work very well,” Sloan said. “The key is having the compelling content to get them there and wanting to come back.”

Slate will initially promote the section on its home page and via banners throughout the site.