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The business case for good blogger relations with high-traffic bloggers July 26, 2008

Posted by Raul in Blogathon 2008, blogosphere.
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This is perhaps one of the posts I’ve been wanting to write for THE longest time, particularly in recent months. It’s definitely not a self-congratulatory post at all, though it does reflect the shifting patterns of blogger-industry relations and my gradual involvement in it.

A few months back, I commented that of course I would be very happy if I had the kind of traffic that Rebecca Bollwitt, Stephen Rees or Darren Barefoot command. I consider all three of them, friends of mine to varying extents (obviously I consider Rebecca a very close friend) and therefore, I have not the slightest amount of envy for their stats.

Through my restaurant reviews on UrbanSpoon, my own traffic is quite good when it comes to restaurant reviews. I figure that if I didn’t write about anything else other than restaurant reviews, I’d probably have really high number of unique views.

Currently, my stats (while I think they’re ok) are nowhere in the vicinity of what the mommy blogger Dooce (whom I have never read in my life, by the way) commands. Colleen wrote a really interesting post on the Return on Investment (ROI) for Nintendo Wii’s campaign with Dooce. (SIDE NOTE – Frankly, I don’t feel bad at all for not reading Dooce – I didn’t even understand why so many people made a big fuss that she came to talk at VIDFEST 2008- but I’d definitely love to have the kind of traffic she commands).

However, I always wondered whose blogger’s traffic would I prefer. For example, danah boyd (who is nearing the completion of her PhD at Berkeley) is someone who got a hell of a lot of traffic for a post she wrote on class division and the Facebook/MySpace divide. Would I prefer to have Dooce’s traffic or danah’s? I’m going to go with probably danah’s, simply because I am an academic and I kind of have that lens to the world. HOWEVER, is my readership the kind of readership danah has, or the readership that Dooce has? Who are my readers, anyway?

I have to admit that I have never bothered to categorize my readers, and I don’t want to cajole them in neat little boxes with labels. But this is an interesting question to me, because I think that if I were to really get something out of my blog, I would need to really understand very well my readership and do a much more thorough analysis of my traffic (Rebecca has a really neat post about this on her blog).

But along the line of higher stats, and given my current (and potentially soon-to-cease-to-exist) status as the top-ranked UrbanSpoon restaurant review blogger, I would figure that more and more restaurants would be coming down and knocking on my doors to get me to review their restaurants. It has happened already with a few, which I am grateful for (particularly because those are really good restaurants!) and I’ve already gotten some nice swag.

But since my blog is so personal, I guess I could not blame any businesses for not choosing to send me stuff. I’m not an iPhone expert (as John Biehler is), nor do I write specific, detailed, restaurant reviews (as Karen Hamilton does – though she also has a personal site), nor am I a really geeky blogger. Nevertheless, I’m happy with what many people have told me about my blog – that they like reading it because it has one theme = Raul (that is, ME).

But back to the blogger relations issue. In the past few months, I’ve been pitched to write about several campaigns, and I am not sure (and would shudder to think) that part of the reason why I am being pitched may be the higher traffic I have now (and let’s face it, I only switched to WordPress in March 2008 so I have NO reason to complain, my stats have skyrocketed).

So, really – I am just saying – if you’re going to talk to bloggers with high traffic, you should keep good relations – whatever the definition of “high” or “good” traffic is. I am really not concerned about my stats, but if you are a business looking to pitch me on the basis of my stats, you better know that my readership is nowhere near the realm of other local blogging powerhouses! πŸ˜‰

And yeah I recognize that by being honest I might be closing some doors down, but I prefer honesty over fakeness. I am not fake nor will I ever be. I am me and this is my story.

[EDITORS NOTE – Darren, Rebecca and others have written about bloggers relations, it was the topic of a Third Tuesday, but I’m exhausted and my brain isn’t working properly so I’ll update this post when Blogathon is over to reflect all these discussions – and maybe this post isn’t all that well thought out!]

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1. wordpress » Blog Archive » The business case for good blogger relations with high-traffic bloggers - July 26, 2008

[…] Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment Tags: Business Case, Environment, Face, Random Thoughts, […]

2. Jodi - July 26, 2008

You should not feel bad about not reading Dooce, however, if you did, you might understand why people were excited to meet her in Van. She’s funny and honest and has been blogging for some time.

I am an admirer of hers. She has blogged openly about her struggles with depression, including a brief hospitalization due to postpartum depression after the birth of her baby. With the stigma surrounding mental healthy issues, I appreciate her honesty and humor.

3. moritherapy - July 26, 2008

is this the post you wanted me to comment on? if it is, i’m not sure that i can … it’s such a long post … with so many words … i see you even have punctuation marks there …

(from a fellow blogathoner who is going through a brain block πŸ™‚

4. Stephen Rees - July 26, 2008

I am not sure I believe a lot of the stats. After all how many of those “page views” are actual real people, and now many various kinds of bots? If you consider that the number of real comments to spam ratio then I suspect the numbers don’t really mean lots of individuals.

I must admit I do report my stats – especially when they were growing – but take two weeks off for a vacation, and not spend much time looking for internet connections while you are way – and watch those numbers fall.

Far more important to me is getting the message out. Because the blog does get noticed. And the mainstream media are so caught up in neo-conservativism and consumerism, alternative views need to be “narrowcast”.


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