I was recently invited to conduct an interview with a large MNC! On receiving the invite, I told this company's PR team that I no longer represented any IT magazine, nor did I hold any job, and was merely a blogger. So, why was this company interested to speak with me?
Here's the reply I received -- "I know you don't work with any magazine anymore -- don't you know "bloggers' are very popular and fashionable these days?"
God bless those who believe that bloggers are fashionable and popular!
I’ve always maintained that I love writing (or blogging) about things that are close to my heart. Semicon and telecom are prime in that category -- two topics that I am really very fond of.
My blog had started off as a regular affair. There are a whole lot of great bloggers out there, who also write on similar topics. Nor have I ever looked for traffic, etc., as it is my contention that people will only stop by and read your blog post or article IF there’s something of interest to them. So, I'm really my only reader!
It has been an interesting year as far as I'm concerned. First, I gave up a job to turn full time freelancer. Then, my losing spree started! First, I lost my notebook, and later, my blogspot blog (Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog) was found infected with malware, and subsequently removed by Google. I also lost a dear friend! All this while, I've made attempts to stay afloat in the industry! What I found out was: yes, bloggers are somewhat popular, but then, several 'old' problems still remain!
The problems I've faced are: some folks ask me about blog traffic! Well, this isn't a portal! Or, who are you affiliated with? Why should I give you work? Who works with you? Why do you write about semicon? Who will read that stuff? How will you survive in India writing on semiconductors? Why are you trying to develop content around semiconductors? Why can't you blog about easier topics? How much do you expect to get paid for blogging? And so on and so forth!
Any one associated with me is bound to have serious nightmares -- if faced with such questions -- as to why he or she is associated with me in the first place!
Well, I think I've done okay so far. Those who have liked what I write about have indeed given me work for money! Some have invited me to far off places, even overseas. The best part has been the semicon and solar industries -- and the number of people who have got in touch with me over the years for various things!
However, can a blogger survive in India? Or, can someone make a career out of blogging? The answer to both questions -- NO! At least, not yet! However popular or fashionable blogging is today, people don't quite yet realize the value add! Not everyone will get lucky either. Nor will everyone always have compelling content to write!
There are basic questions that need to be answered, such as:
1. Why should anyone choose blogging as a career?
2. How can he or she make money by blogging?
3. What are the services he or she can offer via the blog?
4. What kinds of services are being made available by bloggers?
5. Should bloggers get advertising? What types? To what extent and duration?
6. What should be the advertising charges? Would it be different from print media or the Web portals?
7. How can PR firms work better with bloggers?
8. How can PR firms develop a win-win situation and help bloggers gain financially?
9. How can companies or enterprises work with bloggers?
10. Should bloggers charge a fee for queries received from elsewhere?
11. How good or popular are sponsored posts? Are PR firms doing anything to boost this and help bloggers?
12. There are so many blogs (including mine) on Blogger and WordPress. Is it still a blog or a web site — especially when PR firms look for online coverage?
Despite all of this, I continue to blog and thanks to God, get some work as well! I do believe and see a future for blogging! It is the specialty media we all love to talk about! It will bring in money -- it is just a matter of time.
Why are blogs influential -- as some say? For one, blogs are generally not affiliated to or linked to any large media house, and so, the comments are independent. Two, if you want facts about something, you better head to a relevant blog, rather than read some marketing material. Three, never believe that negative reporting or writing will be a sure shot way to get eyeballs. Just write stuff, as it is!
Do I influence people and companies, and the tech industry? Well, I've really no idea! A lot of people do stop by to read what I write, and I thank them for it. That's all I know!
You still think bloggers and fashionable and popular? Maybe, they are! But, do you care to address their problems?
P.S.: Let me post this on Facebook and LinkedIn, and see what other bloggers have to say as far as their problems are concerned!