A couple of days ago $200kfreelancer posted a story about Jonathan Blum, who has abandoned the high-traffic model of blogging in favor of producing quality content for a select group of clients.
Right after we published, this story turned up in the New York Times, about a writer named Jenny Lawson, who blogged for free at The Houston Chronicle, built up a following, turned herself into a brand and is now publishing a book. At first glance, I thought the story was evidence for the other side of Blum’s argument: after all, Ms. Lawson gave a lot of content away for free –and still does–and has been wildly successful.
A closer read is more revealing. Ms. Lawson had to work for 10 years to get to this point.
In 2010, after more than a decade of blogging, first for The Houston Chronicle, and then as author of The Bloggess, Ms. Lawson ended up at the center of a two-day auction among 12 publishing houses for the rights to her debut memoir, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” The book, which was published in April, made its debut on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list last week at No. 2.
And, once again, I think it’s crucial to recognize that the blog is the means to the end. In Jonathan Blum’s case, the blog is a PR tool for his paid content; in her case, it is a brand-building exercise that allowed her to sell a book
What do you use your blog for?