Category Archives: Problogging

The Psychology Behind Corporate Blogging

Something I’ve noticed changing over the last two years is how companies perceive blogs. Early on in blogging, despite the success of many great blog networks at the time, companies seemed to think that blogs were really only a tool for average people to write about their lives, and the various minutia that occurred in them.

Blogs at this time were creating a whole community of both Internet celebrities and Internet brands that were parlayed into huge amounts of cash through advertising systems, and sales. Corporations started, very slowly realizing how important blogs could be to their businesses, but we are still on the cusp of this realization going global.

The reason corporations look down on blogs is for a variety of reasons stemming from the massive numbers of personal blogs, to the low barrier of entry.

Personal Blogs

For every successful blog making money, or helping get out a strong branding message, there are probably one thousand blogs dedicated to people around the world talking about their lives. From the perspective of the average company doing research on blogs, they’ll likely come across many blogs talking about their pets, family, friends, and children. This doesn’t convey to them the level of professionalism available in blogging, and thus gives them a reason to think of blogs with a negative connotation.

Spam

We have all seen them, spam blogs are the bane of my existence. They steal content, and they push out crud through the Internet. Companies doing research on any topic will come across at least one spam blog in their searches, and this type of republishing outside of the normal control of the original publisher might scare companies who want to remain in control of their message. Imagine posting an article on your blog and a spam blog picks it up before you realize you’ve made a mistake. You correct your mistake, but the spam blog continues to have the “old” article which makes your company look bad. Small, and simple for sure, but this has to be a concern for businesses going forward.

Power of the Message Versus Money Invested

How powerful is the message going to be compared to the time and effort put into the blog? Companies are used to press releases and the results that can be achieved from them, but what can they expect from their blog? How will it grow, change and evolve over time? Will anyone even care? Companies are always looking at return on investment, and there hasn’t been many case studies released to companies regarding the return on investment of a good corporate blog.

Low Barrier to Entry

If it is too easy, it probably doesn’t have value. I have heard both people and companies claiming that due to the low barrier of entry in blogging, there is little to no value in blogging. It takes almost no time to set up a blog, make it look nice, and start feeding it content. But what companies aren’t seeing is how long it took to get to this point with regard to the barrier for entry. There were companies creating blog software in hopes of lowering the barrier for entry for over a decade. The barrier started high, but these companies weren’t interested in the idea behind it back in those days.

Knowledge and Fear

Most companies just don’t understand enough about the blogosphere, and what it means to be a company participating in it. Because of their lack of knowledge, they are afraid of jumping in and making mistakes, not completely understanding that transparency is one of the key benefits of blogging that will help companies connect to potential customers on a new level of relationship.

Conclusion

Companies can get into blogging, and do amazing things with their blog, but they have to be brave enough to take the first steps, find people that can help them reach their goals in an efficient and inexpensive manner, and be ready to be transparent. Blogging can be an amazing line of communication and community building for any company.

This is one topic where I wish I had taken a psychology degree so that I could articulate better the factors that really go into each point, as I believe someone could make a whole career around the psychology of companies involvement or lack of involvement in the blogosphere.

Working as a Problogger

My current job is Director of Communications at Bloggy Network. It is a career that took a long time to get to. Though long is rather relative. I have been working for Bloggy Network for nearly two years now, and I have learned so much, not only from doing the work, but also from my bosses, and the contacts I have made.

Networking

Networking is really the number one tip I would give to any would-be Problogger. Finding people that can help you in your journey is the key to success. It isn’t just enough to work hard, and write exceptional content, you also have to get people to read what you have written, give you pointers on how to do better, and talk about how great you are.

Without great contacts, there will be a plateau you will hit, and it will be very frustrating. I know what it is like, as I have been to that point before. It almost made me give up, but then I started having conversations with the people I admired online, and they helped me get past that point.

Time Management

Time management is another skill that all the top level Probloggers seem to have in common. They know that the more posts they do that appeal to their audience, the higher their stats will be. Part of my day is spent organizing a break down of time and duties that I will need to perform, both over the course of the day, the week, and the month. I strike things off my list, but don’t remove them, so that I have inspiration, and a sense of accomplishment.

Some might think I am wasting time by making lists and organizing my work, but I know for a fact that I am getting a considerably larger amount of work done than I was before. This preparation time can be very powerful, and almost as difficult as learning how to network properly, especially for those that aren’t natural organizers.

Filtering Data

Another trait that is important when working as a problogger is the ability to deal with massive quantities of data. For some probloggers, this might not be an issue, but as you grow either in a network, or on your own, you will find yourself covering more topics, or diversifying more and more. You will also be dealing with site statistics, different software, e-mail contacts, spam, advertising, and of course finding great stories for your blog.

You will have to be able to quickly filter out information that is not important, and move on. I was able to pick up this skill over time, thanks to reading through hundreds of feeds in Bloglines, in a set period of time.

and Many More…

Of course there are many other skills a person needs to become a Problogger, and the process can be filled with many roadblocks, but over the lifetime of this site, I will attempt to shed some light on my experiences in the world of blogging, as well as teach using the words of others. If you are wondering if Problogging is the job for you, continue to read eXtra For Every Person, and I will be covering more on what it takes, and what it is like to be a Problogger.

Pros of Being a Problogger

After being in a negative mood yesterday, and getting it all out of my system, I figured I would return today and give a quick list of the advantages of being a problogger, over most common jobs.

Making Your Own Hours

Sometimes I get up bright and early and get to work, other days I lounge around and focus all evening. The flexibility in my work allows me to get many other things done, and removes a fair bit of the stress from my job.

I know I have to put in a certain amount of time to see rewards from what I do, but I can spread it out over the course of the day, allowing me to do bursts of high productivity times split up with times of relaxation, reflection and some gaming.

Writing About Your Passion

Most people that become probloggers make it to that level by writing about their passion, and to be honest, there is nothing better than spending all day researching and writing about the things you love the most.

Early on in my problogging career, I was able to write about technology all day, and so I was more knowledgeable in that area than I ever had been before, and it was a great feeling to be so well informed. It is like taking a class in something you’ve always wanted to know more about and getting paid for it.

Online Community

There is a diverse community of bloggers online who are looking to connect with other bloggers. If you can find a few people that your personality meshes well with, you will find your time online that much more enjoyable.

I have been fortunate enough to work with, meet and talk to numerous people online who have been an inspiration to me, as well as supportive in my online ventures, and a great sounding wall stopping me from making mistakes.

Low Cost Business

I put this last on my list because it is one of the least important “pro’s” I could think of, but it is worth mentioning that problogging is a low cost business. If you have a computer, an internet connection, and something to write about, you are pretty much set. You don’t need an office, expensive equipment, or tons of other overhead.

This means that whenever I want to start a new project, or a different project, I don’t have to empty my pockets, and that most of what I make through blogging goes right to paying my mortgage, food and other such things.

Conclusion

Blogging professionally, be it part-time or full time has many advantages over the traditional nine to five style job, and what I have listed here is only a small bit of what could convince you that this is the right job for you. But before you leap into becoming a problogger, check out my con’s list.

Optimize your blog post titles in two easy steps (Part 2)

I previously discussed the important first step in naming your blog post titles – addressing your readers.

When the posts are now in the archives, you will now have to consider how other readers will discover your posts. And this is through the help of search engines. This is where the second step comes in, which is to address search engine users. The titles you compose should be sensitive to the requirements of search engine bots so that you get the coveted first SERP.

So how do you compose your blog post title to take advantage of search engines?

* Put important keywords in the title. From the first step you have already added a few relevant keywords that will appeal to readers who are on the lookout for words that will appeal to them. Now you have to beef it up some more by adding a few more keywords. Don’t overdo it though, your title should still be interesting and not losing its target.

* Mix up the word order. Changing the word order in your title could actually help you gain a few extra places in SERPS. The trick to rearranging the title is by making sure the beneficial keywords are closer to the start of the title.

* Fix the TITLE. One other thing that you should consider fixing up is the TITLE or the title tag. Usually the blog post title will be similar or will match the title tag. But when you’re already on the second step, you can tweak your title tag some more so that it is more optimized to be noticed by search engine bots. One easy way to do this if you’re using WordPress is by installing and using the SEO Title Tag plugin.

* Leave slugs alone. Even though you are tweaking the title tag and the blog post title, you should not do anything with the actual page slug. Avoid doing things to it at all costs.

Down Economy: Work More

I know it seems like such a cliche for most people, but I have been experiencing this myself. Since the economy went down, I have actually been working more. I’ve made my rates as low as I can, while still making the work I do worthwhile, and I am taking on as many projects as I can. The dual-advantage being that I am also pushing myself back into the public eye a little more, and oddly enough, I have been able to take on some projects I enjoy, thus making my days better.

While I am always tired and burned out from work, I have quickly adjusted to this higher amount of work, and while I know that I can’t sustain this productivity level for more than a few months, the breathing room that this will give my finances is exciting.

While the economy is down, and it can be difficult to secure work, now is the time where you diversify yourself as much as possible, take on new projects, build your own, and do whatever it takes to pay the bills. There are so many opportunities out there right now, and while they might not be exciting or high paying, they can lead to bigger and better things, or put you in a prominent position when they economy starts to shift to the better side.

Times are tough, and even I’ve thought about giving up on this whole “web worker” thing and going back to an office somewhere, but the corporate world is doing just as bad. Better to stick it out here, on our terms than try to get around the massive layoffs and hiring freezes in the “corporate” world.