Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

Ad Astra Traffic: Content production/article writing service.

Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday Profiles forthcoming...Collegiality vs. competition...Thoughts on the risks and benefits of sharing good information from others...

The bottom line here is that I've decided to start a Saturday Profile as a regular part of this blog. I will be isolating and highlighting a site that other writers and potential clients of freelance writers might find of interest. I plan on doing the first one next Saturday.

This is not a new idea, but it's a good idea. I've thought about it before and have always back-burnered it, trying to decide whether or not it was in my best interests. I've decided that it is.

If you just want the "news," it can be boiled down to "I'll be doing a weekly profile, but I still reserve the right to use Saturdays for occasional seemingly random ramblings."

If you want the long backstory about why I think doing this sort of thing is a good idea, you can keep on reading.


Last week, this blog was the subject of a "featured site" piece at Writing Spark (see: "No Sunday guest"...). I enjoyed the write-up and it made me think about what a great idea that really is.

Highlighting others' sites is a win-win. It provides value to the readers of the site doing the feature story, alerting them to something of interest or importance. Simultaneously, it gives the "featuree" a nod of approval (who doesn't like an occasional vote of confidence?), some direct traffic and a handy backlink.

Now, most bloggers do a little bit of that on a regular basis, even if they aren't spotlighting individual sites. The most obvious example are link lists. It's a less concentrated way of saying "check this out, it's cool." We also do it as a matter of course in posts. For instance, if I write a post about Technorati's apparent decision to ignore my pings over the course of the last five days, I might reference Kristen King's rough flight on Technorati Airways.

That last sentence shared the "link love" and pointed out a nifty blog from a freelance writer. That kind of thing is really at the heart of blogging. However, I think that a more detailed profile or highlighting of another blog must be even more powerful. You might not have clicked on those links in my example sentence, but if I wrote a full profile of that blog, I'd wager that the click-through rate to it would be in excess of 50%.

I like sharing interesting things with people who have a relationship to the freelance writing and online content industry. That includes buyers/clients and writers. I like to think of this blog as a potentially interesting resource for both groups. One of my goals with the Content Done Better Blog is to provide a truly valuable and enjoyable resource.

So, integrating an occasional full-blown "you gotta see this" piece on outstanding sites/blogs makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, I do have another goal with respect to this blog. It's a marketing tool for Content Done Better. With the exception of the Thursday Specials, I try to keep the stuff I write here relatively plug-free (well, at least I try to limit the obvious self-promotion), but if the blog didn't help the business it wouldn't be here for anyone to read.

I've kept the blog free of advertising. I did recently toy with the idea of selling some select text links via Adbrite, but I gave up on that after offers seemed to be less than ideally-suited for my audience. Originally, there was a Chikita mini-mall and the ubiquitous Adsense blocks. I killed those. I didn't do that out of some desire to keep the blogosphere "pure." I removed them because I didn't like the idea of getting paid a nickel to have someone leave my site to check out the competition. I didn't want to serve as a billboard for other writers.

So, I'm hellbent on keeping potential customers here because I want them to hire me to handle their writing projects. That makes sense from a business standpoint, at least at face value. Simultaneously, though, I think there is a substantive non-business value to pointing out other blogs/sites that offer something unique, even though they may be my competition...

Sticky situation.

I could just highlight sites that I felt offered value to the reader but that didn't directly compete with me. For instance, I could write a glowing review of J. Bailey's Plagiarism Today, which is a great resource for anyone with an interest in online copyright and plagiarism issues. In fact, I did write a little blurb for it once...

Really, though, this blog is for writers with an interest in writing for the net and for webmasters and others who have online content and copywriting needs. If I want to maximize the value of their experience, I am going to have to spill the beans and concede that I have some smart, entertaining and talented competitors out there. Not only do I have to admit that, I have to start sending my readers and potential customers to see them.

I just noticed how long this post is getting. I know Saturdays are my "rambling" day, but I will try to get to the point...

After some consideration, I've decided to value collegiality over competition. I've decided to provide value at the risk of letting people escape my clutches. I think the pros of occasional feature pieces like the ones found at Writing Spark and elsewhere outweigh the cons of sending my potential clients off to look at someone else's material.

However, that is not a purely altruistic decision. Not even close. It's my hope that providing that information will actually be a net marketing benefit to this blog.

It should communicate my own sense of security in the quality of my work and abilities. If I am not afraid to tell a prospective client that the competition has something to offer, that should let that reader know that I'm willing to bet he or she will still (eventually) come back here.

I'm also gambling that most people who receive the "feature treatment" will probably mention it in their own blogs both as a bit of friendly quid quo pro and as a means of maximizing the value of the write-up for themselves. Thus, the traffic and linking will be flowing in both directions.

It should also make this blog a little more interesting, inspiring repeat visitors, etc.

I also like the idea of contributing to developing a sense of community among writers even when/if we are competitors in the marketplace.

Oh, I also have this whole notion that information exchange of this sort is an inherent good, but this has gone on long enough...

Okay, that's my long explanation of the reason for the planned addition of Saturday Profiles to the Content Done Better Blog.

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