I’ve been a contributor to Ragan’s PR Daily for approximately 4 months.
It has been an interesting experiment and, thus far, has panned out better than I imagined it would.
This type of activity takes time. That’s the output. It also generates returns; some easy to measure, some harder. I don’t get paid cashmoney (something I quite like despite all the commie propaganda you see on this site) for my work with PR Daily.
Maybe you’ve thought about doing something similar to what I do for PRD. Writing for publications, websites, newsletters that you don’t own or run can be an excellent way to increase your own notoriety, followers, blog traffic, etc. It can also be a waste of time.
Below, I describe what has happened for me since I started writing for PR Daily. Your situation may not be remotely analagous, but perhaps knowing a bit about my story will help you discern what producing content for properties other than your own can do for you.
- My follower count on Twitter has increased 50%.
- My blog’s monthly readership has increased by about 40% – admittedly, now that I am a contributor to the the publication Michael (the editor) and/or Mark Ragan (the publisher) may feel more impetus to run my nonsense in the newsletter.
- It is now rare that I write a blog post that receives no comments or retweets – and this version of my blog is 8 only months old. (Believe it or not, I used to blog about politics)
- I’ve received at least 3 paid speaking gigs – directly attributable to my PRD work – since I became a regular contributor.
- Though I previously read a bunch of blogs, news items every day, I feel I’m far more in the know in terms of news re PR and social media (simply put, writing stuff about stuff makes one more familiar with it).
- I have developed relationships with smart people such as Heather, Adam, Susan, Shonali, Mike and Pia. They all work in the industry and they all add to my knowledge about it.
So, what are the lessons?
- The obvious: You can gain following by plugging into others’ communities. Ragan – specifically PR Daily – is a hell of aggregator to write for. Over 50 000 PR people receive it each day. There aren’t a lot of publications like it. But, even if you can’t get somewhere big, getting into other’s spaces is worth your time. It’s the old rule in social media – if you help others with their content, you see returns on your own.
- The slightly less obvious: Gaining following via exposure on aggregators requires sustained effort. If we run your stuff on PRD once, you will see a spike in traffic. It will likely be that though: a big spike and then a return to normal levels. If you want to get involved with producing content for properties that aren’t yours, commit to more than one offs.
- The connections you make through wider exposure are worth their weight in gold. I had a 45 minute chat with Susan Young that was invaluable. This would NOT have happened without the PRD gig.
So there, that’s my experience. What is yours?
You are, to quote Mark Story (@mstory123), a tall cool glass of awesome. (Loved that post, btw).
I think the relationships you cite – and I’m really happy to have gotten to know you through and because of PRD – are really important. That’s one of the reasons my volunteer bloggers at Network Solutions’ WomenGrowBusiness.com (disclosure: client) stay on the roster; because they learn so much from each other and make connections that stay with them for the long haul… that invariably turn into business assets.
I think the key is to approach such endeavors is to expect nothing. NOTHING. Do it because you want to contribute; do it because you like to; do it because it educates you in the process (as you mention). Yes, I think we have to approach it sensibly; do we have the time, is other “stuff” going to suffer, is it more/less important, etc.; but starting out with nil expectation is really the best way. Because then the only place you can go is up and, as you said at the beginning of your post, it pans out better than you can imagine.
I don’t think I could have said it any better than Shonali! To add to her point, participating in established communities/committees/groups (virtual or real-life) is a tried-and-true way to expand your network, generate new leads, etc. As long as it’s done correctly. You get out of the experience what you’re willing to put into it. When serving on a board or committee, it’s so obvious to see who’s there because they feel like they have to be vs who is there because they *want* to be. Jackson, you’ve really made an effort to get to know people in the industry so you can bring that perspective and info back to PRD. As such, you’re experiencing the additional benefits that come from such involvement. The example that you’ve shared highlights why involvement is so important and the lessons can be applied to online and in-person opportunities.
And, I’m glad that I’ve gotten to know you the past few months. Thank goodness for PRD, right? 🙂
You can count me as one of your new followers and regular readers, thanks to PRD! I agree that the more you write about the trends, the more you read, the more you write, the more you know, etc. You make a great case for the value of social media and connections in a relatively short time period. Now, if only you could do something about that cashmoney 😉
Shonali: Thanks for the kind words! I think expectations are indeed the key. When we go into things with bloated self interest it’s a recipe for failure.
Heather: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’re a shining example of what ‘getting out there’ means. I love dropping in the onthe #pr20chat.
Krista: Thanks for being a key member of this blog’s community. Your comments are always thoughtful and add value to the discussions here. Thrilled to count you among the reg readers of my nonsense 🙂
J – thanks for the mention.
I’ve only been at it for a few weeks but agree with the ‘plugging into communities’ comment…and of course getting to know you a bit more 🙂
Great post, Jackson.
I do a fair amount of freelance writing and love it.
And like Shonali says (that I say), I am sure that you are a tall, cool glass of awesome as well.
Thank you not only for the mention, but for sharing your thoughtful insights into PR Daily. Indeed, there are many results that I have seen as well, and I know more connections, leads, relationships and opportunities that await us. It’s a pleasure to know and “work” with you!
Mark and Adam: Thanks to both of you!
Sue: the feeling is mutual!