By now, you’ve probably bumped into a blog. Or you’ve heard about blogs. Or you’re already entertaining thousands with a blog of your own – in which case, congratulations. You’re on the cutting edge of self-promotion.
Put simply, a blog is a simple, one-page website which acts like a diary of sorts that you update regularly by posting entries. Unlike regular sites, the technology interface is simple. It's no more difficult than, say, Microsoft Word. You can literally set up a blog in less than fifteen minutes, and post entries in as little as five minutes per day.
Blogs, short for "weblogs," are the new confessional. Unlike a regular, more formal web site, a blogger will post their true thoughts and feelings about life as it unfolds around them. They’re full of ideas, opinions, observations and the like. The posts are often quite short and pungent. And best of all, readers can leave comments and stimulate online conversations.
More importantly, blog posts circulate around the Web largely through RSS feeds – a delivery system that circumvents email, and sends new blog posts right into a small box on your desk top. These are called news aggregators or desktop readers. Unlike emails that can get snagged by spam filters, a blogger’s message really gets through.
For this reason, the media love them … and that, self-promoters, is why you will love them, too. A recent study found that a full 75 percent of all journalists use blog to collect leads.
Blog posts are also great places to find resources. Good posts often are loaded with links and references to information all over the Web. And because they serve as a casual journal, a writer is expected to post her true thoughts and feelings. This has allowed some blogs to attract literally hundreds of thousands of readers.
In other words, the more personal and opinionated the blog, the more attractive it is. Oh yeah, and if the info is useful, that’s good too.
Simple and Effective
So it’s no wonder, journalists use blogs so freely for their research. I recently heard a Wired editor say he had an RSS feed with more than 100 blog entries delivered to his desktop every morning. He searched these for breaking news and trends every day. This journalist spends up to two hours per day combing through blogs!