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Blogger = Writer = Blogger?

by Fadra Nally on October 25, 2011

Last week, I started talking about how qualified and well-equipped a blogger is to handle PR. There was definitely some good discussion that seemed to land on a sort of happy medium. But it’s certainly not the only debate that goes on in the question of “What exactly is a blogger, besides a blogger?”

Most recently, I felt this question was indirectly raised at the newest BlogHer conference, focused specifically on the blogger-to-professional-writer track, namely BlogHer Writers. Are bloggers writers? Are writers bloggers? Can they both be both?

As I started pondering the question, I thought of the word and logic problems we used to study in math class. It went something like this:

Not all bananas are yellow.

Monkeys like yellow fruit.

Do all monkeys like bananas?

Clearly, I’m not a math teacher but the idea here is that you can’t assume monkeys like bananas just because they are sometimes yellow. Actually, let me just skip to the point.

As I’ve stated before, if you are a blogger, you are a writer. You may not be a professional writer being compensated for your writing skills but you are a writer. It’s also why I encourage people to improve their writing skills no matter what type of blog they run.

If you are a blogger, you should have a blog relatively free of spelling and grammatical errors. Yes, it counts. You should also focus on sentence structure, flow, and language. Even if you are reviewing a box of macaroni & cheese. If you are following these rules, you should be. Because bloggers are writers and we prefer you to help give us all a good name.

With that said, writing on a self-published blog isn’t necessarily going to open doors for you for professional writing assignments. It’s an online portfolio of your writing and it’s also your platform for your voice. If you want to be heard outside of blogging, be sure you prove your worth by being heard within blogging.

These aren’t simply my words. These are the words that came from editors at Penguin House Publishing. They do read blogs. They are paying attention to what people are reading and writing. They do want to discover new talent. Make sure you have your showcase ready.

While we had the ear of the editors and authors, I thought I would ask a question along these lines. My question was: how are bloggers generally perceived by journalists and other writing professionals?

Surprisingly, the answer was that bloggers are gaining respect as they continue to grow and become a strong voice in the community. Many successful bloggers are making the transition to traditional publishing and doing quite well.

On the other hand, you’ll see more and more authors becoming bloggers. Why? It’s another way that traditional publishing wants you to build your community of readers. Social media is a new world to many of these authors who are still trying to figure out Twitter. Blogging is an entirely different type of writing. And directly engaging with readers may be an unfamiliar and somewhat foreign concept.

So is a blogger a writer? And is a writer a blogger?

I like that the lines are blurred and I’d like to keep them that way. I’m spending more of my time focusing on the development of my professional writing. But I’m also finding that there’s a space to help authors understand the new rules of marketing, namely, through social media.

If you are an author new to the world of social media, what are your biggest challenges? If you are a blogger looking to become a published writer, what are your biggest questions?

Photo credit: nkzs

  • Anonymous

    I find this pretty interesting. I am a professional writer in the public relations industry (formerly in publishing as a newspaper reporter and a magazine editor). I think the same basics apply to blogging as to other types of writing, but there are also a lot of differences. Whereas when I write a magazine story or a newspaper article, it will get read simply for the fact that it’s in the publication that it’s in, when I write a blog post (at least right now), people aren’t necessarily going to read it just because it’s there. There’s a lot of reputation building that goes into blogging, and it requires so much interaction and engaging with your audience. I’m still in the learning phase. At the same time, if your content is no good, it doesn’t really matter how much you engage; people won’t read it.

    So in a sense, if you want to be a successful blogger, you have to learn how to market yourself, but there’s also the element of learning to simply be real with people, especially if you are blogging about family or lifestyle topics. So I guess my point is that either type of writing comes with its own set of challenges, but a good writer is a good writer regardless of the platform. I think that’s pretty much the same conclusion you came to!

  • Anonymous

    I am a blogger and a writer working towards becoming a compensated writer.  My current blog is based on my life, and while it can be quite an interesting read, as someone with a professional background, I realize it won’t (necessarily) be what gets me writing jobs.  I am starting a new blog that showcases a different style of my writing, so that on my first blog, I can do what I want to do…and potential employers don’t have to figure out if my writing style will work for them.

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