Charlie Gilkey has some thoughts on blogging, where we have been and how Social Media has changed things.

Blog Conversation, Fear, and Going Back to Where We Started

Are conversations across blogs dead or is there a chance they can be revived?

I’ve been thinking about some version of that question for the last two years. While I’m not one of the true blog elders, I’ve been around long enough to experience what blogging was like before the rise of social media. I remember what it like was like before Twitter.

In many ways, I liked it a lot more. Maybe it was just where I was at the time, but I felt like I was writing to someone, rather than for someone or at someone. For what it’s worth, the quality of my posts descend from better to worse as they move along the to, for, and at spectrum; if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see the same pattern in your writing, too.

Aside from the direct conversation aspect of things, the pace of writing was slower. Obviously, as someone who prefers to explore and savor ideas rather than serve ‘em up like fries, it was more gratifying to really work through things and share something thoughtful. And because we weren’t bombarded by information at the same time that we’ve self-conditioned ourselves not to be able to read anything longer than 800 words without serious effort, more people actually read – and perhaps favored – those posts. It’s no coincidence that some of my best writing happened before the rise of social media.

I feel your pain, Charlie. In fact, your big moment (near the end of the post) is exactly what inspired me to basically delete my old business blog and start offering the Premium Content model. I was tired of giving all of that information away for free and answering the same questions over and over. As Charlie says:

Part of my frustration this year is how few products we have around this stuff. I’m tired of not having the worksheets and coaching aids for clients and workshop participants. I’m tired of having to explain an idea that I’ve worked out in my head to people rather than being able to give them the information ahead of time so we can work on just the application. I’m tired of not modeling the message of not recreating the wheel, which is essentially what I do every time I verbally share an idea that I’ve been sharing for the last few years simply because there’s not an external anchor out there in the world yet.

Which is why I started the Work.Smarter! Project. The point is to focus my writing (formerly known as blogging) to be able to create content that is specifically designed to address a problem, difficulty, business situation, productivity pitfall or what have you. Once per week I put out a piece that I have invested a good deal of time and energy on, and I get paid for it. Just a little mind you, one fourth or one fifth of $1.49 per subscriber (depending on how many Tuesdays there are that month), but it is something.

The “getting paid for blogging” thing actually acts as an incentive in two ways:

  1. My subscribers have invested a little something in the articles, so the articles tend to get a little higher priority than some other emails. In addition, the readers are invited to reply and ask a question. I will answer publicly or privately, as they wish, and they get to save some cash on a consulting fee. Of course, if they want a really detailed answer with recommendations and implementation plans then, yes, they will need to pay.
  2. “They paid for an article Stephen, you’d better put out something worthwhile!” This is a biggie for me. I do not want to miss a deadline. My readers are expecting a post and I am going to get them one!

At the end of every three months then I have about 15 articles that I can expand upon and enhance and collect into an e-book, formatted for the Kindle, and publish to Amazon. The first book is out already, then next should be ready by mid-August. By the end of the year I will have 4 of the planned six volumes (including “Today, Tomorrow or Later” and “Work.Life.Creativity”) published, the final two by Feb 02013.

What say you about this strategy? Leave a Comment.

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