The Dark Side of Blogging
Though I don't think I've ever mentioned it before, one of my favorite lesser-known websites about marketing and online subjects is MarketingProfs. Written almost entirely by marketing practitioners of various sorts, it's generally full of pithy, dead-on observations about new media, and how media outlets as well as their customers and prospects respond to those media. I like it because it's full of common-sense thinking, and generally avoids hype.
Last week, for instance, it published a fascinating little piece about what it called "the dark side of blogging," quoting various bloggers about some of its pitfalls. "Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs, says you know you are addicted when 'you can't watch a movie, see a play, read an article or share a sweet moment with your child without thinking of whether it's blog-worthy.'" It also explores how many bloggers discover after a few months that they've chosen a blog subject that can't sustain them anymore. In the end, one blogger concludes, "a journal without an audience isn't as much fun anymore."
Meanwhile, a pretty good magazine that covers the magazine industry, Folio, recently published a cover piece about how trade magazines are attempting to make the switch from print-only pubs to publications with strong web components. The key to those efforts, it notes, is "building a strong e-media culture." But it also made the crucial point that "success in e-media starts with the notion that search is the essential mechanism of the web. The best web businesses are designed from the ground up to be found in search." Meaning, these pubs can't depend simply on being destination web publications, but rather their content must be good enough for search engines and other third parties to refer web browsers there. That's a pretty tall cultural adjustment for most trade magazine publishers (Cleveland historically has been a leading center for this industry, with two of the industry's largest companies, Penton and Advanstar, based here, but both--each owned by investment funds--have gone through significant upheavals in recent years. And Penton's CEO is no longer even based in Cleveland). But those hoping to survive will have to figure it out, and soon.