April 30, 2006

Realistic Expectations: Some Topics are Hard to Talk About

My mom has got a few loyal readers on her blog now. She writes about weight loss and fitness, which is a topic that is easy to find content about and also an easy topic to discuss and comment on.

A friend of mine recently whined about not having many comments left on his blog. If you are truly passionate about your topic you can evangelize its value and extend the borders of your topic to relate it to more people, but quite often most topics are not going to have a huge base of people discussing them. If your topic is niched down or boring in nature you have to think of creative ways to make it relevant to other news issues and things you know people will be searching for.

Some people are writing for link popularity or distribution while others write with a different goal in mind. Web readers, on average, want to read and understand quick bytes of knowledge over long scrolling posts. Shorter faster stronger. Are good for posting. Many people write at a level above the comprehension of most readers. What is the point of the post? To make it really matter for the few who understand you? Or to try to get it seen by as many people as possible?

You also can’t reach everyone and still be relevant to a niche. I find many people end up being sad or frustrated because they make apples to oranges comparisons. My step dad’s blog on home security is going to be much harder to evangelize than my mother’s weight loss blog. You could have 50% of the home security market and not have as much traffic as a person pulling 5% of the weight loss market. To parallel it with the offline world, it is unrealistic for the average girl to compare here perceived beauty with doctored up photos on the cover of some magazine. Hopefully my step father does not read this and think I am calling him a plain girl. ;)

Patronizing News

I don’t watch cable television much, but when getting a sandwich at the local shop they had a television on. The news program talked about blogging and how bloggers find something new to rant and rave about each week, outlining a bunch of out of context ultra biased ignorant sounding low quality one liners. This week covered bloggers whining about gas prices and saying that it wasn’t fair to place any blame on the gas companies that just had combined quarterly profits of over 10 billion dollars.

The program seemed like its only purpose was to undermine the perceived quality of content on blogs to try to make the newscast seem more viable and interesting than it is. Creating a weekly series that aims to play down other publishing models hardly seems a way to stay relevant.

April 29, 2006

How to Leave a Cheesy Comment

Some bloggers who have been around for years leave cheesy comments like

  • “I just blogged this on my site too LINK”
  • “This is relevant also LINK”

Worse yet, now there are meme tracker tools that track conversations and similar posts, and if you leave the cheesedick check out my site here comment on a couple blogs it looks tacky.

There are enough people doing automated comments that you really want to stand out as a signal of quality in a field of muck. If a blog has great reach then many people will eventually see your comments. I probably left a number of cheesy comments in the past, but on the whole I wouldn’t recommend doing it nowadays.

When blogs were new being relevant with your comment was enough, but as the amount of noise continues to grow and spam and ad networks make more and more things seem relevant good blog comments not only need to be relevant but also interesting and/or useful.

If your comments are good enough then eventually the other bloggers read your stuff and / or give you natural citations that are going to be hard to duplicate. If you just link drop eventually you piss people off.

SethF consistently whines about being a Z lister, but it is the cheesy comment link drops that makes him hard to like.

April 28, 2006

Paying Writers in Blogging Business Models

Andy Hagans lays down some phat posts about blogging network business models. In Sorry, Rev Share Still Blows Andy states that the lack of risk to blog network owners also leads to less opportunity.

It’s About Incentives: The Economics of Blog Pay Structures Andy talks about overcoming the spam issues typically reinforced by most blog payment terms:

Depending upon the risk aversion of a particular writer the figures can change, but essentially the best payment structure is something like:

  • 80% fixed salary
  • 20% discretionary bonus contingent upon writing quality
  • Weekly posting quotas
  • 4x Penalty structure

The point is to provide sufficient stability in payment rates such that you can attract professional writers, but still maintain a sufficient motivation for quality in the form of a bonus. And finally, to tackle the problem of posting regularity include a penalty clause which is a multiple of the per post rate.

Pretty sharp stuff Andy. Few people actually post about the realities of pay scale and how to pay people to run blog networks. Clearly in giving out this information Andy is trying to reinforce his position as a blog overlord.