RWN on the Death of Right Leaning Independent Blogs
It is with great delight to announce a recent report of the imminent demise of independent right leaning blogs is completely false – Tania
I realize I’m late to the party in response to John Hawkins flame throwing articles on the slow demise of right leaning blogs. I blame the crutches. However, better late than never.
My initial impression of his article was that of a professional blogger, a rare individual who derives his income from blogging, attempting to lower the number of potential competitors through intimidation. Dispersed throughout the article are kernels of truth, yet the main point of the article “Go big or Go home” is completely wrong – especially for the right side of the blogosphere.
UPDATE: I had a discussion with John Hawkins tonight were he expressed his concern that my assessment was a mis-characterization of his original post. I would like to add further thoughts to my assessment that I hope will clear up this misunderstanding. John Hawkins is one of few individuals who was successful in quitting his day job to work full time as a blogger. His blog(s) are his successful business. To be successful in business one has to be competitive and savvy. In the classic book, The Art of War, Sun Tse pointed out, “All battles are won before they are fought.” John wrote this article to drive traffic to his blog, the resultant tempest drove even more traffic to his blog. The more hits to his blog the more competitive and successful his business Potential competitors now will think twice before taking on Hawkins because this post clearly demonstrates his edge in this market. Overall, this is a win/win for John. Although I disagree with the premise of his post, my comment recognized the competitive nature of John and was not meant to slight him.
Lets take a closer look at these points. John opens the article by sharing his blogger credentials:
Way, way back in 2001, when I got started in the blogosphere, the Right side of the blogosphere was bigger and more influential than the Left.
2001 – ten years of blogging is impressive and a good amount of time to gain experience and knowledge. Let me share my blogging credentials for comparison. I’ve blogged/journal-ed online since 1999 using various platforms such as Geocities, Angelfire, Pyra Labs, Blogdrive, Blogger and WordPress. Prior to that, in the late 80′s, I was a co-sysop of a BBS Board run off a C-64. I’ve been an early adopter of Internet tech throughout the 90′s to the present day. As you can see, I too have a vast amount of experience with the blogosphere. John and I are well matched in this aspect.
Taking a look at his enumerated points
(1) The Right is structured differently than the Left. We have a large, effective talk radio presence and Tea Parties for new conservatives to sink their energy into. So conservatives have more viable ways to get involved in the movement outside of blogging than the Left did when George W. Bush came into office.
Working closely with a number of Tea Party groups in and around Philadelphia, I can say they were eager to have a web presence in the form of a website. We’ve had a strong presence in talk radio for decades, I fail to see how this continued presence is NOW stymieing the growth of blogs. Most tea party members are quite aware the MSM is not their friend and look for alternative ways to get fair coverage of their activities. Local, independent blogs are quite effective way of circumventing the MSM.
2) The rise of social networking has peeled a lot of people off, too. A lot of people who’d have been haunting blogger comment sections five years ago are spending their days on Twitter and Facebook now.
Both Facebook and Twitter are fantastic platforms to share links to blog posts. RWN certainly hasn’t wasted any time using Twitter as a platform to drive viewers to blog posts on RWN, VF and Linkiest:
If it peels off traffic and commentators, why is the author of this article posting blog links on Twitter? Surely there must be some benefit to sharing a link to a blog post instantly to thousands of followers.
The following three points are similar in nature.
3) The market has become more mature. 4) The market has also become much more professionalized. 5) Most bloggers are not very good at marketing, not very good at monetizing, there are no sugar daddies giving us cash, and this isn’t the biggest market in the world to begin with.
This is where I mostly agree with John. Right bloggers suck at marketing and we have a stubborn inability to spread marketing and branding knowledge to our fellow bloggers. Jimmie Bise from Sundries Shack summarizes this serious deficiency within our blogging community:
Here’s my second point. John is right when he says right-wing bloggers are not good at marketing and monetizing. Neither subject is particularly easy to pick up on the fly. But let me suggest that bloggers could use some useful advice from a guy, like John, who is good at marketing and monetizing. Plenty of bloggers (or former bloggers who are now professional marketers and monetizers) could give new site owners some truly helpful information, but too few of them actually do. I can’t tell you how frustrated I’ve been at conservative political conventions when I’ve sat in on a panel discussion on blogging or podcasting during which the participants spent most of their time talking about themselves and promoting their own projects rather than sharing a few crumbs of their accumulated experience.
My advice would be to attend one conservative conference, such as CPAC, for networking connections and look into attending conferences such as SXSW, Blissdom 2012, BlogWorld or a local PodCamp for good information on branding and marketing your blog.
This following bit of the article is what Jimmie Bise would call ‘link whoring’. I call it the Burkes Peerage of Right of Center Websites. The funny thing about the Peerage is its ability to change as fortunes and families change. In five years from now, how many of these sites will remain?
Instead, most successful blogs today have large staffs, budgets, and usually, the capacity to shoot traffic back and forth with other gigantic websites. Look at Redstate, which is tied into Human Events, Hot Air which connected with Townhall, Instapundit, which is a part of Pajamas Media, Newsbusters which is a subsidiary of the Media Research Center and other monster entities like National Review and all of its blogs, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, and the Breitbart media empire. An independent blogger competing with them is like a mom & pop store going toe-to-toe with Wal-Mart. Some do better than others, but over the long haul, the only question is whether you can survive on the slivers of audience they leave behind. This plays into #5.
I’ve been there and back again in the blogosphere, yet, according to this article, I should take my experience and go home. Having vibrant, diverse voices within the right of the blogosphere is the best incubator for up and coming talent. I find there are scores of talented bloggers on the right who don’t have anywhere near the traffic of RWN, yet produce quality, useful information consistently. This is our core strength. Some unknown conservative may start a blog today that in five years may eclipse the giants of today. We should encourage more voices not tell them to pack up and go home.
As an independent right of center blogger, I have every intention of staying and posting useful information for my wonderful group of readers and lurkers. I don’t begrudge those who are after monetizing their blog, and I hope they don’t begrudge those that aren’t interested in pursuing that course. This internet isn’t a zero sum pie chart, as long as the FCC keeps their paws off, every one is free to rise to a level that gives them the most pleasure. Those interesting in ‘Going Big’ should focus more on useful content than worry about smaller blogs peeling off hits to your site. We live in a remarkable age where technology allows for more open communication than in any generation prior. Everyone has a voice and now we have a technological soapbox to let our voice be heard and to connect globally with like minded people. Ignore the naysayers and sing my friends. If the push back to John’s article is any indication then I do believe the right leaning independent blogs are alive and kicking.
Others blogging on this subject: