The 2009 Blogosphere – Who’s out there?

I’m a blogger. I’ve been blogging now for about 18 months on an almost daily basis. Not this blog, but rather my “hobby” blog, EquineInk.

I started blogging for fun. I wanted to write about topics that I find personally interesting. After decades of writing on assignment, that’s been enjoyable. But what I didn’t expect was how much I would learn about social networking, the power of Search Engine Optimization, and the power of such tools such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

When I launched my blog in March of 2008 I told no one about it. I wanted to see if the “If you write it, they will read” philosophy worked. The first few weeks I was lucky to get 3-4 views per day. That March I had a total of 114 views. The end of April, that had grown to 997 views. Today I get nearly 1,00o views per day. To what do I attribute my readership? Frequent content updates, topics that address the interests of my niche audience, and tapping into the SEO power of WordPress.com.

How does my experience compare with others out there blogging? I looked at the 2009 Technorati report for comparison. Here’s where I fit in:

I am one of the 72% of respondents were Hobbyists who blog for fun. That’s me. We don’t make money by blogging, although it would nbe nice. We blog to express our “personal musings” (53%). We are pretty prolific as a group: 71% update at least weekly, while 22% update daily. I aim for 5 posts per week. Because 76% blog to speak their minds, their main success metric is personal satisfaction (76%). How true — the “stat” button on my dashboard would be worn down if it was real.

I am also one of the 15% of respondents who are Part-Timers. We are blog to supplement our income, but don’t consider it a full time job. 75% of us blog to share their expertise, while 72% blog to attract new clients for our businesses. Check, that’s me. Their business and personal motives for blogging are deeply entwined – while 61% say that they measure the success of their blog by the unique pageviews they attract, 60% say they also value personal satisfaction.

9% are Self-Employeds who”blog full time for their own company or organization.”  10%  report blogging 40 hours per week or more. 22% say that their blog is their company, while 70% say they own a company and blog about their business. Self-employeds also rank page views (63%) over personal satisfaction (53%) as a success metric, and 53% are blogging more than when they started. Finally, in a demographic (bloggers) awash with Twitter users, self-employeds are the Tweetiest of them all — 88% say they use the service.

4% are Pros. Who  “blog full-time for a company or organization” — though actually very few of them actually report spending a full 40 hours per week blogging. 46% are blogging more than they did when they started. 70% blog to share expertise; 53% blog to attract new clients for the business they work for. Accordingly, page views are the most important success metric for pros, valued by 69%, compared to 53% for personal satisfaction.

Technorati gives a profile of the typical blogger.

  • Two-thirds are male – Not true here. And, I’ve found that at least among equestrian bloggers, the majority are female. That’s certainly an accurate reflection of the riding demographic.
  • 60% are 18-44 – Nope, older than that. Many of the bloggers I read are also older than 44. It may just be that I’m not that interested in what the younger generation is writing about!
  • The majority are more affluent and educated than the general population – Probably true.
  • 75% have college degrees – Yup.
  • 40% have graduate degrees – No.
  • One in three has an annual household income of $75K+
  • One in four has an annual household income of $100K+
  • Professional and self-employed bloggers are more affluent: nearly half have an annual household income of $75,000 and one third topped the $100,000 level
  • More than half are married – Yes
  • More than half are parents – Yes
  • Half are employed full time, however ¾ of professional bloggers are employed full time.

What the report doesn’t talk about is how many communicators use their personal blogs as a way to experiment with the medium and learn how to more effectively use blogging to reach a targeted audience. Certainly what I’ve learned as a hobbyist blogger has made a huge impact into my use of blogging (and other social media) as a public relations professional. It’s changed the way I write and helped me better understand SEO techniques. In short, it’s made me a better practitioner.

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