A recent post on the Mequoda Daily blog compares today’s bloggers to yesterday’s “freelance writers.

The post claims that in the U.S., 1 out of 5 adults identify themselves as a blogger–that’s nearly 50 million people who are self-publishing with the help of sites such as Blogger and WordPress that have lowered the barriers to self-publishing to almost zero cost.

The person who today says, “I’m a blogger” is the same person who in 1993 would have said, “I’m a freelance writer.”

The article states that proabably less than 10% of these bloggers, or “freelance writers” make any money from their blogs. The most common way to make money is to add Google AdSense advertising to their blogs, although more prominent bloggers have formed cooperatives. The most successful bloggers are eventually approached by book and magazine publishers who want them as contributors. They supplement their incomes with public speaking and seminars, and eventually write books and publish on additional platforms. For more advice, see Blogging for Marketing 101.

Whether your goal in blogging is simply to be read, or to make money from your efforts, here are some questions for would-be prominent bloggers:

  • How often do you post?
  • Is your blog well-written and informative?
  • Are you niched?  Targeted?  Consistent?
  • Do you write on a niche topic that would qualify you to be a member of an assocation, such as the Special Interest Publishers Association, where you can get additional help?

Most of today’s successful multi-platform publishers began with a single-topic print newsletter written by a single, passionate, subject matter expert.

The aspiring publisher in the 1970’s was a freelance writer whose goal was to be paid for his expert editorial content. In 2009, the career path for online publishers is a little different: start as a part-time blogger and aspire to build a following of readers who will read your content and perhaps engage you to speak, teach, or consult. If your goal is profit, you hope people will purchase your paid editorial products or click on your site’s advertisements.

It all starts with being an enthusiastic expert on your topic, publishing your blog, and eventually progressing to build your own product pyramid.

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