Monthly Archives: April 2011

Hire Writers Not Bloggers

Recently, I have been hit with something interesting when it comes to hiring entry level people to write some content for me on my blog: hiring a writer is better than hiring a blogger.

Before anyone gets defensive about this, please let me explain my experiences, and understand that I have nothing against blogging as a career, especially since I’ve been employed as one over the last three years.

I have hired various bloggers before via a jobs board for freelance writers, and they were all just starting out, nearly all of them had only been experienced in writing on their own sites, and so they started off very excited about the job. They over promised and under delivered. They didn’t know how much time and effort it took to consistently push out great content. They fizzled out fast, and eventually, I had to thank them for their time and move on.

In hiring writers, even ones that have only written a few articles, they seemed to better understand the writing process. They weren’t in it for big money or fame, but instead they were looking for a steady pay check. Sure, some of them have over promised and under delivered as well, but all in all, I have had a better experience hiring freelance writers versus freelance bloggers.

Could it just be luck of the draw, or something more inherent in the titles people choose to define themselves? In either case, I suggest that people hire writers rather than bloggers. They might not know publishing platforms, or be very good at promoting the content they write, but if you have talent at those things, they will provide a steady stream of content at a reasonable price.

Note: Again, this is just my personal opinion based on recent experiences. This is in no way meant to imply that being a blogger is bad, but instead an observation that novice freelance bloggers might want to use as a way to self-analyze, as well as an insight that blog owners might want to consider when looking to hire content producers.

Random Thoughts on the Business of Blogging

Over the course of the weekend, I had some interesting discussions with people, especially Titus Ferguson, who was nice enough to let me car pool with him and share a hotel room, making my personal expenses regarding attending PodCamp Michigan much less than they otherwise would have been.

The conclusion that we came to is that there are many bloggers out there only in it to make money and pay their bills, and just like every other industry that is both understandable, but in many ways negative and a bit depressing. One of the things that many online publishers thought would remain sacred is the power and semi-prestige of online publishing, and that there are many grey areas between spam blogs and useful online publications.

I had recently had a back and forth with someone else who thought that there were things about how certain bloggers were handling themselves that he didn’t like, and of course with anything like blogging, there will always be disagreements, but it seemed to come back to a lack of understanding with regards to the business of blogging.

Bloggers only get paid money for the work that they do thanks to sales of products, services or whatnot. You are fooling yourself to think that it doesn’t come back to that somewhere. Money is always exchanged for something, no matter on who or what you are writing for if your goal is to make money.

So many people aren’t thinking straight if they think that they can write about what they enjoy and make a living off of it forever without worrying about the business aspect of blogging.

I have written numerous times about things I know little about because it is a good paying job and I enjoy researching and writing. If I could write about science fiction and make more money today than I do writing about other things, I would, but there is a long process that is required to get to that point that I can’t take due to other circumstances, so I focus on filling a need that allows me to live the way that I most enjoy.

That’s the key with regards to blogging for money: fill a need. If you can write for pennies for a year, and the writing you do is just a hobby that you want to eventually turn into a career because you are working full time at something else, then that’s great, but if you want to get full time pay, for full time work today, you’ll end up working for someone else, and following their topics, their rules, and finding your own enjoyment in what you do.

So while many bloggers have gotten a lot further in their careers than I, and might be making more money today, I started day one in being able to make a full time living and supporting myself and my wife. Not a bad deal in my book.

Sorry if this post is all over the place but this is sort of an emotional topic for me

Are Your Advertising Dollars Rising or Falling?

So for many right now there is this opinion that advertising revenue is dropping quickly, some are saying as high as around fifteen percent per quarter, or around five percent a month. To me, that seems relatively extreme, but there is a simple reason behind this: many small companies had to pull back on their advertising budgets, and larger companies don’t trust web metrics for helping calculate ROI.

While I hate the term “return on investment” when it comes to web marketing, I can definitely understand why companies don’t really trust web metrics. b5media had to change the software they were using, and in doing so found out that the numbers they were previously getting were way off base, and not a realistic view of what was actually happening on their blogs.

For companies spending money on advertisements on a CPM basis, not having the “right” numbers can create waste.

But what I don’t understand is why certain advertisers are dropping out faster than others? Have you seen a drop in your advertising revenue, or is it still rising? Are certain niches outside the sphere of influence that the market is having?

For me, it looks as though advertising dollars have stalled. They aren’t declining, nor are they rising. Are you noticing the same thing? Let me know in the comments below. The more information we all share, the better prepared we might be for whatever comes next.