There are 7 different types of online writers. Which type of online writer are you?
I started dabbling in online writing over a decade ago, and I’ve experimented with many different blogging styles and objectives during that time.
As I see it, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, there are seven different types or personas that bloggers tend to fit into, each with its distinct characteristics and advantages.
Which Type of Blogger Are You?
#1: The Niche Expert
These bloggers create niche sites on anything that might have a good prospect of making money – something to do with gadgets or celebrities or credit cards, for instance. They run lots of ads, or put in plenty of affiliate links, or both. These bloggers may well have The 4-Hour Workweek on their shelves.
Often, these bloggers are highly motivated and driven. Their content is sometimes of variable quality, but the best niche experts provide real value for readers.
In a two-step process, CreditCards.com has a blog, Taking Charge, which links frequently to the CreditCards.com main site, which uses affiliate links to make money.
#2: The Business Owner
This blogger is part of a fast-growing movement. She produces high-quality content to support her business (which could be anything from running a country pub to an SEO agency). Her posts may cover a range of topics, but all will relate to her business.
These bloggers often provide some of the best content on the web. They’ve got a reputation to maintain, and they set themselves high standards. Unlike the niche expert (#1) and the blog-to-business writer (#3), they see their blog not as their business but as a marketing tool for their business.
SEOptimise runs a blog about SEO, and offers client services. Their blog showcases their expertise and their up-to-date knowledge.
#3: The Professional Blogger
The Professional Blogger is at a cross between #1 and #2. They see their blogs as integral to their business. They’re proud of what they’ve built, and they write about a topic they love. Unlike the Niche Expert, they’re unlikely to have multiple blogs.
They use their blogs to make money through a variety of means: membership sites, consulting, ebooks, e-courses, and / or other digital products. They don’t tend to have an offline presence (like a store or office) that you can visit, unlike the Business Owner. Their content is excellent – it has to be, as it’s the cornerstone of their business.
ProductiveFlourishing offers digital products, and services such as consulting. Charlie and team publish regular, thoughtful posts about leading a fulfilled life.
#4: The Journal Writer
These bloggers have an ‘old-school’ blog – one that’s similar to a personal journal, often covering a wide range of topics, often in a narrative format.
They probably participate in memes, and may have a small or large readership. Some blog irregularly, sometimes posting daily, while at other times not having any fresh posts for months; others stick to a regular schedule.
They’re usually not concerned about ‘monetization’ or ‘SEO’. They might run a few ads or pop in some affiliate links to help pay their hosting costs – but their blog is primarily a hobby and a place to have fun. They see readers as potential new friends, not potential customers.
IronicMom – who now has a book out, on the strength of her humorous take on family life. Her posts cover a wide range of topics, though, including one of my recent favorites: 5 Job Titles You Can Fake Your Way Through At Parties.
#5: The Platform-Builder
These bloggers are looking to make a name for themselves, with money a more distant objective. They might be authors current or prospective) building a readership for their books, or individuals working in new media who want to impress employers.
Platform-builders, like business owners, have a strong incentive to produce great content. They will usually stick fairly closely to one topic. You won’t generally find ads on their blog, and some will avoid affiliate links.
George RR Martin’s blog is all about letting his readers get closer to the author, whether by knowing his book signing schedule, or what he’s thinking, doing, reading, watching etc.
#6: The Product Promoter
These bloggers have something to sell: often a book. You’ll often find them anywhere but their own blog – and some won’t have an online home base at all. Instead, they’re on a blog tour around the web, with guest posts and interviews on different sites.
Product promoters may not see themselves as bloggers at all, especially if they don’t have their own blog. They’ll often have great insights to share, though some may be unfamiliar with how best to write for the web – host blogs can often help by doing a bit of extra formatting on their guest posts.
Early Jackson, guest blogging here on Dumb Little Man, is promoting his books through his bio (as well as his speaking and teaching).
#7: The Freelancer
These bloggers get paid to write posts for major sites. They may specialize in a particular topic (gardening, healthy eating, personal development) or they may take whatever comes along! Most will write regularly for the same site, often on a weekly or monthly basis.
Their content is usually top-notch – after all, they’re being paid for it! Their employer will often do some editing to ensure a polished final piece. These bloggers may or may not have their own blog; if they do, you will generally find a “hire me” or “services” page there.
Grymm & Epic’s Steff Green offers blogging services (plus email marketing and illustration) for clients, through a “Hire Steff” page.
None of these personas is the “right” one … bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, and all of these seven types can produce great content.
Of course, many bloggers will fit into more than one of these categories: if you take a look at some of the examples above, you may well find ways they overlap with or take on aspects of different personas.
Today, I’m primarily a Professional Blogger – with my own ebooks and membership site. I’ve got a fair dash of platform-builder and product promoter thrown in. I also do some freelancing, though not quite so much as I did in the past. (Though I started out as a journal-writer and even tried being a niche expert.)