Blog networks are a big deal. For people new to blogging, the idea of a professional blog network was born around 2004. The idea was to pull together a bunch of blogs on different topics and have them share resources, and use successful ones to successfully launch new ones through cross promotion. Calacanis and Denton were the first ones to make it work with their respective networks: Weblogsinc and Gawker Media. Calacanis sold Weblogsinc to AOL in 2005 and it makes AOL a lot of money. Gawker Media is still independent and recently conjectured to be worth about $150M. However, there's lots and lots and lots of blog networks around now. I blogged for Creative Weblogging for awhile. b5Media seems to be thriving. TechCrunch, GigaOm, PaidContent and a few other blogs have taken their popularity and used it to launch other blogs, thus creating blog networks. Federated Media and Glam Media have pulled together blog networks by recruiting a bunch of successful bloggers to outsource their ad sales.
There's a bunch of benefits to a blogger joining a blog network. Behind the scenes, there's a lot that goes into making a blog hum from design, building, hosting to ad sales, ad serving, research, fielding requests from public relations firms, writing, comment moderation, recruiting writers, payroll, etc, etc. However, the biggest benefit of being involved with a blog network is the cross promotion opportunities. A successful blog can quickly make a new blog successful by linking to them frequently, putting them in their blog roll and sometimes, just by association.
But, all blog networks to date are media businesses. They hire (or are started by) great writers and they sell ads. Their business model is gaining eye balls and selling impressions.
The bloggers in my network are not in the media business. They're in the asian cosmetic surgery business, the laser liposculpture business, the bulk mailing list business, the North Carolina whitewater rafting business, the sales force evaluation business, the aed implementation program business, the deformable mirror business, the museum exhibit design business, the after hours trading information business, the home renovation design businesss. The list goes on.
They don't sell impressions. They're not blogging about Audrina from the Hills' topless photos just to sell more ads. They sell real products and services. They have real knowledge and real experiences.
Why isn't there a blog network for them?
Blog networks have historically been run like journalistic enterprises. They've beaten the newspapers. They beat magazines. But, the motivations of the bloggers in my network are different. The means are the same. They must establish credibility, build a community and draw in traffic from search engines in order to build their readership. But, they want to drive traffic in order to generate leads and make sales. Not sell ads. Their products and services help people solve problems and create opportunites. They're not just sharing ideas and information for the sake of entertaining and informing. They're sharing ideas and information to establish credibility and make a prospective client feel more comfortable doing business with them. They realize they need to be informative and educational in order to build a readership. They realize they need to link to other bloggers and participate in the distributed conversation that is the blogosphere. They need to do all of the things that a professional blogger does.
So, why isn't there a blog network for them? Why shouldn't businesses have the ability to join a network and benefit from a little cross promotion? They're adding value to the web by sharing their knowedge. They are the true experts. They don't write about their topics for a living. They do what they're writing about for a living. Their writing comes from years of hard won experience as practicioners.
Joining the PC4Media online business network is not much different from joining a Chamber of Commerce or other business networking group. The reason business professionals join those groups is because it's an opportunity to get to know other business professionals, build relationships, do business directly and help each other out by referring business to each other?
Why shouldn't businesses have a blog network that allows them to do that online? Why shouldn't businesses proactively join a network and link to each other, promote each other, use LinkedIn and Twitter together? Why shouldn't bloggers who blog to benefit their business have a network that helps them establish their blog readership quicker, increase their search traffic and traffic from social media sites quicker? Join the conversation quicker.
Now they have that opportunity. Stay tuned as this develops. I'm excited and a bunch of my members are too. We're going to be having a lot of fun as we support each other in growing our respective businesses. You're invited to join us.