This post was originally published in 2009. 10 years later, I decided to keep it in place. However, below I have issued an addendum on how I see these delineations being applicable today. Enjoy!
A blog is a pretty flexible medium. What you choose to do with your blog is completely up to you. Obviously, my approach to blogging is as a business. However, there are others.
Let me get right to the point and outline what I see as the three primary approaches to blogging.
#1 – Hobby Blogging
The vast majority of blogs out there are hobby blogs. A hobby blog is one where the blogger simply blogs about whatever is most interesting to him/her.
A hobby blog is done just for fun. It could used as a journal, it could be all over the place in terms of topic, or it could be focused on some specific topic. With hobby blogging, you basically do whatever you want.
Hobby blogs can be a lot of fun – and even useful in many cases. However, monetization is generally much more difficult with these blogs.
See, the key difference with a hobby blog is that it is centered around a topic – even if that topic is just yourself and whatever is on your mind. A blog which is geared toward business aims is one which is centered around a market. A topic and a market are two different things.
#2 – Promotional Brand Blogging
A promotional blog is one where the blog is designed primarily as a promotional or informational device for a business. The blog is more of a branding strategy to get your name out there.
For example, if you are a consultant, you might want to operate a promotional blog in order to provide information relevant to your expertise. The blog is not monetized directly, but you do so indirectly by using the blog to refer new clients into your consulting business.
Perhaps you make money as a paid speaker. In this case, your blog is, again, designed to promote yourself and your expertise. You monetize the blog by making it abundantly clear how people can contact you and hire you as a speaker.
Even offline businesses should explore a promotional blog.
#3 – Professional Blogging
When you blog as a professional blogger, then you are running an online business where the blog forms the crux of your lead generation strategy. You monetize through ads, affiliate marketing, and/or selling your own products.
In this case, the blog is the face of the business. The blog forms the hub of an online empire.
This is the approach that I take.
As a pro blogger, we are not interested in promoting an offline business. Secondly, a pro blogger specifically targets a market and does not blog about anything he finds interesting. A pro blogger has to stay on topic. A pro blogger writes posts specifically engineered to attract prospects and them move them further into their sales funnel.
Being a problogger is demanding. It requires a combination of writing skills and marketing skills. It can also be very lucrative if you are in the right market and are adept at the two above skills.
Addendum: My Commentary In 2019
A decade after originally writing this post, these 3 approaches have more or less remained the same. However, the walls between them have blurred.
Also, I no longer even use the term “professional blogging”. Being a “problogger” used to be an actual thing – and I know that there’s a whole site branded around that term “problogger”. However, I don’t think of blogging as an expertise or something one does professionally.
I think a better term would be content marketing. Blogging today is much bigger than a traditional, written blog.
Secondly, a real entrepreneur probably would never identify themselves as a blogger. I run a blog on the topic and I don’t call myself a blogger! I’m an online educator, an online business coach, a content marketing strategist. Call me what you want, however I don’t identify myself by one of my marketing platforms. I identify myself by the product or service that I provide. In the end, I’m in the education business.
So, this post is fine… for 2009. I kept it here because it was still pulling down some traffic after all these years. 🙂
But, the truth remains…
Blogging is not a business model. It is only a marketing platform for a real business.
If your goal is to generate business and make money, then you approach blogging from a much more strategic perspective. That’s what we talk about around the Blog Marketing Academy.
And, if you’d rather just free-form on your blog and write about whatever you want without any of those concerns, then that’s hobby blogging. Totally fine! I love reading them! But, real strategic blog marketing is a different beast.
For more on how to turn blogging into a business (or more accurately stated, build a business around your blog), check out…