Monthly Archives: July 2007

Blogging: A Skill Worth Having?

Over on b5media’s Business and Blogging site, there is a post up entitled, Blogging is a Transferable Skill, where Des Walsh says that putting Blogging on your resume, might help you get hired.

And I quote:

as any half-way committed blogger knows, there is a lot of knowledge and skill in this field that you can only acquire by doing it.

So, for example, an eighteen year old who may not have a lot of developed skill in financial management may be a mad keen blogger/MySpacer : the knowledge and skill they have acquired in that private activity might be very timely and potentially very valuable, say for a financial services business which is about to set up a corporate blog and needs someone to make it all work.

If I were the employer, I might well decide that the blogging candidate’s skills in this area outweighed a lack of experience in other skill areas. That candidate might well get the job over someone with more financial skills but who doesn’t blog or have any interest in blogging.

A very interesting idea, and something I hadn’t really considered. It makes complete sense though, especially as companies get more familiar with blogs and what kind of effects they can have on a business. I was almost hired at one point, by a web development company, to help work on things like blogs for corporations that don’t really understand its value. One of the reasons they sought me out was because I was a blogger, and I knew enough PHP to get me by.

I didn’t join their company, but they later hired a stronger coder, and weaker blogger who fit the position nicely. The point is though, that they wanted a blogger. Someone that understood Technorati, the blogosphere, and the power of blogging, and could convey that to their clients.

So add it to your resume, and be proud of your skills as a blogger. There might be many blogs out there in the world, but there are very few true dedicated bloggers.

Time Line: Becoming a Problogger

I have been working as a problogger for two years now, and I wanted to create a record for myself and others on my progression to this point in my career. I also have to say that my time line is not the norm and I know of people that have become a problogger faster, or way slower than myself.

Early 2002 – I start to get into web publishing. Not really blogging yet, but the best I can do with my limited understanding of the web.

January 2003 – I create a Blogger account and use it to publish my life on my personal site. Only my friends read it. I can now manipulate the web better now, but I am still a horrible coder, and an even worse designer.

September 2003 – I get off Blogger and start using a PHP script called Elite News (dead?). It works, so I try to focus on getting better at design. I haven’t yet even heard of blogging for money, and I am actually a little annoyed at sites with advertising.

December 2004 – I am now using WordPress for all the blogs I write on. Thanks to Michael of Binary Bonsai, I have inspiration to try to make my site look better, but of course, my design skill is horrible. I have also found out that I love reading blogs, and begin to subscribe to just about everything I can find.

Early 2005 – I find Problogger.net and I am hooked. People make money from their blogs? I have only been using mine to complain about my life. Who knew? I am studying to be a Computer Network Administrator and I am totally devoted to that career goal, but I am worried there won’t be any jobs when I am done school.

May 2005 – Darren Rowse decides he is going on vacation and would love to have people write on his blogs. I am lucky enough to get one of those positions. My blog at the time even gets a link from Problogger.net. It is mixed in with a list of twenty-four people, but the traffic it brings is still substantial.

June 2005 – Wrote articles for Darren on his laptop blog, and watched the traffic increase during the summer months. Pretty much unheard of when it comes to blogs. Traffic usually declines during the summer months, or at best stays stable.

July 2005Interviewed Jacob Gower about his business, and the sites he recently acquired. It didn’t really get much traffic to my site, but it interested him in me, and my writing.

July 2005 – I get a job doing a bunch of things online. It has horrible pay, long hours, and posting many times a day. It is rough, but I love it.

September 2005 – Jacob offers me a full time problogger for Bloggy Network. I write on a numerous amount of sites, including his headline sites. This quickly spins me into a state of constant burn out, but I realize that this is the career that I was made for.

November 2005 – Change roles a bit because Jacob can tell I am swamped. With all the work I had been doing, quality had really suffered. My job shifts away from doing massive numbers of posts, to doing bigger articles, research, and continuing to manage multiple sites. By changing things up, I enjoyed my job more, and was also able to have a better work and life balance.

All of 2006 – Not much changes, Bloggy Network continues to grow, and I am given more responsibilities. I work on coding WordPress themes for the company and its clients, as well as taking over almost all WordPress related responsibilities.

April 2007 – Promoted to Director of Communications at Bloggy Network LLC. My job changes again. I am working more on the back end of things, including setting up our blogs to use subversion repositories.

June 2007 – Put in charge of a sub-network within Bloggy Network called IsMyHome. I never realized how much work it takes to run a blog network.

Other Interesting Facts

I have been given a Digital Camera, Xbox 360, and a bunch of other things from my job. These perks have been absolutely great, and I wouldn’t have these things otherwise. Not all networks give them, but when they do, it is an amazing feeling. Though over the last while, my pay has gone up, and the perks have gone away, I am still very grateful for all the cool gadgets and whatnot that I received.

I never planned on being a problogger. It fell into my lap thanks to working on increasing my profile through interviewing big name people, and reporting on changes in ownership of popular websites. Taking on the guest blogging position was also one of the biggest career boosts I could have gotten.

As Director of Communications for Bloggy Network, I get to do very little blogging anymore. This has decreased my profile online, since I am no longer in the “public eye”. I am trying to find ways to compensate for this through networking and constant communication, but it is difficult.

Most of the staff at Bloggy Network were not into blogging for even half as long as I was before getting paid for their work. Michael, one of the people I am most happy about us hiring, was only blogging for a few months before transitioning into a full time problogger for Bloggy Network.

Final Notes

Blogging can be the greatest career, but you really need to be patient with it. Too many people are trying to rush for the quick buck, but passion, attention, patience and networking can get you a problogging job, if you want it bad enough.

Pillars of Personal Branding

Many bloggers are their own brand. Their name or alias defines who they are and if they stand out from the crowd.

With most bloggers I can mention the name Darren Rowse and get a response. He is a key figure and his branding, much like how McDonalds is fast food, Darren is widely known to be rather synonymous with problogging. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that Darren’s content is like fast food, far from it, but it does show how far his personal branding has come in the last few years.

Create Your Message

Decide what is special about you. Maybe you are great at web development, or public speaking. You might have a talent for colour theory. Who knows? The point is to come up with something that makes you different.

Next come up with a mission statement. It doesn’t have to be tied in with what makes you special. Maybe it is that you want to be the number one writer about printers. If you are going to be the number one writer about printers, how are you going to accomplish that goal? How will you stand out from all the other writers about printers? Add some points below your statement, this will help give you focus.

Repeat Your Message

McDonalds and others did not get to where they are by only building one restaurant. You have to continually repeat your message if you want it to stick in the minds of the masses.

You also have to work on the concepts and ideas surrounding your brand, continually tweaking them so that people don’t get bored of what you have to offer. Repetition can get more and more difficult as you try to work on growing your brand larger and larger.

Try different mediums. Podcasting is getting more and more popular, and if it fits your niche, it could be very worthwhile to get mentioned. Forums, social networks and bookmarking sites are all great ways to get your brand out into the world.

Keep Your Message Consistent

While I said you could tweak your message, you will want to keep the overall meaning intact. Anything you do to change your brand, even slightly, can undo all the work you have put into it. It can create confusion, thus giving an opening for your competitors to come in and take your top spot.

Remember to consider everything you write, and really analyze it. Is it the kind of message you want to be sending out? Does it fit with your brand? Branding can be difficult, but very worthwhile, give it the time and attention it deserves.

Blogging and Personal Life Considerations

I have written about this before on my personal blog, but it is something that continually comes up.

Blogging can be a freeing experience, fulfilling a need to express yourself, but what happens if you say too much? Where is the line between your private life, and your blogging life? What subject is too taboo to talk about?

My family has brought up how open I am on my personal blog, and I try to add in personal anecdotes on other blogs I write on, but I also realize that I have to be careful, and that just because I don’t mind telling the world what’s going on in my life, that doesn’t mean my family or friends want pieces of their lives published for public consumption.

This is something you have to take into consideration when posting about your personal life and the people in it. You should always ask for permission when it comes to mentioning them, or even better, don’t mention them at all if possible.

There are so many things I have wanted to post about interactions with my family and friends that I don’t post just out of consideration to those other people.

It is a fine line sometimes, but if you want to publish your personal life, just make sure that those involved agree and understand. No point in losing friendships over blogging.

100 Daily Must-Reads for Entrepreneurs

Bloggers that get paid for their work are entrepreneurs in a sense, and so when I saw a link on Telegraphik relating to the 100 daily must reads for entrepreneurs, I was intrigued, and rightly so. Bootstrapper has put together a great list of links.

These days, it seems that almost everyone has a blog, so it’s often hard to separate what’s really worth reading from what isn’t. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you and narrowed it down to 100 highly informative sites. Take a look at what they have to say and see how they can help you grow your business.

Sites I read every day like Slacker Manager, Steve Pavlina, Duct Tape Marketing and Micro Persuasion all made the list. There are others that I haven’t checked out before, that are definitely on my must see list.

While these links are not specifically for blogging, I have no doubt that every one of us will find at least one very useful site in this list.