Over the summer I applied for a professional blogging position with an internet media company. I made the short list but didn’t get the gig, which is probably a good thing in hindsight. I have no idea how I would have been able to keep up the time commitment this job would have required, and I would probably not have developed my own blog and Contrabass Conversations had I been doing that.
I thought it might be interesting to post the letter I wrote describing what I would do to develop this blog. I replaced the blog’s name with ________ but left everything else intact. Some of this is pretty cheezy, but some of it reflects what I’ve tried to do with my own blog to an extent:
1. What would you do with this blog? Give me a brief paragraph and a few example post titles of topics you’d like to challenge
Here is what I would be interested in doing with _____________. I would like to take the Performance Arts subject matter and, while continuing to keep up that coverage, also explore new content directions. Movies, concerts, CDs and DVD releases, television, Broadway, stage, classical music, and opera news are also of great interest to me, and I would write posts covering these topics. I am also very interested in Web 2.0, social networking, user-generated video (YouTube), and podcasting, so creating stories that combine these technologies with the world of performing arts would be of particular interest to me.
Examples of new topics for ______________:
- Upcoming movies– in-depth discussion of director, actors, screenplay, and any behind-the-scenes gossip
- CD releases – discussion of artists, genre
- live performances/tours
- Broadway and musical theater
- classical and opera performances
Example post titles:
- Snakes on a Plane originally titled Pacific Air Flight 121
- Wicked continues Broadway domination
- Check out Lostpedia to amp up for new season
- Local band tours solely on MySpace promotion
- Are musicians getting hosed by iTunes?
- Duran Duran to establish permanent home in Second Life
- Phil Gordon’s poker podcast garners critical acclaim
- San Francisco Symphony breaks new ground with podcast
2. How would you grow your audience? Be as specific as you can, including any URLs you’d like to be in contact with
First and foremost, I would make sure to write posts that grab people’s attention and are worth reading. It isn’t so hard to get people to come to a site once, but it is the content that keeps them coming back, so I would focus first and foremost on having good content. Of course, it is important to use the tried and true method of linking to and offering commentary on posts of other established bloggers (Robert Scoble, Merlin Mann, etc.) and submitting posts to Digg, Furl, del.icio.us, and the like. Making a MySpace page for the blog and stirring up some traffic that way is also a good idea. Other ideas include using social networking sites such as Flickr (start a ________ Flickr account and group), YouTube (create a _________ YouTube user account and comment, post, make a channel, etc.), and using social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us to promote new posts.
I am a fanatical podcast fan, and I would be very interested in also starting a podcast to complement the blog (which I would then use to promote the blog). Podcasting is only going to get bigger, and getting a promo on Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code or another popular topical show would be great juice for the blog.
I am familiar with message board promotion and getting other blogs to link to me. With my other blogs I typically comment regularly on specific blogs (with my URL in the comment) and after a period of time ask for a link. I also try to write comments that spark curiosity about my blog. For instance, I have a podcast of my own musical performances. I have built my podcast audience up by making frequent posts on musical forums where I reference my podcast.
Here are some example URLs that I would be in contact with:
3. How much time would you commit to writing and promoting this blog?
I would plan on a couple of hours throughout the day–generally I do my blogging in smaller sessions throughout the day. I typically have several ideas gestating at once, and I select 1-2 per day to expand upon. In other words, I am writing throughout the day and always checking my RSS reader for new ideas for posts. Two hours a day about six days per week would be a reasonable time allotment for me.
4. What elements of a blog post really make it stand out?
Attributes I look for in a blog post:
- Clear, concise writing
- Clarity of subject matter
- Creating new content, not just linking to other people’s posts
- A unique, quirky, fun viewpoint
- Original ideas–giving people a reason to read MY blog instead of all the other blogs out there
- Combining topicality and originality
- Having a variety of posts while still maintaining an overall theme