[This is part of the Blogging Foundations Starter Kit Series.]
Sometimes the next best step is to understand some of the existing types of blogs out there, as generally understood, and some of the known blogger personas.
Remember, you’re not necessarily defined by these nor do you have to subscribe to their definitions but more than likely you’ll fall into one of these categories.
Why Is This Important?
For starters it can help you focus your efforts as you see what other bloggers typically do as well as helps you begin to connect with other like-minded bloggers.
Marketing and business experts use personas to help categorize and create patterns within culture and their markets so that they can target and focus their efforts better! Why not do it for your blog?
Ready? Here is a list of a few of them that I’ve encountered and some of the defining characteristics of each:
1. The Hobby Blogger
A “Hobby Blogger” is someone who blogs occasionally and for fun. The blog content might focus on a particular subject matter or a wide array of topics. Ultimately these types of bloggers may have a limited number of posts and may take frequent breaks or time between posts.
There is no pressure on a hobby blogger to produce content or to spend anytime on anything else (design, code, etc.) other than content. A large number of seemingly-abandoned blogs were started by a Hobby Blogger and only time will tell if the writer returns.
The audience of a hobby blogger might be large or small. In fact, it might even be private to one or a few individuals.
2. The Personal Blogger
A “Personal Blogger” is the largest group in the blogosphere (the world of blogs) and the topics of interest can be as varied as you can imagine. Oftentimes these blogs can look like online diaries or simply commentary on life. These blogs can also, at times, become community centers as a consistent number of readers come back to read the published posts. Posts are a reflection of the writer and the motivation for blogging can varied as well.
Personal Bloggers sometimes will spend small to very large amounts of money on design, personal branding, and features for their blog so that they can more adequately express themselves, although some of them just like to keep the style and look simple and let the content speak for itself.
Finally, the type of content can be plain text or rich media with audio, video, embeddable content, and more. The medium also might be different as well as some will become vloggers (video bloggers) or microbloggers a’la Posterous, Tumblr, or just Twitter.
You might just be a Personal Blogger if you have a desire to express yourself creatively online.
3. The Citizen Blogger
A “Citizen Blogger” is someone who is like the online version of a Citizen Journalist. This person plays an active role in collecting, analyzing, reporting, and sharing news and information about things that are of interest to them, a specific people group, or to the general public at large.
These bloggers help shape opinions about what is currently happening in culture and the local/global arenas. They push a lot of user-generated content and reference many other news sources. They are respected and sometimes gain notoriety through their brave delivery of information!
If you like reporting on issues, topics, and any other interest then you might just be a citizen blogger!
4. The Business, Corporate Blogger
This blogger sits in the professional arena and could hold jobs ranging from lawyers, realtors, and any other professional and established business. They engage their customers, get feedback, and accelerate their large and small businesses by using the blog as a PR and Marketing machine!
They may have a team around them to copy edit some of their material and may have levels of “sign off” to get posts published. They also may be a blogger because it is a part of their job role and responsibility and get paid to blog during normal business hours. These bloggers may have a natural talent for blogging or have developed one because of their ever-increasing role as a professional.
They ultimately want to win business through their blog so that their organization can continue to grow in marketshare and profit.
5. The How-To, Educational Blogger
This type of blogger loves to let you know how things work! They spend a lot of time creating tutorials and how-to videos and/or walk throughs on the things that they love! These posts are extremely helpful and create high value for all of the community! In fact, some of them spend all that time simply because they want to create that value and are not interested in having a (financial) return for their work.
In the same way, an “Educational” blogger is one who provides more insight, guidance, and support on particular topics. It may be specific to the educational vocation and education system or it could be helpful information about a particular subject and/or topic. These bloggers, in general, love to serve their community with wisdom, insight, and practical tips and tricks!
If you love helping people and telling them how to do things better then you might just be a “How-To” or “Educational” blogger!
6. The Review, Reporting, Marketing Blogger
These people love reviewing products, services, and pretty much anything else under the sun.
They report on news, happenings, and products that interest them as well as businesses that they have a financial relationship with. They like being the first to the “scene” and providing valuable information that other bloggers haven’t covered yet. They also like to be seen as an “authority” within that reporting space.
These bloggers are well respected within their community for their consistent and (sometimes) fair approach to their reviews and blog posts. There is definitely a balance as some of the marketing bloggers might be seen as spammy. Ultimately there is most likely some financial/business model that is being used in this bloggers ecosystem.
If you love covering news and reporting on the what’s-what in your area of interest, or you love promoting and marketing your own business or other businesses, then you might be this type of blogger!
7. The Niche Focus, Topic Blogger
This blogger loves one or a few things in particular and focuses their attention on a reporting and blogging about everything related to that topic!
This could be something like products, services, locations, travel, food, politics, culture, sports, technology and more. Some of the best and most followed blogs are ones that strategically target a particular niche interest.
Some of these bloggers can command healthy salaries and contracts for promoting product, services, and businesses within that sector and focus as well and many niche bloggers may end up being professional bloggers who can make full time income from it!
If you find yourself gravitating to one or two topics in general and spend more time blogging about those things then you might just be a niche and/or topic blogger!
8. The Opinion, Thought Leader Blogger
You have opinions and people listen. You may even love to hear yourself talk, and as a result you love to read what you blog! Ultimately, you love it when other people read your opinions and agree with them (or even challenge them!).
You’re an opinion blogger and you’re not afraid to let the world know!
On the other side of the coin you might just be seen more of a thought-leader in the space, the one that has the experience, the know-how, and the experience to back it all up. You’ve been successful in your particular field of study, work, or vocation and people look to you for inspiration. You challenge paradigms and the current status quo with your blog posts and people may even invite you to speak at conferences and/or write published articles as a result of your platform!
Many bloggers within this persona find full time jobs as bloggers as well as auxiliary means of generating income, like conference speaking, book writing, consulting, and more. People respect and value their opinions and want to learn more!
If you’ve got stuff to say and people love it and respect it, then you might just be a thought leader and opinion blogger!
9. The Professional Blogger
The “Professional Blogger” can actually be any of the bloggers above with the added description of a financial model around it that is substantial. In other words, a professional blogger is one that blogs for a living.
Again, these bloggers can cover many different topics and there is literally no rules other than the fact that they make a large amount of money through their blogging efforts.
10. The Blogger Who Blogs about Blogging
Finally, there are many bloggers who chose to blog about the art of blogging. These can be professionals within the space, niche bloggers, marketers, and even hobby bloggers.
Ultimately their blog posts help other bloggers learn the art and science of blogging and seek to encourage others through their example, suggestions, resources, and more.
11. BONUS! The Digital Tentmaker, or TentBlogger
Someone reminded me that there is a new class and type of blogging persona out there and it’s “TentBloggers!”
You can read the full definition here but essentially it’s someone who’s making a few dollars here and there through their blog while they cover the topics of interest that they so choose. In other words, a TentBlogger is any blogger (including all 10 personas above) that makes some money through their blog(s)!
There’s a pretty good chance that you are already a TentBlogger!
So, What is Your Blogging Persona?
Remember, this list is not meant to be exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination but a place to start. Remember to use this list as a guide and as a helpful tool to help you focus your content so that your audience can understand your efforts better!
So let’s hear it! What is your blogging persona? Is it something that’s not on this list?
[This is part of the Blogging Foundations Starter Kit Series.]