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Alex Iskold writes on Read/WriteWeb that there’s no money in the long tail of the blogosphere. What he means is: if you’re trying to make decent money by selling advertising on your niche blog (i.e., your blog that caters to the needs of a few in the long tail) you’re going to have a hard time of it.
But you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the centerpiece of your professional promotional and networking activities, leading indirectly to new money-making opportunities. Plus, blogging offers psychological riches — through the opportunities for personal expression and social connection it brings you.
The best reason for an individual web worker to blog isn’t to make money directly with the blog. It’s to boost your online persona, to make professional connections, to learn about your field, and to attract new opportunities, whether paid or unpaid. And note that unpaid opportunities are not necessarily less important than paid ones — because they can provide you with attention, reputation, education, and new connections.
Social media consultant Stowe Boyd describes how blogging has been his number one professional activity, and not because it earns him money directly:
I have been rededicating myself to /Message in recent months. Like Gaping Void, it doesn’t directly pay the bills, but it is the wellspring of everything else….
I was interviewed by some journalism student earlier this year, and when asked what was the single most important business decision that I had ever taken I responded “blogging.” It has trumped every other action I have ever taken, including getting my master’s in computer science, which I now consider second biggest.
Yes, you might attract a massive-enough audience that will earn you money Steve Pavlina or Darren Rowse-style. But most bloggers won’t. That doesn’t mean that blogging isn’t invaluable in your toolset of activities that lead to a successful professional life, and I mean successful both financially and psychologically. Because in addition to leading indirectly to income-earning possibilities, blogging can offer the payoff of personal satisfaction and social connection too.