Wednesday, May 06, 2009
MORE FROM JULES OLDER ON MAKING A LIVING FROM WRITING ONLINE
To read his original post link here.
“Most interesting, most diverse and most useful.”
That’s how I'd describe the first responses to my plea for ideas on making a living in the Age of the Internet. And here they are...
From British Columbia, ski-and-culture writer Steve Threndyle considers honest work: Thing is, there are a whole host of 'downstream effects' that the decline in print will foster. I went hiking with a friend yesterday who runs a foundry (yes, they still exist) that makes customized stainless steel castings (that would be the 'honest work' that you referred to yesterday). His foundry employs 30 odd people, and his major customer is the pulp and paper mills up and down the coast. If they are shuttered due to falling demand for newsprint, his company will take a major hit as well.
There are just a lot of ramifications to the 'Death of Print" that some media commentators seem almost gleeful in pronouncing for some odd reason. I don’t quite get it. There are two other major issues that the newspaper/magazine industry can't quite counter. What IS actually driving a lot of the change are changes in how companies market and sell products. If you're a company specializing in e-mail marketing, you're likely doing pretty well right now - that is a HUGE component to any company's marketing strategy for one very good reason - it delivers results.
However, email marketing only works if you already HAVE a customer; you still need 'image advertising' to make people aware of your brand in the first place.I still believe that the major component in the decline of newspapers and magazines is that people have 'tuned out' the news because, for the most part (excepting the Obama phenomenon), the news has been been SO BAD that people are focusing on their own needs and those of people around them.
Let's face it - news junkies such as ourselves are generally a skeptical lot. And people - when overloaded with bad news, are likely to put their hands over their ears and say 'Stop it! No more!' - even for so called 'lifestyle' sections of papers (which, frankly, really are just filler).
From San Francisco, travel and food writer Gayle Keck says with regret:I fear the URL says it all: a life of crime + non-profit (.org). But you never know - I could be wrong. Good luck with it, and let me know if you get the magic formula figured out. I'm in the same boat as you!
From New Hampshire, travel and food writer and travel guide author Barbara Rogers looks for the Missing Link:Alas, it all comes down to the question we continually ask ourselves and each other -- what is the model that will monetize? And how do we create that model in the relatively short time we have on earth?
We all know the advantages of having our own websites -- that if our work is to be put out there in cyberspace for the whole world to read forever and ever (which is what's happening to everything we sell these days), at least we still own it and, hopefully, be able to reap the harvest. But how? And how does the whole blog/website/e-zine/social networking scene work together? What is the magic mix that leads to the money?
And just as important to those of us who love to write, but love less the falderall of hours spent twittering and facebooking and otherwise frittering away time we'd rather spend writing, how much "wasted" work is there is all this? And what is wasted and what is useful marketing?
I'm getting conflicting information on this.
It seemed simple to me that the only one of all these that actually has the power to monetize is the website, and all the rest is just to get people to visit the site and click on the ads or buy whatever we might think of selling via the site.
The blog and social networking seems to serve two purposes: 1) Drive traffic 2) Build a platform that might lead to other work, all of which in turn might draw more traffic to the website.But here's the conflicting info: I hear frequent snipes about people who promote themselves on Facebook. It's supposed to be a social platform, so we are supposed to promote ourselves very softly (although everyone admits freely that the only reason they even bother with it is self promotion).
How can one promote oneself quietly and inconspicuously? Isn't that an oxymoron?And the rules of most blogsites are clear that you must not use it to drive traffic to your website.
So what's the point in a blog? You can't have ads on it, so there is no way to monetize one (although the blogsite itself can). Great that you get all sorts of attention for a blog, and have lots of followers, but why? Where is the link between the blog and monetizing your website?If I could find that missing link -- or find the flaw in my reasoning here (perhaps there are blogsites that don't forbid driving traffic?
Some that allow you to put ads on them?) I'd be the first to stop looking for new markets and get that blog and website up. But I don't have the incentive until I find out how to make it pay.Hopefully, one of us will have come up with the magic formula before that ends. If I find it, it's yours.
In New Jersey, ski writer and health blogger Mitch Kaplan has been attending seminars.
Here's what he’s learned:
The first thing is to stay current with whatever's happening in the electronic communications world - new devices, new forms of outreach (like the sudden rise of Twitter), etc.The bottom line appears to be this: You must not think of yourself as a writer/producer of copy, etc. Rather, think of yourself as a brand. You're an expert on something. you're writing-posting-blogging on that topic.
You need to create a market presence for yourself, to:- keep yourself at the head of the curve information-wise- post as often as possible- but post useful, thoughtful, intelligent information/opinion- use as much of the e-world's social networking as you can stand - facebook, twitter, etc. - to let the world know you're out there- develop an e-newsletter for people to opt into and send it at least every other week- on your site/blog, sign on for Google Ads, which starts a cash trickle that might become a flow- be alert to the trend away from text and towards video- be alert to web-worthy writing styles (i.e., key words up front; short graphs; short pieces)- link to anything worthwhile on the topic- and, as with any marketing gambit, know your audience
Finally, Web maven Durant Imboden put me onto an amazingly clear, amazingly useful site that’s all about prospering online. I pass it on to you. http://www.writerswebsiteplanner.com/