Blogging, Making Money, and 2 things Jonathan forgot…

by Crystal on November 22, 2008

On the platform, reading

Image by moriza via Flickr

There are a few good blogs that I love reading.  I’m subscribed to them, either by email or by rss, and I love hearing when they have new posts so much that I’ll sometimes just drop things to go read… Not literally, of course, or I’d have no glassware left, but you get the picture.

Anyway, one of the posts on Copyblogger – one of my top 5 – a few days ago was called “Is Blogging Keeping You Poor?” by Jonathan Morrow (wonder if he’s any relation to Julian?) talking about the difference between die-hard bloggers and those internet marketing types that we hear sit around all day in their underwear.  In a word: DIY.

This isn’t a new theme, in fact Rich Schefren had a fantastic ebook a while back on exactly this topic – his “Internet Manifesto” (which he gave away at no cost.  You can download them here). The picture that hit home with so many of us from that book is to the right, and he subtitled it by asking how adding more tasks could ever possibly be any kind of cure for overwork.  A good point, I think.

The issue I have with Jonathan’s blog, though, is that there’s a bit more to the picture.  I believe there are not one, but THREE things that make the difference between the blogger haves and have-nots, and I’ve specifically spent the last few years trying to work out how they do it.  Yes, sure, doing it all yourself does impact – you can’t have the same amount of energy and time to commit to doing a great job if you’re also doing ten million other things that the top gurus have already outsourced (including your dayjob).  That’s one.

Number two is that the pro bloggers (that’s another blog I love to follow, by the way) write for their audience, as opposed to most bloggers who write to express themselves.  I’m hoping that this post does both, but I’m not a pro blogger yet.  By making their blogs a place for readers to come and learn, and giving them great information that they can use to benefit or better themselves, they draw more people.  Makes sense, right?  When you’ve already got ten million things on your plate, would you rather spend time reading about how Uncle Bob just made everybody laugh with a chicken joke, and little Susie laughed so hard she snorted lemonade out her nose; or take in “Seven Tips on How to Write Something That People will Want to Read”?  Chances are, even if it’s a particularly memorable (or even, heaven forbid, NEW) chicken joke, you’ll go for the seven tips.

Third and Final, (and this is one that I’ve had several ‘lessons’ pointing out to me) is the power of focus.  The top blogs all have a theme and a core concept that they’re designed around. You know what they’re going to be talking to you about, even if they do occasionally go off topic, and you know where to go when you want to look up something on that topic.

Blogs started out just as online diaries, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, except that if you want to extend your readership past Uncle Bob and Auntie Daisy, (Susie won’t read it anymore), you’re going to have to deliver more than just family news – you have to give people a reason to come, and some particular thing they’ll be searching about when they find you.  In other words, a focus.

That’s the two main things that I reckon got missed out on, but I have to admit, I’m not pro myself yet so there could be more.  What do you reckon – have you noticed any other differences yourself?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Crystal November 25, 2008 at 9:56 am

Miles, you could always teach Big M about the new world of marketing and the long tail…


Miles McClagan November 25, 2008 at 9:49 am

And the complete unpopularity of my chosen flavour…the Egg Flip Big M…


Pedah November 24, 2008 at 11:25 am

Considering the unpopularity of milk in this lactose intolerant world, Making money out of blogging may all be down to a good cork manufacturer, to ease the dramatic effects of projectile diarrhoea?



Crystal November 24, 2008 at 5:34 am

What’s wrong with that? Zen Habits is HUGE (and a fave of mine) and it’s all about returning to simplicity. I’ve seen ads around how ridiculous it is that we have 17 different types of milk. Personally I’d love to see a fusion of the modern cafe with the old style milk bar – how fun would that be to hang out at? If you have a core concept, no matter what it is, you’re already ahead of the game!

BTW, Vanilla Malt rules!


Miles McClagan November 23, 2008 at 9:37 am

The top blogs all have a theme and a core concept

Ah nuts, I knew I had a problem…my core concept was to canvas the return of old flavours of milk…ah well, back to the drawing board! Seriously though, some great advice!


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