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Interview with B.L. Ochman of What’s Next

B.L. Ochman's blog, What’s Next, focuses on Internet strategy, marketing, public relations, and politics with a bit of news and commentary. We sat...

Jeff Squires
Jeff Squires on September 12, 2006.

2.  To what extent is the publishing you do your business or your shop-front? How has that changed over the last year?

I’ve published a newsletter, first in print, and then on my site, since 1985. My writing has always been the way I established my expertise. My blog has been my store front for the past three years.

My blog readership has increased substantially in the past year to 6,000 uniques a day. I still don’t have an accurate count of my RSS subscribers, but it’s substantial. And the number of subscribers who choose to receive an email containing the previous two days’ posts has remained steady at about 3,500.

3.  Beyond any financial reward, what do you get out of it all? What drives you?

I love writing and reporting. My degree is in journalism. I also really enjoy the networking among bloggers, and the opportunity to communicate as an equal with writers whom I admire. I’ve learned so much from bloggers with whom I have become friends.

4.  Are you conscious of YOU the brand as much as your site? Do you leverage the fact?

The brand has always been me. I have become a global microbrand. To maintain my place requires a lot of time and energy spent digging up material to cover. I also am no shrinking violet, I share my opinions, and I am stuffed with opinions. :>)

The most popular posts and articles I write are trends and how-tos and that has not changed in 20 years.

5.  How do you view the other independent publishers that cover the same content areas as you?

There are only a handful of marketing bloggers whose opinions I respect. There are an awful lot of people who talk the talk, but very few with any real world experience. The ones who’ve proven their theories with actual client projects are the only ones I care about. There are a few who are good at reporting new tools for blogging and social media and I follow them for that information. I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of RSS feeds.

6.  How is mainstream media covering your content areas? Is there a noticeable reaction to what you and your peers are doing?

Mainstream media still produces "are blogs a fad" stories and other outdated crap.

But a few, like the NY Times, Newsweek, and BusinessWeek have caught on that we’re here to stay and that we have an impact because he have networks that spread and that follow what we say. We’ve become media watchdogs and that was a long-overdue thing. You still see the argument that bloggers are opinionated and that we don’t have editors and aren’t balanced. Yup. But that’s also why people read us. We don’t pretend that we’re objective. You know where we stand. I prefer that and so do millions of people who read
blogs.

MSM still refuses to cite bloggers as news sources, and they lift from us all the time. I hope that’ll change over time.

Advertising Age just put out this insipid study that only a small percentage of people really read blogs and follow social media news sites, so blogging is not really important. Yes, but we are the influencers, so you negate us at your peril. I guess they feel they need to justify to their ad agency readers that it’s ok that they still don’t understand the Internet. But I think they’d do them a better service to tell them why they’d better wake up.

7.  How is your world going to change over the next 12 months?

The outlook is quite rosy. Clients who got their toe wet with $500K projects are going to be devoting more of their budgets to online. And I’m already in the space with a track record. Business can only get better.

Thank You

What’s Next

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