Blogging Without a Blog

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 10.42.39 AMWhen we think of blogging, we often think of what I’m doing right now: People posting stuff on their own website, usually with the help of a platform like WordPress or Tumblr. But there are other ways to get your work out there, without having to build a readership yourself from scratch.

The classic example is Huffington Post, though they have a business model that pisses off a lot of professional writers (including me). The model is this: You give them content, they make money off of it, you don’t get any. (Ahem, you get “exposure”; lucky you.) I used to post there intermittently a few years back, but I submitted only posts I’d written for my own sites, then linked back to those sites. In other words, I didn’t do any additional labor for them, but I took the “exposure.”

Now there are some options that are a lot better than HuffPo. Here are a few you can check out:

LinkedIn: I make jokes all the time about how useless this particular social network has been for me. Literally nothing has ever happened to me due to being on LinkedIn. That said, a lot of business people tell me it’s indispensable to their networking, and I believe them. It’s not really a writers’ medium, but if you’re writing business advice or other kinds of “thought leadership” posts in your field, and that field is active on LinkedIn, it can be a great place to publish.

Medium: I’ve seen several of my students get genuinely good results on Medium, which combines the best aspects of HuffPo and social networking, with beautiful design and a built-in network. It’s an open platform where anyone can start blogging. And because it allows for easy sharing and commenting, posts often go viral, or at least viral-ish. You don’t get paid, but you do have the possibility of impact. It’s particularly popular with artistic and tech communities. Perhaps HuffPo just irritated me so much that any step up feels good, though I still prefer either owning your content on your own site or getting paid for it. However, two of my private clients—both involved in the tech industry, which tends to pay a lot of attention to Medium—published major pieces here that boosted their platforms and reach considerably. (Check out Alison Taffel Rabinowitz and Amelie Lamont.)

Slant: I’ve only recently discovered this one, but it seems promising. It’s like Medium, but with editors … and payment! You can read more about it here, but I can’t see any downside (besides, perhaps, smaller reach than Medium): Slant allows anyone to publish, but assigns professional editors to package the stories well, then shares the ad-generated revenue with writers. I haven’t tried it yet. If you do, let me know how it goes!

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7 comments

  1. Disclaimer: I’m a data scientist working for Automattic — the company that hosts all the wordpress.com blogs (including this one).

    I’m curious why didn’t you include wordpress.com in your list. Except for LinkedIn, where a person may already have a network, every other platform requires building a network (and readership). WordPress.com is a home for millions of authors — most of them write only occasionally. Sharing and commenting with WP.com is easy too.

    In our opinion, what are the potential disadvantages of WordPress.com over the other platforms that you mentioned? If you could change anything, what would that be?

    (important: I ask out of curiosity, I don’t promise to change anything )

  2. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be using? I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest website and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

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