Here’s what used to happen: A publisher had a magazine, or a big pile of stamps and a mailing list. She’d hire a copywriter or a stable of them. Sometimes the combination worked out and end up with the New Yorker or LL Bean. But other times (most of the time) it’s just a waste. Either the stuff that goes out is lousy or the great writers don’t get heard. (More than 70,000 books got published in the US last year… how many have you read?)
Blogs change that. Someone like Corey (Shaveblog) has to worry about nothing other than his ability to keep to a regular schedule. But when he writes something like this:
The best part of all this is that you’ll start off with this rig, and
then once you’re up to speed and feeling all modern mannish and
whatnot, you’ll want to hunt the really big game, so you’ll go down all
sorts of expensive paths snatching up adjustable DEs, gold-plated
vintage Gillettes, scary-sharp extreme-geek blades, gigantic brushes of
exotic bristle with more ludicrous backstory than Anderson Cooper ,
and when your adrenal gland finally gives out and you reach the end of
what’s buyable and eBayable, you’ll realize that you never got a better
shave than you did with your first Merkur HD and your little Vulfix
…it gets straight to us, unfiltered.
Same thing when Tom Asacker takes on authenticity:
Dove is a Unilever brand. But guess what? So is Axe .
Uniliver’s Dove celebrates women by encouraging them to take pleasure
in their individual beauty. Unilever’s Axe portrays women as a ditsy,
sex crazed collective. Same company. Two worldviews. Or at least,
that’s how they present themselves to us through their marketing.
Truth be told, as consumers, we really have no clue. So pardon the
cynicism, but Unilever, therefore, is not being authentic. But here’s the question: Do we care?
It’s not just blogs, either. Someone like John Wood (the other John Wood) without using a lot of design skills, can build a thriving permission marketing business without a lot of money. Just by paying attention, being consistent and keeping his promises, John can cut through the noise and do very well, thanks.
The filter is important, sometimes. It keeps us focused and on time and from veering too far in the wrong direction. But in a Long Tail world, the filter is actually better off gone.
The thing most people miss most is that they no longer have an excuse. Without a publisher/editor/boss to blame, your writing is your writing. Your followup is your followup. That means some people become trains without tracks. They just sit there.
The barriers are gone, the costs are zero. The question is: what are you going to do with your writing?