Many journalists, forced out of their jobs by cuts in the ad revenue that keeps mainstream publications afloat, have turned to blogging about the beats they once covered for mainstream publications. Such blogs, bolstered by the professional writing and reporting skills of their owners, can obviously be a ripe target for PR professionals and a valuable source of information for customers.

The $64,000 question though, is whether any of these formerly ink-stained wretches can make a living online.

While it’s too early to declare victory, a former colleague Evan Schuman is off to a promising start with his StorefrontBacktalk blog, which is essentially an online magazine focusing on IT issues affecting the retail industry. Evan has gone to great lengths to make the site look and feel professional, and recently gained advertising deals with Cisco and Oracle.

The beauty of this approach is that Evan can focus laserlike on a single subject area and report about it in depth. This makes it a highly focused target for PR professionals whose clients serve this vertical. The downside is that it requires boatloads time and money to make the blog this good, and there’s no guarantee that quality will attract enough advertising revenue to sustain it.

This is only one of many models that will undoubtedly emerge as former traditional journalists take what is best about the “old” world (professional writing and an attempt, at the least, to be objective) and move it online. For PR professionals, these “e-zines” can be good targets to pitch their clients. For tech vendors, they might be a cost-effective home for some of the ad dollars they used to pump into trade publications, since blogs have a self-selected audience who are interested in what the vendor has to say.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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