Brian Clark, 40, founded Copyblogger.com in Orlando, Fla., a blog about writing that is one of the 50 most popular blogs in the world. He recently discussed his site and blogging in general. Here are excerpts:
Q: What is Copyblogger?
What the blog does is really combine certain copywriting techniques that work in advertising and also in journalism and applies them to blogging and online marketing. It's a way to write better headlines to get attention, to write better introductions, basically anything you can do to engage a reader and keep them reading until they get to the end. That's a challenge online because of the way people tend to skim and have short attention spans.
Q: What has blogging done to writing in general?
Social media and blogging democratizes the media space to a certain degree. But as much as the Internet is growing, right now mainstream media still has more reach and, I believe, more influence. In other areas, especially business and technology-related blogs, there is a big push to be taken as viable sources of information while still retaining the unique flavor of a blog, which tends to be more opinionated, less objective. It's like having the op-ed pages combined with the front page, which is not something most newspapers are comfortable with.
Q: What are some misconceptions about blogging?
It's not easy to do well.
Q: Can you offer some tips?
One: read as much as you can, because a lot of the better writers in the world are voracious readers that get a lot of exposure to language and ideas (that) they use for their own writing. The second thing I can say is write as much as you can. The third thing, and this is something that hampers bloggers quite a bit, is producing content that appeals to other people as opposed to yourself. The area where most bloggers go wrong is blabbing on about themselves instead of focusing on their audience.
Q: Who should start a blog?
It depends on what your objectives are. If you want to try to make money from blogging, you are going to have to pick a commercially viable topic (in which) you either have expertise or the ability to create some expertise.
Q. Do you think some of the most memorable writers of this era will be bloggers?
I think that it's going to be a mix. A book is still such a great delivery mechanism for information or reading pleasure. You don't want to curl up with a blog post at the beach.