More True Today Than 2 1/2 Years Ago When I Wrote This

In the fall of 2006, Business 2.0 asked me to write a short post about how blogging can build your business. It ran in the December 2006 issue in a story called "How To Succeed In 2007".

Alex Hammer sent me a copy of that article this week and it was on my desk this morning. I re-read it and thought I should share it with all of you.  So here it is:

Blogging has become a critical piece of my business. I am an
early-stage investor in Internet-delivered services and the co-founder
of a venture firm. At first I really didn’t know what to write about.
So I wrote about things I was passionate about: work, family, music,
politics, New York City. I still post about all of those things, but
today my blog, called A VC, is mostly about my work and music. I
started writing at least one post every day and have done that ever
since. When I go on vacation, I write a bunch of posts in advance and
then autopost them on a regular schedule. I’ve found that having
something new on the blog every day is the single most important thing
to building an audience.

I also like to use a sensational headline. Many people read blogs in
aggregators, which generally show only the headline. So you have to
give people a reason to click through. Blogs need to be real and
personal. Reading it should be like hanging out with you. I play music
for my readers. I show them videos I like. I tell them what I did over
the weekend. And I tell them what is happening in the technology,
Internet, and VC markets.

And it works. About 50,000 people come to my blog every month. The site
brings in about $30,000 a year now in ad revenue, and I donate it all
to charity. Most important, I’m getting to know entrepreneurs of all
kinds – in India, Australia, England, China, and Silicon Valley. They
read my blog, correct me when I’m wrong, pound the table when they
agree with me. I get to know them, and they get to know me. When it
comes time for them to raise money, they know who to ask. And for me,
the blog acts as an amplifier and a filter. I see many more
opportunities, but they are also way more relevant. It makes me a
better investor.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Seth

    Consistent execution…good advice for all.

  2. Fraser

    “A VC, is mostly about my work and music” …. I know mp3s are posted regularly to tumblr – and I do appreciate listening to them – but I miss the posts about the music, the thoughts that accompanied the tracks.

    1. fredwilson

      switchabit is going to bring them backi want to set up tumblr to repost all my music posts to avc

  3. Josh P.

    I’m curious what your economics are 2 years later — still 30K in ad revenue?

    1. Doug Kersten

      I second the ad revenue question. Has it increased, stayed the same? I would think ad revenues, everything else remaining the same (e.g., traffic), would actually have gotten better over the last 2 years. Especially with the sites with premium or influential content.

      1. fredwilson

        If I put any effort into it, I think I could get $30 cpms for this blog and my feedTogether they generate about 16,000 ad impressions per daySo that’s $480/day or $175k per yearBut because I don’t do anything to promote this blog to advertisers and rely completely on FeedBurner and Federated to sell it, and many of the impressions go to remnant networks, the revenues are 1/6 of that.Fred

    2. fredwilson

      Maybe a bit more nowI honestly don’t focus on itThey checks go right to the charitiesMy traffic is stable at about 150k pvs per month and has been so for the past three yearsThere are ads in my feeds as well which provide about 50% of the revenuefred

  4. ScottyBob

    Many CEOs blog these days. People could care less about what they write about in terms of business, but feel very connected when they talk about themselves and what they are passionate about. Knowing that the head guy digs Zeppelin makes people feel connected. Its about sharing what otherwise may not be known is what creates a deeper relationship.

  5. hypermark

    Great insight on the importance of daily post. I tend to post in a catch as catch can fashion but this provides fodder for daily diligence. Thanks.mark

  6. simondodson

    no doubt about it Fred, avc is one of my fav reads since day dot … not to mention what ive learnt from this blog as well. ya know i take around roughly the same monthly audience as mentioned above on my blog.. yet no where near the amount of ad revenue… which add service works best for you? ive definatly got to start doing the single post a day thing .. there is no reason why i shouldnt be…

  7. jeremystein

    “I’m getting to know entrepreneurs of all kinds”that line makes the post, but its more than just entrepreneurs! blogging makes it so much easier to hang around the rim. you can get access to some of the best minds in the industry. fortunately, they are built around conversations. when the smartest people in the room are talking and you aren’t learning anything, you’re either not listening or not trying very hard. even if you aren’t an entrepreneur (or have a relevant prospective deal), you can still learn and grow as a person by participating.

  8. howardlindzon

    Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

    1. fredwilson

      i love reading your posts howard. you can really hammer home your point

      1. howardlindzon

        You got me started.

  9. ricksantos

    I read that article two years ago ( I think I still have the issue somewhere) and that drove me to start reading your blog. I was interested in blogging and wanted to see what kind of blog can make $30k/yr. I kept coming back here for the content. I also live in NYC – I work in digital media and an Arctic Monkeys fan!

  10. Jon Knight

    Hi Fred, enjoyed the post. In my small business in my small town, I service local businesses by providing IT support and advice to them. For the past 4 years these annual contracts have been most of my bread and even some of the butter, so my customers obviously appreciate the services. Why, I wonder, this far into the web, are they so resistant to the idea of blogging? To date, though I have mentioned and in some cases recommended maintaining a blog, not one of them does. But if I recommend a new piece of hardware or software, poof! Their response is immediate.

    1. rscheffler

      Perhaps because content creation is more difficult than consumption. Buying hardware or software results in an immediate, quantifiable benefit and is easy, just place the order and it arrives. It’s not as easy to quantify the the returns a blog will bring in the short term and requires effort and dedication to promote, build and maintain. It’s one more thing to do each day. Certainly it’s not impossible but means shifting priorities to accommodate it. My guess is many brick and mortar businesses just don’t anticipate how a blog can help business.

  11. Ada

    Nice insight, thanks for sharing to the blog community!

  12. mpl201

    Great insight – posting every day is so key, though we hate to admit that our attention span is so short…thanks! (One tiny nit about the headline today: Fall 2006 to today is about 1-1/2 years, not 2-1/2…hey, it’s our job to point these things out! ;-)…

  13. Dan Weinreb

    I’m quite impressed how you manage to find something interesting to say every day! I have a blog, but the entries consist of long essays, and I try to turn out one every two weeks or so. It’s probably not the best way to get lots of followers, but that’s what I have to say that I think might interest other people. The whole blog phenomenon is so fascinating. It’s young, and perhaps it will evolve in directions that we can’t think of right now. It’ll be fun to see how it goes.

  14. sgauria

    With feed readers, I think posting every day is not as crucial as posting good content. I use google reader, and I have sorted the blogs into high and low priority. I end up reading anything from the high priority set, and some of those blogs post just once a week to once a month. I know it is just one datapoint, but there might be others like me.

  15. One User a Day

    another great post Fred. In fact, reading this post inspired me to start my own blog last week. No doubt that blogging has became a powerful form of communication. It is much more personal and relevant than any books or newspapers can offer. I agree with dlweinreb about how u can find something interesting to post everyday. Thanks for all the great posts.—————————–finding customers ain’t THAT