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Blogs as Launching Pads….

Are you jumping up and down on the one spot with your Blog or are you using it as a launching pad for something else?

While I was in Washington at the Underground Online Seminar, one of the speakers (I can’t remember which one) spoke in passing about an entrepreneurial principle of always looking at what you’re doing now as a springboard into what you will do next.

Spring-Board

As he spoke I naturally started to apply it to blogging and found myself thinking about three types of bloggers:

1. Jumping Up and Down on the Same Spot – this blogger starts a blog, grows it to it’s potential but allows it to become stagnant but doing the same sorts of things that they’ve always done on it in the same ways. Their vision is generally to grow what they’re doing by doing what they’ve always done in the same way that they’ve always done it. While this type of blogger can build successful blogs – they could be missing out on reaching their potential by not leveraging their current success to do new things.

2. Jumping from One Random Thing to Another – this type of blogger is a serial starter of new blogs. They have an entrepreneurial spirit but find it difficult to stick at things and see them through to their potential. They’re easily distracted by the next ‘big thing’ and as a result don’t tend to fulfill their potential in the current things that they do.

3. Springboard Bloggers – this type of blogger probably falls somewhere between the first two types in that they have the ability to build successful blogs and stick with them long enough to see them reach some sort of tipping point – however they’re always thinking about their next venture and are often able to leverage their current and past success to launch their new thing.

This last group of springboard bloggers usually start out with smaller blogs but use even the small influence that they build their to launch themselves into new and bigger ventures. Perhaps one of the best recent examples of this was Wendy’s recent announcement that she’s about to start blogging for Entrepreneur.com’s new Women’s blog.

My Story – while I’ve not really thought of my blogging in this way before – my own growth in blogging has really happened in a springboard type way. In brief, here it is:

First Blog on Blogger - the day I discovered blogging I started my first Blogger blog. It was largely a personal journal talking about life and being involved in a church. Readership was tiny – a few friends, a few others thinking about similar styles of church.

LivingRoom Blog - after a few months on my blogger blog I began to see the potential of blogging to build a personal voice and connect with others around the world thinking about similar things. The few readers that I had suggested I start a blog on my own domain and get a more custom made design. One of my readers even volunteered to help me do it. My new LivingRoom blog was born. Again it was on a similar topic to my first but as a result of the new design and branding it grew in readership.

Digital Photography Blog – after a trip overseas when I wanted to share my photos with friends and family I started a photoblog on the livingroom domain. Really my vision for it was a personal photosharing site (this was pre Flickr). Of course no one looked at my photos – but the camera review that I wrote became popular in Google as the domain I was using was ranking well. I began to aggregate reviews and camera news and readership grew – largely based upon the search engine ranking of my previous blog on the domain.

ProBlogger – this blog actually started on my personal blog on the livingroom domain. I was writing there about the lessons I was learning about blogging for money on my photography blog. While a segment of my readers appreciated my blog tips – others began to complain that I had to diverse a spread of topics on the one blog. I moved the archives that I’d already written and a segment of my readership over to ProBlogger.net and launched with a smallish but loyal readership.

b5media – after blogging at ProBlogger for a year or so and building a readership and profile as someone who knew something about blogging for money I was approached by a number of other bloggers to become partners in a new blog network – b5media was born. As a result of the profile of us as founders we were able to attract some kick ass bloggers to the network and have been able to scale up pretty quickly.

Other Blogging Related Projects – a series of other opportunities have arisen since starting ProBlogger including the Six Figure Blogging course, speaking engagements, writing opportunities and more. Each have come as a result of this blog.

DPS – launching off the back of my Digital Photography News and Reviews Aggregation blog I launched a digital photography tips blog – Digital Photography School. Having 10000 daily readers and a size-able newsletter list already on a similar topic a definitely helped launch this new venture. Writing about the blog here at ProBlogger helped a little also. DPS is now a year old and in the coming months is likely to become my largest blog in terms of readership. In recent times I’ve also added a forum to DPS and have had approaches to write books/ebooks and do speaking on the topic also.

Tomorrow want to continue this discussion with a few tips on how to be a ‘springboard’ blogger and to leverage your blog to bigger things.

In the mean time I’d love to stories from readers with examples of how they’ve used their blogs as a springboard (or are planning to).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    I know I use it as a jump start for bigger projects.

  2. Trent says:

    Bigger projects? Mine took off so fast that I’m still hanging on for dear life. :)

  3. Brian says:

    I’m in a niche where I’m not sure there’s enough people reading blogs to make (serious) money from it (and I’m not sure I want to). But I did put a note on my about page that I was looking for a new job, and a publication has contacted me about writing for them. It would be all the enjoyable things about blogging (research and writing) without all the annoying parts (marketing, SEO, etc). My interview (as if my entire blog isn’t one big interview) is tomorrow.

    I’d be interested in writing a guest post for problogger if I get the job.

  4. coqui says:

    I’ve just started out, so I do not know where I will fit in. I just moved to Puerto Rico and decided to write to help in the adjustment process. Hopefully people will visit and find useful information. Then hopefully things will take off.

    I find problogger has some great information and tips.

    Thanks

  5. Matt Wardman says:

    Thanks for an interesting article Darren.

    I’ve got a fairly new political blog, which hasn’t even got a Google assessment yet. However, I’ve been posting the odd bits of video and audio, so I’m expanding with a podcast and vodcast review blog a bit earlier than I expected as I have 80% of the material to hand. That way, I get to build a platform now that may save me several months later this summer. I’ve posted an article at the link via my name above.

    In the UK political blogosphere, we have a lot of major blogs still on Blogger, which seems to me to have stunted the development of big group blogs. Would that have happened to you if you hadn’t moved on?

  6. David says:

    I’ve got to agree with you about starting multiple blogs . It’s all too easy to do this but then you find you’re neglecting one blog or the other . You must focus on one blog

  7. JennDZ says:

    I don’t see it as a launchpad, but more of a part of a larger vision. Mine blog is travel and food related. Out of it I have already had to create another blog devoted to food alone. I am starting to network in my local community by doing restaurant reviews and travel destination reviews. So I think things are starting to happen. I think of my blog as my portfolio.

  8. I use my blog as a lab space to test ideas. I used the many years of doing that through Fast Company’s listserv and network as the springboard to launch the blog. All the knowledge, connections, and ideas done through that experience formed the bedrock of content and purpose.

    This online phase is a natural outcome that can be in turn a springboard to other meaningful ventures: partnerships and definitely a future profession. People often ask me what a conversation agent does. There’s a story behind it.

    I like your springboard idea because it can help people discover what they gravitate towards. Where is the passion catalyzing? Why? We all do a great deal of self-introspection, particularly at times of big change like a new job, as Brian writes above, a blog can be a great tool to test our mettle in the language, challenges and opportunities of a new industry and new ideas.

    As a marketer, I now have 200+ questions and write ups as well as comments to mine for patterns on trends, hot topics, issues, resonance, etc. That is a huge and evolving learning opportunity. Did I just give you and your readers another idea? I surely hope so.

  9. I started from Blogger last year and now I am running another WordPress blog and working towards springboard blogger, hopefully :-)

  10. Cucirca says:

    I find myself in the first category :(

  11. Jamie says:

    I have read these pages loads and this is my first comment – I feel like I am walking onto a stage for a school performance infront of hundreds of parents!!

    My ‘baby’ http://www.fishing-blog.co.uk started as a personal blog a few months back all about fishing. Now it become focused on a few areas of fishing and its really started to take off for me. The design is basic but I have focused on content, content, content.

    I am using this for learning primarly to understand what the beast know as blogging needs to grow and develope. I am, I would suggest in the Springboard Bloggers cat. as I want to use the reader ship to help launch other ventures.

    I also have 3 other blogs in different fields to do the same thing with.

  12. Jeremy David says:

    I think that’s fantastic.

    I am 100% a number two. 2. I have changed my blog so many times. My question is, how can I fix?

  13. Adnan says:

    Hey Darren.
    Its funny, reading your post now has made me realise how much of my blogging story so far is exactly the same to yours!

    I too started off on a Blogger blog which managed to grow in size. Then, my readers suggested that I should get my own domain, and like you, one of my readers volunteered to help me do it!

    Im now in Stage 2 of my blogging career and have already launched a few sites which havn’t been that successful – mainly due to lower subscriber numbers, and not a big enough base to springboard off. This is my goal for the rest of 2007 so that I can put the ideas I’ve got into practice and use my current blog’s leverage to kick them off.

    Great post and can’t wait to see the next installment of your springboard!

  14. Ricardo says:

    I must say that while my blog is small and pretty much unnoticed it did get me enough exposure to get asked to co-host a podcast and become a contributor for other blogs which I love to do. I can’t say this is the start of something big but I’ve met some great people along the way and it’s been very fun so far.

  15. jen says:

    My personal blog is in the number 1 category as it’s a space to just write what I feel like – quite self-indulgent. I haven’t found that niche yet. The niche blog I have setup (www.safarisuit.com) is so niche that it doesn’t get that many visitors but we are making some money from adsense.

  16. Carolyn says:

    Thanks again Darren for another great post that has got me thinking!

    My blog is still young, four months, so I’m not sure yet at what stage that I should launch into bigger and better things for my blog, or add something new. Ever since I began my blog, I’ve had many, many creative ideas for expanding my site. However, I think I’m still at the development stage where I’m concentrating on getting visitors and subscribers and writing great content.

    I guess I’m thinking that as I get more and more comfortable with where I’m at with my blog, then I can begin to build in another area? Anyway, thanks for those three points. Gives me lots to think about.

  17. Blog Potato says:

    I am using my blog to start the entire blog portal. I started with the Blog, Blog Directory, and the Open Blogroll. I plan several other projects in the near future, such as: blog network, blog software, hosting, templates, widgets, plugins etc. I am currently talking with a couple of other authors and programmers. The next project that I will start will be the blog network. I just don’t have even help or enough time. I have a couple of volunteers, but you can’t expect someone to devote very much time for free.

  18. Rebecca says:

    What I’m really hoping to get out of this blogging gig is someone who wants to bring dinner in exchange for me planning their wardrobe. LOL

    More seriously, I’m still growing, but slowly, not taking time away from my family responsibilities. Podcasting intrigues me, as does getting face to face with both readers and other bloggers.

    Who knows what else might come up? I have other projects in mind, mainly stuff that’s helpful, like building a better fashion personality quiz.

  19. Rebecca says:

    Oh, one other thing, this would be more of a jump: I’d like to teach a class for pre-teens and their moms on the artistic principles that will enable a young lady to be attractively dressed while retaining her modesty.

    So far, nobody seems interested.

  20. My question would be: in order to jump from being #1 to being a #3 – is how much money is involved (if any). I would’ve thought to leverage anything properly you need bucks. Sure, quality writing is just that but isn’t it naieve to think that’s the be all and end all??

    (says she who’s trying to develop a business acumen)

  21. I definitely use my blog to get new ideas started or to see how others might use them…why not?

  22. Darren,

    I started off using my blog to see what I was thinking about. That’s right. Ideas would get lost in conversation or not developed, so the blog helped take care of that.

    Even though I write about organization and workplace issues, the conversation often starts to weave a pattern like a spider web . One topic or comment touches on a related issue, and what started as a conversation on good mangement leads to another about good marketing or even good parenting.

    But your post really has me thinking. One of my principles when working with a new client is “always think about the third or fourth sale, not just the first one.” Your post made me realize that I wasn’t thinking the same way about my blogging.

    Thanks for the creative spark…

  23. Maria Palma says:

    Great post, Darren. I started off blogging mostly as a personal journey to share ideas and experiences. After a couple years of doing that I got my gig with KnowMoreMedia.com and discovered the money-making potential.

    Although I now have many blogs under my belt – many of them are to simply to share resources. Everything I write about I have a passion for, so it’s fairly easy to keep them updated.

    But, I am still waiting on that book contract ;) lol

  24. Nicholas says:

    I think you hit the process on the nail Darren. When you focus your attention at the task at hand, you are able to scale up to the next level in a more leveraged manner, thus ensuring your success.

    This is aptly called the principle of concentration. When you don’t put enough effort in your current projects and start venturing out, you start to dilute your efforts, and thus move in the opposite direction of levering your current assets and not conquering your current goals.

  25. Tina says:

    Great post, and certainly makes you think…

    I am new to blogging and have to say it has fuelled my creativity more than any other occupation I have ever dabbled in.. I currently produce a printed magazine locally to where I live. The concept of being able to launch magazines on-line with very little cost involved – aside from time and dedication – it just – well – awesome… so awesome that for me – one small idea about a blog escalates quickly into a much larger vision, and then from that – heaps of other ideas are born, and suddenly it becomes difficult to focus on the first blog.

    I think this is where people you refer to in point 2 can fall. I obviously have a huge tendancy to fall into group 2. And for anyone else out there that “suffers” with ideas – the only advice I can give is to keep a note book of ideas – but remain true to the original vision. You may never be a “spring boarder” so to speak – what may happen is that you develop one idea to a point that it has a financial value, whereby someone will want to buy it, and springboard it on… You sell it – then you can get to work on one of those other ideas…. you’ll then get better and better at start ups and creating established businesses….

    If entering “the next level” is somewhere you’d rather not go (which – hey – its not for everyone!)… then this approach could help you to fulfill your potential – and take you quids in to the bank….all whilst you see your ideas (that you have nurtured and taught to walk) – living a full life out there in world!!!

    Just a thought….

    http://www.escapengland.blogspot.com

  26. Janet Green says:

    Darren, I’ve been through all three of these in phases and it’s interesting to see them laid out in black and white like this. First, I have to say that as a whole person, I *am* the random-thing-jumper. Every new thing I learn about seems to have the potential to become a business, and I have a hard time focusing. What’s consistent in my life though, are writing, and marketing, and the Internet. So it seems my next gig lies within those areas.

    I’ve been blogging since 2002 when I was determined to write actual thoughtful content instead of just the usual “I slept late this morning” crap that seemed to be dominant at the time. I didn’t have much focus though – it was just my own musings, though I tried to always have a point. This was/is a #1-type blog for sure. I moved along to having created a nice niche website, http://www.bikerchicknews.com, that really needs to be moved onto a blog platform and that gets decent traffic for its kind. Barely monetized, have just started with AdSense now that the site is two years old. This could be a springboard blog.

    And I have just started a third blog, http://www.marketingideablog.com, which will be a springboard to the business I eventually hope to start (if I don’t get side-tracked first by the lure of a biker leather retail store or a t-shirt screen-printing shop or some other such thing), focused on helping small businesses identify goals for internet marketing and getting them set up to meet those goals.

    Great post, saw myself in all of it! ~ Janet

  27. Joanna Young says:

    Great post – and lots of food for thought. I branched out into a second blog after only three weeks of running the first one… so far I’m finding it okay as the two blogs have different ‘personalities’, they’re telling different stories. I’ve made a deal with myself not to take on any more for a while though!
    Joanna

  28. Great article, and it gave me some things to think about. My site, The Next Cahmber, was started primarily as a way to talk about writing and my interests, and grew into discussion on writing, books, electronics (smartphones, digital audio players, etc.), and more. It’s weird for me because I fall into two polarized categories: sci-fi/adventure writer, and computer guy (I work as a Network Engineer), so combining both into a blog is a balancing act. I can never tell what article will get responses and views. Some of the more personal, “My Life” posts will get commentary, and some of the technical articles won’t. I’m constantly surprised by that. But I get a “decent” amount of views a month (over 8,300), which was way more than I ever expected and it has been growing over the past two years. In the end, I can only blog for myself and my interests, and hope to connect with others, even if it attracts a variety of people.

  29. Springboard is a great word for what I intended when I began my adhesives blog last month. I always intended it as a tool for my own development.

    I am currently staying in my comfort zone of writing in a personal tone and am still struggling to post weekly. But I dream that consistent writing and progress will allow me to make the content reader-focused within a year, increase my career options because I will have proved that I can write intelligently about science, and generally make myself more well-known in and more knowledgeable about my industry.

    It seems almost impossible at the moment, when I compare what I am doing, to where I want to be, but then I look back at some of my early posts in my art blog from two years ago and both the writing and the art have improved so much, that it makes me believe that I can take this next step in a different area of my life.

  30. My weblog has been around since 1999. The initial premise was it to be a place to jot down thoughts that would later become paid articles. With the explosion in attention paid towards weblogs I focused solely on writing for the weblog hoping to hit it big. While helping me know for sure that I am a writer I haven’t hit it big yet. I’m not much of a marketer but the springboard idea would get me back to the initial mission of my weblog as well as allowing me more opportunities to market my weblog.

  31. Stop! Darren, please stop!! This is too much. You are driving me crazy! Stop instigating new ideas,new goals and new possibilities. Darren, i have a job, carrier, family and life. Please!

  32. David says:

    Darren,

    This is a great post ! I enjoyed learning more about how you started. I also went to your LivingRoom blog and learned more about you personally. It is great to hear these entrepreneurial stories, in particular how one thing leads to another.

    I am reading the book Founders at Work now and it is amazing how a lot of entrepreneurial success stories have a similar themes where one idea leads to another and eventually you hit the big one and become a big success.

    I am writing a series of articles on entrepreneurial success, some based on the stories from Founders at Work. Here is one example:
    http://ww-success.com/blog/index.php/2007/04/21/entrepreneurial-success-requires-courage-and-persistence/

    I would love to write about your entrepreneurial journey and how problogger.net became such a huge blogging success. If you are interested please drop me a note at [email protected].

    David

  33. Greg Lunger says:

    Hello Darren,

    Great post !

    Thank you so much for All the Wonderful advice you give out, Wow, I Love it !!!******

    I started out back when you did. We were taking a course with Andy at the same time and exchanged some emails then and linking. You had livingroom.org then and I had digital art and photography at typepad.

    It had a steady readership of 103 people, even after I stopped posting for a year. While I was doing more Art and shows. Then I dropped it about 1 yr ago.

    Just a couple weeks ago I started a new one at blogger for my Art. Then started reading more about blogging, and found you and problogger at MyWebLog.

    From what I have read and seen you and others do, I got my own domain and wordpress and started http://www.digitalartworldblog.com, so I can share with others about all aspects of creating digital art and digital photography. Using both blogs to help build the other.

    Today I just started a new blog that I have my own domain for and wordpress, http://www.cosmicphotoart.com, it will take over for my blogger Art blog .

    Your thoughts on springboard blogging make a Lot of sense to me. Thinking ahead and planning for it with what we are doing now. Continually exploring how we can use what we have, and what is out there to be put into action in an organised way to build even further.

    I am so inspired, seeing what you have accomplish with blogging. All the people you are helping. this Blogging World is made up of such Wonderful people, all helping each other.

    Thank you again Darren, and will be reading more soon !!!******

    Greg

  34. Love the description of the three types of bloggers. I can definitely see that in my journeys through the blogosphere. Of course, I’d like to think of my blog,Lessons from the Scrapbook Page, as a springboard. And it has already launched me into other areas, including writing columns for other sites, coaching new clients, getting booked for speaking engagements, and establishing credibility as an expert. That is much more than I ever expected for a blog to be able to do in less than a year. But, even more than that, I love that I can connect with the readers of my book, Real Women Scrap, on a personal level and build relationships through my blog and community. It’s all good in my book (no pun intended)!

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