I still haven’t forgotten the sting that came when Valleywag was folded into Gawker, at which point it began a slow, pitiful death. I was a big fan of the blog, which had an amazing contributor base. To a certain extent, I learned the basics of blogging (and more) from them. Well, Nick Denton tells Business Insider that Valleywag is coming back, and I couldn’t be more psyched.
Social media analytics company Sysomos has found the answer to one of life’s burning questions: what does a blogger “look” like? The company scoured more than 100 million blog posts to determine that the average blogger is male or female (duh, but it was roughly equal), age 21 to 35 (guess my days are numbered) and living in California, New York or Ontario. Seriously, Ontario.
So, why is blogging concentrated in the 21-to-35 space? It’s actually pretty intuitive:
Not surprisingly, the most active bloggers are younger people who have grown up during the blogging “revolution”, which started about seven years ago. Bloggers in the 21-to-35 year-old demographic group account for 53.3% of the total blogging population. This group is followed by the generation just behind them – people 20-years-old or under are 20.2% of the blogging landscape. This group is closely followed by 36-to-50 year-olds (19.4%), while bloggers who are 51-years-old and older only account for 7.1%.
So, where would you look for bloggers?
I’m sure most of the other travel bloggers out there would cite some sort of hunger for adventure or yearning for excitement as essential to the trade. You need to be down for anything on a moment’s notice. That’s bullshit. You can actually be a fantastic travel blogger without those qualities (I would say, in many cases, those characteristics are actually impediments to kickass travel blogging). Instead, the key is to be able to see meaning in everything you do and turn it into a story.
When I walk through my apartment, I don’t see stuff – I see experiences. The painting hanging over my couch? That’s from the $1 auction stunt with artist Nelson Diaz. The Casey’s coffee mug? It kicks off memories of a consulting assignment I had outside Toronto back in 2002 and how we used to play “credit card roulette” to see who would pick up the tab at dinner (Casey’s is a restaurant where we used to have lunch). And each of these stories triggers a hundred more … which is probably why nobody visits my apartment.
Where was this post last night?! I was out bemoaning the fact that bloggers have become … well, like journalists. The good ol’ days of gruff, ass-kicking hardcore bloggers (circa 2007/8) seem to have ended, though there are a few of us out there trying to keep it alive. I was seriously having this conversation with @qjm, @sabinales and @rspopshop, with @qjm actually mentioning the Deepwater Horizon issue specifically.
This post reminds me that not all bloggers have gone soft!
Corporate blogging isn’t easy. The rewards are high, and this type of platform will reduce your workload over time (if you’re an in-house writer), though you’ll probably invest all that saved time in producing more content – especially if you’re addicted to returns. Some of the challenges aren’t immediately evident, and you’ll only encounter them when you’re knee-deep in the shit.
For mainstream bloggers, especially, you will run into some unexpected challenges. If you’re used to reblogging news stories or use press releases as a crutch when you’re short content, you’ll have to change your game.
Corporate bloggers use commodity technology to communicate their companies’ messages. The advantage seems to come from the content itself, because that’s where individual expertise, institutional knowledge and products and tools can be brought to bear. So, this is where corporate bloggers find their attention focused. After all, what else is there?
Though I hate the expression “best practices,” the corporate blogging space is suffering from an acute shortage of them. From pushing out content via Twitter to tagging and linking, there is no widely accepted standard for getting the most out of a corporate blog using kickass blogging techniques. Well, I’m going to try to change that … and I’d love to get some ideas from other bloggers. I’ll get the process started with my top recommendation: sharpen your memory.
Every blogger does a bit of both: originating some stories and coverign those written by others. The latter is not only easier but gives you access to news and reporting resources that you may not be able to marshal on your own. And, counter intuitively, reblogged stories can get plenty of play — in traffic and other reblogs and retweets. But, there’s still a certain value in developing your own original news. Doing so is easier than you may think. To pump up the amount of original content on your blog, go retro: press releases.
Many believe that press releases are passé, but these tools can be quite useful.
Think through the “reblog supply chain.” Except for hardcore reporting (of which we’re seeing less and less in general, everywhere), most traditional outlets do a lot from press releases. When you’re reblogging one of these stories, you’re unnecessarily giving props to a media outlet that really only did what you could do on your own. Because of the reblog, you’re making yourself look disproportionately dependent on other outlets.
Stop the madness!
I’m still surprised by how little tweeting some publicists do. You’d think that they’d want to maximize the coverage their clients receive. Yet, I’m continually stunned by how little this happens. Active tweeting can kick off a virtuous cycle that benefits the writer, publicist and client.
For bloggers especially, performance matters. Success is defined by how much we write and how much it’s read. The presence of “tweet counters” on many blogs has made retweets a new metric, as well, even though it’s a subordinate measure of readership. As the retweets tick up, we look good. If we know that the publicist is part of the reason, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll cover your clients more. When this happens, the publicist wins: both coverage and readership are demonstrably higher (and the retainer, too, maybe?).
Show a longshot some love, right?! Help me out: nominate Migrant Blogger for the Blogger to Follow Award.
You know it’s bad when the newspapers are saying that the president’s afraid. A WashPo column on Sunday claims that President Obama, a “big newspaper junkie” is afraid he might not have the printed word at his disposal any more. If the big nationals and locals go where they’re expected to go, he’ll have to seek his news from the blogs.
The story quotes the prez:
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.”