How to go from blog to job (an interview with Marcy Massura)
“Blog to job” is a career path that many now aim for, but few actually experience. Marcy Massura is a prolific blogger, community manager, author, and much more. She’s a living case study on how to create social side doors in your career, and her influence keeps growing. I asked her to talk about what it takes.
What were your goals when you first started blogging? Was finding great work one of them?
When I started 5 years ago, the concept of blogging as a career was just forming, and while I was mindful to build a site that was ‘brand friendly’ it was not my first intention. I started blogging because I wanted an audience. I am a humor writer, and a former performer- and the blog platform gave me an instant audience from day one. Like all artistic and creative endeavors you have to love it first, and profit from it later.
Since you began blogging, it has become a bit of a crowded field. How would you advise today’s beginning bloggers to stand out and get noticed?
Be exceptional. Too many bloggers are busy being average, copying others and working every angle possible to get brands and agencies to notice them. But the bloggers we agency people are interested in have well written content, good photo and video skills and have strong niche communities around specific topics and genres. Those bloggers are exceptional. Secondly…and I have said this for many years now- the ultimate key to blogging success is consistency. Be consistent in everything from your publishing schedule, your content quality and your tone. Being great every once in a while is interesting, but success is built on doing something consistently well.
You’re adamant that numbers like fans and followers don’t represent actual influence. What are some other ways to signal to people that you’re worth their attention?
Well for starters we all need to acknowledge that measuring ‘influence’ is as impossible as measuring charm. You cannot actually measure something so intangible. What we can do is look to indicators that people find the person important in their world- so that often means fans and follower numbers. But we go deeper and look at the quality of those interactions to really assess the potential influence a brand or social promoter might have…so comments, tweets and conversations matter more, and are likely to be the thing to tip the scale between to equally matched bloggers. Also, the metrics for a blog site alone are only part of the story…we analyze the overall digital footprint and take into consideration every one of the blogger’s platforms. So collectively, we look to a blogger’s ‘community’ and broadcast potential- and the quality of those communities before making any decisions.
Having great content that demonstrates one’s expertise is one thing, but getting people to read it is another. What’s the most important thing you did to build your social presence?
Be everywhere. Every platform, every conference, every conversation. Be everywhere you can be in the digital space to be noticed. And before you start sending people back to your blog- be certain you have quality content there to make them want to come back again.
Barriers to entry in social media are low, so advice and tips on blogging are everywhere. What’s the single most clichéd or cringe-worthy piece of blogging advice you encounter that just seems wrong to you?
Gosh there is so much bad advice out there! But I think the thing that makes me cringe the most is the advice I read recently telling bloggers to ‘stay on single topic’ on their sites, and it went on to say ‘if you want to talk about other topics –start another blog’. This is horrible advice! Your blog is more like a TV channel than a TV show. You can, and should have a diverse range of topics and categories. Remember the concept of blogging is that it is personality based journalism, so the connecting link- the common thread in ANY topic…IS YOU. The blogger. So you can, and should write about anything that you fancy- as long as it is written through the filter of your voice and opinion.
What’s the ideal mindset for approaching blogging as a means of earning access and influence?
Ideal mindset? Well……don’t have that mindset! If you ask a girl out on a date with the single goal and intention of marrying her- chances are you are not only going to reveal yourself as someone whose heart isn’t in it, but you will never get even close to closing that deal. Much is the same in world of blogging…you have to do it because you love it. You have to do it consistently and create excellent content because you love it. Only then might you get noticed. And you might not. Be okay with that.