A few months ago I got an email from an editor at Brandweek asking if I would be interested in contributing an occasional op-ed to the magazine’s Website. Always being interested in finding new and interesting outlets for my thoughts and seeing Brandweek as the opportunity to reach a large new audience, I jumped at the offer and have since contributed nine or so columns.

But I was not alone in getting this offer. Brandweek was, unbeknownst to me at the time, building up its roster of blogger contributors. If you hit the site, you’ll see a number of items headlined “Blogger X talks about…” and such.

Here’s the list of contributors to date, with more said to be coming soon:

In addition to being bloggers, it should be noted that these people are also doers. They’re agency practitioners, they’re industry analysts. In short, these people are out there on the front lines of the social media marketing world, a perspective that greatly increases what they’re contributing.

But just the fact that Brandweek has decided to open up the gates to people who are knowledgeable and passionate about topics, passion they normally express on their personal sites, is a story in and of itself. By tapping bloggers who are also industry professionals as contributors, Brandweek has in its own way embraced the power of social media. Opinions and industry insights are not the sole domain of mainstream publications. And by offering some fresh voices to Brandweek readers, the magazine has made itself more valuable to those readers and garnered some goodwill in new media circles at the same time.

1/15 Update: I fixed the link to Maria Popova’s blog. Maria also pinged me with the following thoughts that she apparently tried to leave as a comment. I agree with what she has to say for the most part, there is room for improvement. But any start is a good one and I’m hopeful Brandweek – and anyone who engages in such outreach – will evolve their approach as time goes by and lessons are learned. Anyway, here are Maria’s comments:

First of all, right on about Brandweek’s effort to finally embrace social media and move away from old-school “suits” marketing. Secondly, there’s a “but”: if they’re going to tap social media, they have to adhere to the implicit rules of the game. There’s nothing “social” about their blogger posts, they’re so user-unfriendly you have to go out of your way to see, say, what else this blogger wrote. Even the basics, like “love-links” and such, are either messed up or entirely missing.