Archive for October, 2007

Wonder What Other Bloggers Are Reading?

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I’m testing out to see if it really is an easy way to add blogs and websites to my blogroll and I came across the Hot 500. This is a list of the 500 most linked to by other members.

Check it out if you’re interested in seeing what others are reading. Keep in mind this is not a list of the 500 blogs on the internet; just the blogs most often linked to by other members.

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Turning a Blog into a Book

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Earlier this week I had the great pleasure of attending a lecture on personal branding by Thom Walters of Coraggio Group. Mr. Walters, formerly of Wieden & Kennedy, has worked with several Fortune 500 companies on building and promoting their brand.

I came to the lecture skeptical about the whole concept of branding. The landscape is littered with failed attempts to influence brand and it seemed to me that controlling or driving brand is akin to pushing the river. You can try but you’re just going to get all wet. Mr. Walters’ lecture was the first time I had a sense that maybe it is possible to build and influence brand in a way that actually works. More about that later.

At the beginning of his speech, Mr. Walters mentioned that he was working on book. By the end of the speech I was so excited to learn more that I just couldn’t wait a year for the book to come out. I wanted to explore these ideas right now! After the lecture, I waited around to talk to him and when I got the chance I suggested he start a blog about branding while he was working on the book. Fortunately, he liked the idea and I’m crossing my fingers that he actually does it.

Turning a blog into a book is not a new idea. You just have to do a Google search on “turning a blog into a book” to find several programs ready to show you how to do it. Considering the content of many blogs, that’s a scary idea. The internet does not need more useless content. However, there is at least one example of a blog that became a book that is worth knowing about and learning from.

The Long Tail – a Book that Started as a Blog

The book “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson started out as an article in Wired magazine. Mr. Anderson started his blog The Long Tail when he began writing the book. If you’re not familiar with the book, here’s a brief description from the blog:

“The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.”

I doubt Mr. Anderson realized what an important component of writing the book the blog would become. As he wrote the book, he posted sections on the blog and solicited feedback about it. Since the theory of the book is based on some pretty heady science and is a new theory in need of testing, I’m sure the feedback he got helped strengthen the content and make it more robust. Readers also connected him with sources and information he might not have found on his own.

Another equally important way the blog helped is that Mr. Anderson was able to build an audience ready to buy the book when it came out. I know several published authors who had a painful learning experience when they realize the publisher expected them to handle the bulk of the marketing. It takes months if not years to build an audience and having one in place when the book comes out can profoundly impact sales.

Did You Know There’s an Award for Blogs that Became a Book?

Something I learned while researching other books that started as a blog is that there is now an award for such books called the Blooker Awards . I’m not familiar with any of this year’s winners but if you’re considering turning your blog into a book, you might find some inspiration.

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