How mass media is using bloggers to reach readers
Chris Anderson recently talked about how a passionate amateur almost always beats a bored professional:
They choose to spend their time on what they do, and they go exactly where their passions, interests, knowledge and personality takes them–no further. If they lose interest they move on and are replaced by someone bursting with fresh energy. Self-selection ensures engagement.
When I attended BlogHer over the summer, I discovered some pretty awesome amateur writers in the form of bloggers. They write on topics ranging from health to food to politics to parenting, and sometimes go on an entertaining rant or two. And, I am embarrassed to admit that prior to discovering the large world of bloggers, my main online sources were limited mostly to CNN for news, AOL for celeb gossip & Epicurious for recipes. But, I am proud to say that I am not likely to ever go back.
So, yes, I agree with Chris. Passion is the secret ingredient that makes online content great, it’s the je ne sais quoi that ropes in the reader & commits him or her for life. A few examples: Vegan Yum Yum’ recent post on food photography for bloggers, The Simple Dollar’s post about what he learned as a first time home buyer and ten simple ways to live a less stressful life from zenhabits.
But, don’t just take it from me. Every media company under the sun is working to harness the passion of bloggers. Real Simple has put their Simply Stated blogs front and center, CNN is looking to the public to write the news through iReport, Martha Stewart has her own set of blogs in addition to a circle of featured bloggers who are part of her ad network, and even USA Today has members of its staff writing content in the form of blogs.
So, does the increasingly blurry line between media conglomerates & independent bloggers really benefit the reader? The answer is yes, in the sense that media companies are trying new ways to engage with their readers. And a double yes, in the sense that amateurs are now being legitimized by media companies and sponsors alike, and in turn discovered by more and more committed readers like me.