Growing a Blog One Reader at a Time

cropsTom Reynolds posted a thoughtful comment to my New Years Day rumination on the difficulty of building a new blog. His questions and suggestions got me thinking about this issue some more.

He asked what I would consider a marker of success. Certainly not making money, as the primary point in my “closed blogosphere” series of posts is that the perceived possibility of making money is the root of the problem. As I mentioned in my follow up post, I think blogging to make money is sort of like playing hoops to get to the NBA- it takes the fun out of it and ultimately leads to disappointment. Yes there are NBA players (Jason Calacanis being, I suppose, the Kobe of blogging), but there aren’t many NBA players and there aren’t many million dollar blogs. A new blogger has about the same chance of getting rich like Jason as my son does playing for the Lakers one day.

Cyndi Lauper was right: money changes everything. Newsome’s Rule: add the prospect of money to any equation and things get very complicated.

My marker of success is getting the opportunity to participate in the discussion. It’s not about who the discussion is with- it’s the fact that a discussion is taking place via cross-blog conversations. Otherwise, a blog starts to feel like a neighborhood newspaper left to decompose in the yard.

It’s about the interaction that I believe make blogs the natural evolution of the internet message board and newsgroup.

Tom suggests that bloggers should develop their own network of similar blogs to develop cross-conversations with. I think that is a great idea and have used that as one of my approaches in developing Newsome.Org. The list of blogs that I consider part of my virtual watercooler grows every day. Hopefully, I get added to their lists as well. Before you know it, you can get some inter-blog momentum. And that is both fun and rewarding.

The thing I really began to understand when thinking about some of the things Tom said is that you have to grow your blog one reader at a time. It’s a hard, uphill climb. But if an independent blogger can, in fact, get to the top of the mountain, that’s the only to do it.

Tom said he added Newsome.Org to his reading list. And that’s a great compliment in and of itself. If someone somewhere is interested in what you have to say, can you ask for anything more?