James Governor of analyst firm Redmonk has posted a thoughtful piece on how blogging is changing the analyst and PR landscapes. When he wrote this part, he may as well have been talking about myself and Read/WriteWeb:
"Bloggers and emerging non-traditional analyst firms are increasingly influencing technology and product strategies. In order to make money, many of the new blog influencers will try and make their way as paid trusted advisors. Some will do implementation work as well. They are the new influencers."
The way I make my living these days is as an independent Web Analyst. I do market research and analysis reports for various Internet companies across Silicon Valley, the UK and recently Australia (but I have no clients in New Zealand, my home country!). All of this work came via my blog Read/WriteWeb and the reputation I've built up over time with it. And in fact, Read/WriteWeb now mirrors my paid work - even if the blog doesn't pay my bills directly. What I mean is: R/WW is about product positioning, analysis, industry insights. Which is what I do in my consulting gigs. So when Dave Winer writes about how your blog is your advertisement to the world, I know exactly what he means.
The other point James makes is that some bloggers, such as myself, are becoming paid advisors to startups and companies. I've just recently begun to look into becoming a member of a few advisory boards. I'll of course declare those interests once they are confirmed, but I wanted to make it known that a) I am available for such advisory roles; and b) this is a natural consequence of becoming a specialist in a certain niche - which is what 'professional' blogging is all about. Incidentally, Stowe Boyd calls this Advisory Capital and his take on it is well worth reading.
Pic: Randy Glasbergen, from Ashwin Bhatnagar
Currently I get a ton of email from startups and other companies asking for my advice or opinion. If their product interests me, I'll usually reply with some thoughts from the top of my head. I may even blog about their product (but I should emphasize that I only do so if it connects with general themes that I'm tracking).
Of course if I am invited to be a paid adviser to a startup, then I'll spend a lot more time thinking about their product and sending them specific advice. So in that sense, the old adage 'you get what you pay for' is still true in the new media world :-)
What is Read/WriteWeb?
my ZDNet blog recently (if I do say so myself). My focus on ZDNet has been Web Office and similar 'techie' (often enterprise-focused) things - that's my voice on ZDNet and to be frank it took me good few months to find that voice. On Read/WriteWeb I tend to write more about consumer 'web 2.0' and new media - focusing on product positioning, analysis, industry insights. Which as I mentioned, mirrors the consulting and advisory work I do for a living.This also leads me to clarify what Read/WriteWeb is about these days. I consider it my main blog and the one that best defines my interests, although I've been writing up a storm of great content on
Although I 'give away' a lot of analysis and insights for free on Read/WriteWeb, in the long run it enhances my reputation - which leads to paid work, both consulting and advisory. It works both ways too, because I get a lot of insights from other people for free - via email and other bloggers.
p.s. feel free to email me if you'd like me on your advisory board ;-)