So You Want to Be a Blogger? Think Twice.
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The world used to be filled with starving artists. Now they’re all starving writers...or bloggers, to be exact. It is true: Web 2.0 and social media have turned all the planet’s unemployed, disaffected, narcissistic, and self-proclaimed experts into bloggers.
What’s shocking is just how many people fall into those categories. How many? Too many. Way too many if you ask me. As a result, blogging has become the world’s most crowded and competitive non-profession. I say that because the vast majority make peanuts and have close to zero market share.
As a blogger, you’ve got about as much chance of making a living or even being heard as you have of becoming an actor, musician, artist or professional athlete. And the only people that make it in those fields are those with lots of talent. Blogging is no different.
Wait, you say you’re blogging to bring people to your site as part of your marketing platform? That’s an even bigger problem. It’s bad enough that our inboxes, phones and social networks are constantly flooded with marketing and content spam. Do you really think people are going to flock to a random site to find more of the same?
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Look, I know this isn’t the sort of inspirational fluff you’re used to reading, but if I don’t tell you the truth, who will? Besides, I love to write. If you’re a subject-matter expert with some writing chops, by all means, go for it. I just think everyone else could use a healthy shot of reality in their Kool-Aid. And there is a lot of Kool-Aid out there.
When LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to non-influencers the site was flooded with posts. Half the people in my network are blogging. That’s fine as long as they’re doing it just for fun or to kill some time because that’s more or less all it’s ever going to amount to. Yes, I know that is harsh, but it is the truth.
People are always asking me how I got into blogging. They want to know how they can do the same thing. They sometimes ask me to look at their articles or their site and give them feedback. Assuming there are still a few people reading this that I haven’t completely discouraged, let me explain how it works:
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I have a long and storied relationship with the media that goes back to my days as a marketing exec in the high-tech industry. Seven years ago, I was asked to write a blog for CNET. I didn’t know what that meant, but I had always wanted to try my hand at writing and it sounded like fun. Besides, I had a lot of time on my hands and decades of knowledge, experience, and observations to share, so I figured what the hell.
Having now experienced the media business from within and without, there is one thing I know: there are millions of gifted professional writers out there. Millions. I am not one of them. There are also millions of subject-matter experts with enough experience and potential to maybe become successful writers. That is the category I slug it out in. Meanwhile the Internet has flooded the market with countless would-be writers and billions of pages of dubious content. That is your competition.
Journalism has always been a “labor of love” sort of job. Perhaps the prize is prestige and influence. It certainly isn’t money. Since your best chance of a successful career is to follow your passion and talent, I suggest you do that. If that’s writing, go for it. If not, don’t waste your precious time. It’s better spent pursuing what you were meant to do.
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