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Blogging platforms: the easy route to an audience? 22 November 2008

Posted by jordanfarley in Blogging Platforms, Search Engine Optimisation.
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Attracting readers is crucial to the success of any blog. Last week I touched on the subject of building an audience through Search Engine Optimisation and participation in online communities, but what if I was to tell you there are blogging platforms out there right now which can all but guarantee a double digit audience from your very first post?

Hosting a blog on independent sites like blogger and wordpress is the most common way to create content for the web. Scott Karp has identified the some of the benefits of blogging for journalists: it allows us to publish content which you cannot publish elsewhere, it gives us the power and responsibility which comes with becoming our own editor and publisher, blogs can act as an online portfolio and crucially blogging gives us experience with technologies that are fast transforming the media as we know it.

The downside of blogging independently is that you have to fight for your audience. Professional journalists who blog have the backing of not only their name but a big media brand to help them attract readers, amateur journalists on the other hand do not have these crutches to fall back on. Building an audience can take months, if not years.

Becoming part of an online community can make or break a blog and this is exactly what big media blogging platforms like My Telegraph offer, instant access to an online community which all but guarantees an audience. The benefit is clear, as long as you post frequently (at least four times a week according to Shane Richmond), maintain a high standard and write for a niche you will have a successful blog on your hands. However the downside of allowing your blog to fall under the banner of The Telegraph is moderation. For obvious reasons hosts have to moderate the content which appears on their site and as a consequence can your work ever truly be considered your own?

Big media blogging platforms are also clearly inappropriate for the kind of blogs many people create. A blog suitable to a site like My Telegraph would likely be news or current affairs based, while many of the blogs the public create are more personal and often have little to do with the latest headlines. For journalists who blog this is not a problem, the remit of every journalist is to create content which is either interesting or relevant (preferably both), but a huge number of journalists publish blogs independently for good reason, freedom is everything in the world of opinion.

Perhaps it might be a good idea to set up our very own Cardiff University School of Journalism (JOMEC) blogging platform, but rather than an actual tool for creating blogs (which would be an impracticably huge undertaking) it could be a web page featuring links to the best of the work produced by JOMEC students. It would create an instant community and open up the content we are creating to the rest of the world. If success online depends on being part of the conversation what better way to get yourself heard than shouting with 100 voices instead of one.

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