Are you a Professional Blogger? 3 Types of Bloggers and the Fans that Support them.

  • What defines a professional Blogger?
  • Does the Blogger need to be credentialed in their field?
  • Are they more credibile if they work in the industry they blog about? 

  • Is a Pro-blogger someone who earns some or most of their revenue from Blogging? 
 Last week, I celebrated my 50th blogi-versary. My post related how I became an "accidental blogger"  and talked about career courage

One of my readers (Second Thoughtz) commented,  "Sharon, your work has been very helpful. I have a request though: A blog on professional blogging. Any tips to get the reader to differentiate serious bloggers from bloggers? " Her comment inspired me.
It got me thinking. I began to write a response several times, then realized that my response was too long for a comment. I decided to answer her question, in what else a blog-post format! This week's post looks at the definition of professional blogging and the notion of blog writing as a new profession. Originally, blogging began as a sort of personal, web-log or journal. Therefore does blogging even lend itself to a professional moniker?

My definitions of 3 common blog-types:

The Commercial blog: One definition of a commercial blog is one which is monetized and integrated into a for-profit business, website model. Since this is a new concept for many corporations, frequently blogs are an add-on to a regular, company website. Many corporations are jumping onto the blogging bandwagon, as a part of their Public Relations and Marketing strategy out of fear. These days, what the public thinks or tweets about your company can greatly impact your stock, shares and revenues.

Internal company staff may write the posts for their employer or an outside social media company may be hired to manage this. In either case, many companies make the mistake of simply blogging about their new products, selling their existing products and promoting an idealized view of their company. The blog-reading public sees through this very quickly. If a blog isn't fully integrated with their mission and vision - then it may never achieves it's purpose. Ideally, a good blog should generate dialogue and is not just a thinly veiled, sales pitch.

The Aggregate blog: This may be a subset of the commercial blog-type or may be it's own stand-alone type. This type of blog is based on the multiple-contributor model. The blog owners' main role is to source writers who can post articles on their niche and keep readers motivated.

This type of blog owner, rarely if ever writes content, rather they provide the technical infrastructure and market the site to earn revenue. The challenge, from a branding perspective is the lack of a consistent voice, focus and the varied quality of the site content. I've contributed posts to this type of blogsite. From a writers's perspective, this can provide exposure. However, you may be in a pool of very mixed writing talent - which could impact the audience's perception of your writing skills. From a site administrator perspective - writer and posting quality is paramount. Problogger has an interesting post about how to analyze the quality of a guest writer posting.

The Individually-authored/Value-add blog: This type of blog is managed by one person and/or only contains the posts of one author. This ensures a consistent voice, brand, and message. However, there is a lot of work involved in managing the technical set up/maintenance, doing the post research, writing, posting blog analytics and managing audience outreach. This type of blog may or may not require advertising to stay afloat. Often the authors' reason for writing is to provide an educational service and/or information about a niche area. This is not to say that a commercial or aggregate blog cannot provide value-add articles.

Many people correlate the term "professional" blogger with someone who makes a living from blogging. This is a slipery slope according to Mark Penn, with Wall Street Journal online. He posits, "the best studies we can find about bloggers, say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers. However, of all the people who blog only 2% of bloggers overall, make a living at it." Thus, does this relegate the other 98% of bloggers to the ranks of amateurs? 
Consider, whether a blog written by or for a non-profit is any more or less professional than a commercial blog? Or is the original, blogging model about something entirely different? What many bloggers love about blogging is the ablity to express themselves, keep a web-log of their lives, provide valuable information and be part of an online community. Time is valuable, especially online blog-reading time. I'd encourage my readers to define "professional blogging" and good blogsites for themselves.

My criteria for a professional blog and blog writer:

  • The author has a unique and authentic voice. 
  • The author exhibits a depth and breadth of industry experience
  • Readers enjoy the style and content of the posts - for me humor is a factor
  • Value-added content, readers learn something new each time they read the posts.
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Author: © 2010 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA, Counseling Psychology,CPRP.
Licensed Counselor. Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist. "Virtual Career Counseling: helping business professionals, reach their career potential!"

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