Adventures in Blogging

"A writer writes."

I remember this quote (which has been attributed to writer/editor Len Wein, among others) because it sat prominently on the desk of friend and successful copywriter John Forde.

It's so blindingly simple, yet rings so true. And it would always sort of haunt me when I was a publisher for Early to Rise.

Yes, I did do a good amount of writing in that role. But many days were spent on management and business dealings, and writing took a backseat. No, I couldn't call myself a writer then.

But I can now, because almost every day I write at least one entry on my new blog about living in South America: Discovering Buenos Aires, at http://www.willbonner.com/.

It's a side project that I do in my spare time. My total investment so far has been $19. It cost me only $9 to purchase my clever domain name … and $10 for a year of hosting with WordPress.

The blog is done right in WordPress, which I find very easy to use and I'm pleased by the results. But there are many blogging platforms that work just as well.

Now, I used to think that blogs are like personal diaries that are open to the public … that they're passive little websites sitting out in cyberspace that people occasionally stumble upon. That did not appeal to my direct-marketing-oriented business sensibilities.

But what started as a mere exercise to keep me writing daily has turned into a fun and potentially valuable side business.

Because of my connections to Agora, I bet you think most of my readers are Agora subscribers. That is not the case.

Most of my day-to-day referrals come from the expatriate blog directories. These are people who are much more interested in what I'm writing about – being an expatriate in Buenos Aires – than your average Agora financial newsletter subscriber.

When I started writing the blog, I registered it on some expat blog directories that I had found through simple Google searches. I also mentioned some more-established Buenos Aires blogger websites on my homepage.

Those blogs would tell their readers that I was linking to them. So, they'd come by and look at my blog. If they liked it, they would mention me and I would get new readers from them too.

There's an interesting interconnected web within the blogging world, so you can get new readers fairly quickly.

Another thing you can do is submit individual posts to user-generated content websites like Digg.com and Reddit.com. I get dozens of visits from readers of those websites every time I post one of my articles, especially when I have a good headline.

So blogging is not at all as passive as I thought it was. You can very actively market your blog with no costs. And as you establish a readership, you are building a valuable list … potential clients or customers. And you can easily capture email addresses with "Feed Burner" or other similar services … also for free.

Blogging Is Copywriting

Blogging is exactly like copywriting. You've got a headline and a lead. Within the statistics of the blog's control panel, you can see exactly how many people are reading which articles, how many are reading the blog overall, and so on.

This is very useful data to help you decide what to write about … what ideas interest your readers.

And it's a wonderful, zero-cost way to develop your copywriting skills. I'd urge every AWAI member to start a blog … and to write in it daily.

If you write good articles – and do some quick and simple marketing of your blog – you will be rewarded for the work. With an established daily readership, you can sell any number of things … products, ad space, affiliate deals, consulting services, you name it.

Don't Have the Time? That's BS!

I don't care what your schedule is like. You have the time to blog. Your posts should be quick and easy to read anyway. There's no need for long, drawn out posts. Those won't get read unless they're damn good.

If you have 10 minutes a day, you can have your own blog.

And a blog can be a component of any type of career situation. You can, for example, blog about your quest to be the world's highest paid copywriter. Anything that's interesting to some group of people out there.

Look on the Bright Side of Life

A final benefit of blogging is that it can push you to do things you wouldn't normally do … just so you'll have fodder to write about.

It sounds silly, but it's true. It can also cause you to "look on the bright side." Whatever happens in your life, even negative things, can be turned into a blog post.

For instance, when I flew from Buenos Aires to Germany, it was a grueling long flight. And when I got there, German immigration thought I was a drug dealer or something. I was pulled aside, interrogated, tested for drugs, and delayed for a half-hour. Then my bags were lost …

Not the best time, but it all made for a good blog post!

If that's not enough, after just a month my blog is already making me some nice pocket money.

You can do the same thing. Develop your copywriting skills and make some nice side income at the same time. What could be better?

[Ed. Note: Will Bonner is the executive publisher of Agora Publishing's new Latin American office based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has over 10 years of experience in direct marketing, having worked as a mail sorter, a graphic designer, a mailing planner, an Internet marketer, an editorial writer, a copywriter, and a publisher. In his spare time, he blogs about his experiences living in the "Paris of South America" at http://www.willbonner.com/.]

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Published: March 26, 2007

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