Blogging Needs a Sharper Image

hawkWhen you hear the term “blogging” or “blogger,” does it resonate as credible publishing? Or amateur hobby?

I sense that most people still regard blogging as personal hobby or marketing enhancement, or both (which is okay), but not the lucrative game-changer of the publishing industry. This is about to change, and here’s why:

The Future of Blogging

Blogging has its roots in personal publishing and more recently—paid personal publishing. We need to brace ourselves for what’s next.

Modern blogging won’t be the same from what it is today, but the fundamentals will remain: niche sites with excellent content and aggressive self-branding.

The first thing this shift will eliminate is the romantic notion of the “Problogger”—the average blogger guy turned celebrity millionaire blogger. In its place will appear the savvy entrepreneur-editor.

So while “print is dead” may be the laughing stock now, the publishing industry demise won’t last forever. Keep that in mind.

Stigma, Stigma, Stigma

Blogging suffers from amateurish stigmas, like:

The Soapbox

Blogs as diaries, filled with personal rants and raves and daily musings. There’s certainly nothing wrong with free expression of the individual (after all—it’s how blogging began), but it’s not going to withstand the enterprise of free markets.

Luckily more people are migrating their personal lives to microblogging spots like Facebook and Twitter, so it’s not as much of an issue. But still…

Make Money Online

If I see another blog about how to make money or how to become some kind of guru online, I’m going to vomit and rabbit-punch my face at the same time.

Soon after blogging took off and a few guys made some money at it, everyone thought they could come in and do it, too. Then they discovered the way to make money was by telling people how to make money. Update: there’s no long term strategic value in that model, especially when its saturated.

The MMO movement is not a bad model, but it’s an incomplete one. Blogging can and should make money but only if there’s real, viable content for a loyal and passionate audience. Most (not all) of the MMOers so far are dime-a-dozen used car salesman type with a penchant for fast cash.

Amateur Night

Even the few bloggers who are focused, diligent and worthy of their title will be up against the heavy hitters—companies with deep publishing experience and staff with the resources and talent to outshine and outmarket the small guys.

For the independent blogger, this leaves two options. They either compete against bigger budget teams and editorial standards or join them. Yes, blogger: you may soon be assimilated.

‘Content Marketing’ is a Great Start

I give credit to Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone for officializing the phrase “Content Marketing.” It means building a business around publishing content people love and are willing to pay for.

The only shortcoming in that buzzword is that it doesn’t  strongly connect the blogging/web marketing genre with the long-established principals of publishing and editing.

So maybe in a few years, we’ll just go back to calling it publishing.

  • What makes the FBI Blog site great in my eyes… is that it’s not even a Blog. It’s a simple aggregated site that I spend a little time with.

    It will never be a money maker and I’ve personally insured the bloggers that I will never have ads on the site.

    I enjoy blogging and although I have had two opportunities to put ads on the site… I refuse on principle.

    I think those ads should go on an individual blog and not the FBI Site.

    If you blog to make money you will fail…

    If you get money from blogging your lucky.

    I feel very fortunate to have around $100.00 a month in Revenue and free beer for something I’d be doing for free any how!

  • Charles: as a nascent blogger trying hard to do the right things the right way, your post resonated with me. I actually write about content marketing, and while you’ve provided a definition coming from quotes by Sonia Simone (who is a favorite blogger of mine!), I’d like to share this definition from Joe Pulizzi (junta42.com), who I believe should also be counted as ‘officializing the phrase Content Marketing’ —

    “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

    Blogging with the hopes of Google sharing a few ad dollars with you is one way to monetize your efforts; marketers paying for professionals to create content to communicate with customers/potentials is also another. Either way, Content Marketing is the present and future of marketing communications.

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