Monday, August 4, 2008

A blogger case study - Louis Gray

There are literally TONS of ways to make your blog popular.  New blogs are coming online every day, and most,are using 'similar' techniques in reaching a critical mass.

Then there's Louis Gray

Emerging from 'the quiet' about the same time that I did, Louis first approached a niche sector. New online products and new adopters.  It interested a lot of people right out of the box and Louis found himself engaged by start-ups and others seeking to be 'tested' in alpha or beta .. or whatever :)

While he is the first to admit that the original 'bump' in his blog stats was a mention by Robert Scoble, that is now part of Internet history, while by my count, Louis' blog continues a slow and steady viral.

Louis wasn't really embracing the latest blog promotion methods in a big way (His blog isn't monetized and in his own words, he does it as a 'hobby').  Bloggers were looking for some 'fresh air'.  His timing was right onThe web was changing again, quickly, and he was right there.

Friendfeed was (and still is) a game changer.  It's becoming an integral part of the web landscape and one of it's biggest supporters has been Louis.  Why?  Because it works, it's different, and it has the potential of changing the landscape in a big way.  (Not to mention the fact that it's fun and interesting ?!).

The secret sauce goes further.

Louis is as transparent as they come.  From pictures of his new born twins to a few controversial pieces that he felt strongly about, it became obvious that he was blogging from his gut with no BS.  People starting crossing over from other tech spaces and subscribing to his blog.  They started mentioning him in their own articles.  That can become somewhat self-perpetuating and, if he keeps the content 'real' and informative, for now, it's my guess, it will continue for some time.

A few months ago, I picked up the phone and engaged Louis in a phone conversation.  My instincts are pretty good and this guy was 'the real deal'.  No crowdsourcing or other crazy (and potentially deadly) promotional methods.  Just a modest guy, having a little fun showcasing 'potential' game changers, while lending a hand to a few bloggers, that were smart, yet still undiscovered.

The other day, I received an e-mail from a well-established SEO person.  The person was seriously concerned that he (or she :) had dug themselves so deep into the 'same formula', that the products this person produced were being displaced.  As I've mention here numerous times, it's certainly possible now, especially since that advent of Friendfeed.  In this case, it simply wasn't true.  The person was well-known in a specific (and large) Internet space and wasn't going anywhere.  The concern is what got me thinking (again).

Numerous bloggers (with Scoble being no exception) have mentioned changing their profiles a bit.  Others are wondering aloud why their ads aren't working as well as they used to.  That's a subject for another piece, hopefully later this week.  Hint: Look for a sponsor and think back to Web 1.0 and banner ads.  Your little boxes are going to be obsolete soon.

So what's with the Louis Gray infatuation?  It's really pretty simple.  He's stays 'real'.  He stays 'engaged' (daily).   He maintains his modesty and perception of his blog's place in the bigger picture.  More importantly, he doesn't engage in 'calling out' others (unless he feels an undenyable necessity), or negative posting ..... something we're all having to deal with more and more each day.  No sensational headlines or other BS. 

I've watched many successful bloggers over the years.  Some had 'fame' in the tech space starting out.  Others didn't.  Maki's DoshDosh hit a mark that astounded me (and continues to), but that mark was realized using a completely different formula.

The moral (as some of you have watched many of us discuss on Friendfeed over the past two weeks) ...
1) Join the conversation
2) Keep it positive and real
3) Have a little fun.
3) Block the trolls and bad guys.  (They're nothing more than a distraction to YOUR success and / or happiness on the Internet).

Finally, give people a second chance.  If you've left a blog or website because of a disagreement or you simply didn't like it, take another look.  People change every day.  You may get a pleasant surprise.

Have a great workweek to all!