"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Apples & Oranges -The Difference Between Writing for Play and Writing for Pay!

There are as many different reasons for blogging as there are audiences.
For example, some blog to share their views with like minded readers. Others may blog to vent about office drama, bad bosses, and events of the day as a way of release. Many use it as a vehicle for sharing their creative works and building a platform.

Still there are others that merely like to "strut their stuff" before a virtual audience because it feels good to their ego. To each his own.

But, rest assured that regardless as to the motive, there's a difference between blogging for pleasure and blogging for pay. And those who fail to know the difference may fail to earn money for their efforts.

This realization came to me awhile ago, in reading the posts of a fellow blogger that was doling out advice in the form of a how-to.

She suggested that bloggers write for themselves, and not worry about what readers felt. Huh? Pursue your passion and forget the advice of "experts" she suggested.
Can I share a secret? And this is not to disparage her views in any way. She was just simply misguided.

That approach and fifty cents will get you about as far as the corner. Seriously. Of course, if your blog is simply recreational in nature, and it's for your family and friends, and a way to save on potential therapy. I agree; by all means let your hair down! Do you.

But, don't expect a career as a "pro" blogger where you'll be paid.

I liken this to cooking for yourself vs. being a professional chef. If you want folks to keep coming back for more, you have to serve it up right!

And I say this as a writer who started out blogging for pleasure, who has since then evolved into a "pro blogger" who has been paid to blog on everything from business blogging, to romance-related posts, to even blogging about jazz music. On the regular!

Here's what you need to know if you'd like to do the same.

1. Know your audience, and let that knowledge be revealed in the topics you address, your tone, and your language. Keeping them in mind keeps them coming back.

2. Stay on topic. If I must admit, when I visit some sites, I'm not sure of what the focus or objective is. One day it might be about food, the next day about dogs, the next day about celebrities. That's okay for a "personal blog" but not a professional one. Of course, unless it's a commentary blog.

3. Watch your language and how much you reveal. I did a recent post that elaborates on this point at Workawesome. com.

4. Take advice from those who have been successful in venturing the path you choose to pursue. To quote a recent comment I heard, "Everybody's got a voice. But not everybody deserves the microphone." Are you with me here?

5. Know that numbers matter. Particularly in the form of blog comments and visible followers. Here's why: If you show no ability to engage your own target audiences with your writing, it will be hard to convince potential clients that your writing will be a hit in marketing their site, product, or services either. Make sense? :-)

Keep these five tips in mind to build your blogging career and your bottom line.


IMAGE: Suvro Datta


  1. Hey Jennifer,

    I love this article. Especially "you have to serve it up right!" :)

    I agree with you, we should always be concerned with what our readers think and how they feel. I think I may be doing fine, but someone else looking from the outside, might think I suck..so it does matter.

    Great post!

    Take care,

  2. Evelyn,

    Thanks so much for the feed back and for the compliment. I'm glad you liked it! And I'd say, judging from your site's traffic, you're on the road to success. :-)

  3. You're right Jennifer. Love your blog. Lately Ive been thinking of creating a new blog which is "professional"...currently mine is a personal blog. I don't mind running both side by side :)

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 16, 2011 at 3:36 PM


    So nice to hear from you today! Thanks for the compliment. That sounds like a good idea; I have a recreational site as well. Go for it. :-)

  5. Very good advice. Love this, and love the quote about the microphone! Good stuff, as always. Thanks!

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 17, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    Thanks, Karen. I value your input.

  7. Great article, great read & very interesting insight into the "habits" of bloggers!

    I have to admit that for a long time I avoided sites like Twitter because I was under the impression that all they had to offer was mindless comments about last night's supper!

    I'm happy to say that after giving it another whirl to promote my activities as a translator I have found a dramatic change in what people are saying! Or is that I have changed the way in which I search for potential followers?

    I will finish by once again saying thank you for this "food for thought".

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 17, 2011 at 6:25 AM


    Welcome! What a pleasure to have you here. Glad you found useful info, and I hope it moves you closer to your goals.

  9. Many people start blogging about something that was important to them. Sometimes it draws an audience, sometimes it doesn't. If you are just ranting about things that irk you and your audience enjoys it, why change? Obviously, it's something they like and they continue to come back. What's my point? Blog about things you are passionate about and that will attract your audience. It may be a slow process, but it will grow.

  10. Hi Jennifer,
    I was part of a panel discussion, On the Road to Publication, and one of the panelists suggested keeping multiple blogs, one for personal commentary, one to promote your publications, and one for your expertise.

    I blend themes, but I can see his point. Professionalism is what it is all about if you are blogging for bucks; but if you are blogging for buddies, then I suppose Marcie may have a point. Either way, it seems to be slow going some days.
    You have rattled my brain with this post. Thanks.

  11. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 20, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    Hi Linda,

    It definitely depends upon your purpose. I've always recommended that goal recognition helps to guide the proper direction.

    It also depends upon what energy you want to put out into the universe.

    There's a "market" for everything, (good and bad)(i.e. hate sites, anti-Obama, violence, drugs, etc.) but that doesn't mean we ought to cater to every whim within it. :-)

    But, like I mentioned before, I do have a recreational blog too, so I definitely agree that many of us should have multiple ones for varied interests and audiences.

    Always good to get your viewpoint. Thanks, Linda! Hope the panel discussion went well. :-)

  12. It went very well. Check my blog to see the photo. Great turnout! http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com/

  13. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 20, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Will do, Linda!