I have a lot of respect for tech bloggers. Their job is tough because the industry is ever expanding and the competition ever growing. The seemingly impossible today becomes tomorrow’s standard. The rapid pace of change makes it difficult to keep up with new information, while providing current and relevant information to readers in a timely manner. Despite these challenges, many great bloggers do it and they do it well. So, if you’re going to start a tech blog, you’d better be ready to work because you’re going to have to stand out to get noticed. It’s not enough that you write well and know a few people who will read your blog. To really create a successful tech blog – and to avoid wasting a bunch of time – you need to become focused, committed, and ready to work. You’re up against a lot of blogging greatness but if you follow some of this advice, you just may become one of the greats yourself.
First Things First
Regardless of the subject of your blog you really need to focus on a particular niche to be successful. I know, I know – we’ve all heard the term niche ad nauseam and I went there. That being said, the technology field is far too expansive for any single mortal to provide insightful and relevant content on all of its workings. As such, focus on a particular subject to provide better and more relevant content to your readers vs. trying to be all things to everyone. Your readers will appreciate it and you’ll have fewer sleepless nights as a result.
Position Your Blog as an Actual News Source
Blogging today is becoming more and more about the here and the now. We are increasingly living in a real-time world and as such, your blog should be as close to real-time as you can make it. Blogging is arguably becoming the de facto publishing standard in our society today. While many blogs are still being used to express the personal opinions and rants of the owner to the world at large, I feel that the most successful blogs of tomorrow will more closely resemble successful news agencies of today. We’re already seeing a growing trend of citizens and bloggers, rather than journalists, breaking news around the world. As a blogger keyed into your particular niche, why not break the news yourself? You can do this if you position your blog correctly.
One of the best ways to become a popular blog is to be the first (or one of the first) to bring updates and break stories about new technology within our niche. This is one of the reasons blogs such as Mashable and TechCrunch have become so well known. They break news in their particular niches and they do it on a regular basis. Breaking news is easier said than done but if you put in the time, you can do it. Usually, in order to bring late breaking updates or to be the first to break a story, you have to know somebody “on the inside.” Developing contacts and leads will take real effort, but the sooner you start doing so, the better off your blog will be. Think of yourself as a journalist and these contacts as your sources. If you want to be successful and to be taken seriously, you need to start acting like a professional journalist. Many may argue with me on this point but I believe the most successful blogs will be the source of breaking news in the years ahead. Why not position your blog as that news source?
If you are passionate and educated about your subject matter, chances are you already know somebody who may be able to provide you with inside information about a particular gadget or company. Work this resource and see if they would be willing to help you obtain information to break your first story.
Sustaining Your Blog
Once you begin to develop a reputation for delivering updates and breaking news about technology, your traffic numbers will quickly soar. The greater the traffic, the more power you will have to obtain big-time interviews and big time advertisers. I personally believe that advertising isn’t a viable business model for most blogs. You can make money off of them if you get big traffic numbers and sell impressions vs. clicks but even then, advertising may not sustain your blog over the long-term. With increased traffic comes increased hosting and overhead costs. Do you really want to depend solely on advertising to cover these costs? A far better monetization strategy in my opinion lies within the credibility you’re creating with your blog. Instead of depending on advertising revenues alone, why not create events or seminars around your niche, write and sell publications and insights, or market your own book? Advertising dollars are nice but the big money is in add-on services/products.
Remember, you must focus on a particular niche if you want to succeed as a tech blogger today. If you have the ability to obtain information about updates or have the ability to break stories, your reputation and readership will quickly soar. Work your current contacts and see if you can find others willing to help you deliver news via syndication deals. Create a sustainable business model that revolves around something other than advertisements. And last but certainly not least, have fun with your blog because if you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Good luck with your new tech blog!
Jason Carr is the founder of urThots.com launching at BlogWorld 2010. Be sure to stop by Booth #417 at the show for some free stuff and to check out the new kids in town.
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Good tips… there is a surplus of “copy cat” tech blogs…