Blogs – Worth the Effort? Opportunities for Writers?

A business contact of mine asked me recently about my thoughts on the value of blogs for generating revenue and the opportunity that may exist for writers to generate content for blogs.

Personally, I think  the whole field of blogging is still a work-in-progress for many. I use my own blog primarily to experiment, learn, and test ideas for clients. Some key things I’ve learned:

  • It’s tough coming up with ideas to blog about on a regular basis, but keeping content current and refreshed is critical.
  • It’s tough developing conversations with people online – many are hesitant to express their views in such a public forum.
  • You get a lot of spam and that spam is becoming more and more creative. Lately I feel as though I may be deleting items that could be legitimate posts just because I can’t tell for sure. (Like the myriad of posts I get telling me what a *wonderful,* *awesome,* *fabulous,* site I have and how *brilliant* I am. Seriously – while I have to admit to an initial ego-boost, reality set in and I decided these comments couldn’t possibly be legitimate!)

I’ve written a number of articles on blogging and monetizing web content and have learned a lot from those I’ve interviewed.

  • Many bloggers – and there are literally thousands of them, some more successful than others – started blogging to express their passions (like Julie in Julie & Julia). Some of these eventually found that as they generated a following others were interested in advertising on their sites. This is how many have made significant $’s. The key, they say, is having a very narrow niche, solid content, and then building traffic to your site so you have something to “sell.”
  • There is also an increase in the demand for writers to write material for blogs. A lot of people think “writing is easy,” so there’s a lot of junk out there. The more serious bloggers, and those who are concerned about brand impact, are starting to hire others to create and maintain content for them.
  • Organizations – and celebrities – are also beginning to hire professional “tweeters” who are hired by companies to monitor their sites and respond to posters – basically a “high-tech” customer service type position. You don’t think Ashton Kutcher responds to his own 4.5 million followers do you?

In my local market I don’t think the use of social media has generated much traction. I see a few companies dabbling with social media, but there are no real stand-outs yet.  The tough part, for adoption of social media in general, tends to be convincing organizational leaders – who are generally unfamiliar with and skeptical of social media – to spend any time/effort/money on these activities.

Still, I think it’s an area to continue to experiment with and learn from. Certainly those who have devoted time, energy and strategic thought to their use of social media are beginning to achieve some traction.

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