What’s the difference between a blogger and a professional blogger?By: Guest Author
Blogging is taking over the mainstream in many ways, but this doesn’t mean that the average blogger is the one taking over the media. The professional bloggers are the ones making the headway and the headlines. But what separates a professional blogger from an average blogger?
Focus on Interesting Content
While average bloggers write about what interests them, professional bloggers write about what interests their target audience. This focus on the reader (instead of the writer) is quite possibly the single most important distinction between a blogger and a professional blogger.
In more or less the same way, and for more or less the same reasons as business professionals not wanting want their clothing to look like a design experiment, you probably don’t want your professional blog to seem like a thought experiment. You know, an outfit made from an eclectic mashing together of seemingly random fashion elements in a bold statement of individual creativity. Or a blog made from an eclectic mashing together of seemingly random thoughts in a bold statement of individual creativity.
While there is certainly a time and a place for expressions of individual creativity, it is not very effective in a professional environment.
So what does this have to do with interesting content? Mostly, it has to do with discipline and discretion. Write about the subjects that your blog covers, and then make sure to keep it interesting within that genre. Don’t be afraid to show your personality, just try to keep it so that your readers notice your content first, and your personality second. Unless your personality IS your blog (ala Perez Hilton), in which case focus on your niche and develop a consistent voice (which Lady Perez does).
Focus on Your Niche
Professional bloggers figure out what niche they are going to write about, and then they more or less stick to it. Sure you can sometimes explore topics that are more tangentially than directly related, but those should be the exceptions rather than the rule.
As an analogy, think of your niche as the city where you live. You live your life in and around that your niche. Most of your time is spent in 2 or 3 small areas where you live, work and hang out. You also frequently go to other places in town (less common aspects of your nice) for a variety of errands. Maybe on the weekends you get out to nearby cities (related subjects) for a getaway, but you never really stray too far from home. Vacation time, ahh vacation time! Once or twice a year you go someplace far away (some off topic post about something you find interesting) for a complete change of scenery.
This is not a bad way think of your professional blog. If you try to keep yourself more or less where people expect you to be, then they’ll be more likely to follow along and see where you’re going.
Consistent Point of View and Identifiable Voice
Within a niche a professional blogger will work to develop a consistent personality and an identifiable persona. The objective is to create an identity that both shows itself through your work and also supports the professional nature and credibility of your work.
In order to develop an identifiable persona, your writing has to be consistent and predictable. If your persona is to be unpredictable, then understand that your unpredictable nature will itself end up being the niche, as any other more serious subject matter will likely end up being lost in the chaos.
Making a Living
A professional blogger intends and expects to make a living as a blogger. This means that you have to be aware of how you are going to make money and that you have to focus on it as a business. Gone are the days of landing a job as a staff writer at a newspaper or a magazine and working a 9-5 for a paycheck. These days, a professional blogger needs to be half writer, half business manager, and half salesman. Three halves? Absolutely, since you’ll be cramming 36 hours of work into 24 hour days.
If you want to be a professional blogger, look to acquire the qualities that exemplify standout newspaper and magazine writers.
Study journalism, writing style, language and all the tools of the craft. Then make sure you also develop the business and sales skills you’ll need to make a living too. But the upside is that as a professional blogger you can be your own boss, work your own schedule, and get paid for doing what you love.