Ladies and gentlemen. Friends of all ages. This month's Blogspot Banter takes us to Scott Solomon, the man behind Scott's Tip Of The Day, a blog that was recently named (much like others we have profiled in the past) a Blog Of Note by Blogspot, the lovely people who provide us the tools to offer these wonderful corners of the Inter Webs. Though Solomon hasn't had his blog as long as some of the others we have spoken with, he has still carved out an incredible following in an awfully short amount of time.
The blog, which you can find if you click here, is exactly what it says it is: A site that offers tips (often humorously, if we may add) on everything a life can offer, from where the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Chefs have gone (a question we have all pondered from time to time), to junk mail from credit card companies. It's all there, fully equipped with pictures, videos, and other various interesting and neat things a blog may offer.
His story is kind of neat, as you will see below. Considering the short amount of time he has been doing this (and, well, the fact that he admits to not knowing a thing about blogging before he got involved with his site), his achievements and amassed following have all grown to add up to be pretty darn impressive. Also below, you may find a few movie recommendations you'll enjoy (he is a film expert, and by expert we mean he probably knows way more about such things than us), the importance of adequate response, and, of course, how to juggle a successful blog while holding down a real honest-to-goodness day job (he's an attorney, for God's sake!).
But alas, enough from us. Please take some time to enjoy the following interview with Scott Solomon from Scott's Tip Of The Day.
Q: How long have you had the Scott's Tip Of The Day blog?
A: My first blog post was on August 28, 2008, so I have been blogging for a little over two years.
Q: Can you explain what the main focus of your blog is and what inspired you to begin this particular blog?
A: I have a pretty serious day job as an attorney, but I have always had a creative side to myself as well. Although I enjoy my job, it's not creative at all. I was looking for an outlet to express myself and I thought blogging would be a great way to share my unusual thoughts with the world. I also wanted to improve my creative writing skills. I found my writing style emulated whatever author I had read last. Some of these influences I found seeping through include Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Brett Easton Ellis. I was searching for my own voice. Getting into the habit of writing about random things, many of them topical, forced me to develop a unique voice of my own. My blog's main focus is sharing my thoughts with the world in a humorous way. I use it as an outlet to discuss whatever is on my mind. Sometimes it's something I read in the news, sometimes it's just a random thought. I try to keep it fun, I try to keep it entertaining and I try not to get too preachy.
Q: It seems to showcase things that interest you, and it seems to be mostly comedic, but is there a particular audience you are trying to reach with the topics you cover on your blog?
A: I don't target my material toward any specific audience. I may be more popular with certain demographics than others but I never really explored this in great depth. I use my blog as a way to express myself. It might resonate with certain types of people more than others but I think if you took a cross section of my followers you would find my audience is pretty diverse.
Q: Scott's Tip Of The Day was recently named a Blog of Note by Blogspot. How did it feel to be recognized like that? Did you ever know or think it was coming? What can you attribute to obtaining such status within the Blogspot world?
A: I had no idea it was coming. One day I noticed that people were leaving way more comments than usual on my blog. Some of these comments congratulated me on making the Blog of Note list. I checked out Blog of Note and when I saw what it was all about I was blown away. Chosen by Blogger? As the Blog of The Day? I was flattered. It felt great. There are so many blogs on the internet and so many talented writers. I was really honored to be the only Blog of Note for the day.
I attribute my success to a few things. First off, when I first started my blog, I contacted a lot of humor bloggers who I thought were funny. I knew nothing about blogging. I was looking for any advice I could get. I asked these bloggers for tips on building a base of readers. I also asked if they would be kind enough to exchange links and add me to their blogroll. This had mixed results, but some people really went out of their way to help me. Chris Illuminati was one of these people, (http://chrisilluminati.tumblr.com/), and I probably wouldn't have made it this far if people like Chris didn't patiently answer question after question of mine. Yeah. I had a lot of questions.
I also attribute my success to my unique perspective on life. A friend of mine once told me "Scott, I don't think you're wired like the rest of us." That very well might be true. The gears in my head are always turning. I'm extremely curious, I love to procrastinate and I absorb useless trivial knowledge like a sponge. I also love to talk a lot and have a problem interrupting people when crazy ideas occur to me. (Over the years this has frustrated almost all of my friends. Haha.) I'd also like to think I have a good sense of humor. I did win Best Sense of Humor Superlative in my High School Yearbook (Go class of 2000!) Combine all of these traits and you have someone who has a lot of amusing stuff to say about nothing in particular.
Q: Your blog has over 400 followers, and your profile says it has been viewed around 2,500 times. Those are pretty good numbers. What advice would you give to a blogger starting out in regards to how to gain readership? Were there any struggles you had to begin with, and how did you overcome them?
A: Like I said earlier, I would look for successful bloggers who write about things you're interested in. Contact them. Pick their brain. You may find some jerks, but you'll find a few who are willing to help. Since Scott's Tip Of The Day became a blog of note I've been getting a lot of emails asking for advice. I responded to EVERY SINGLE ONE. Some bloggers were nice enough to help me and I wouldn't be where I am without them. I am a strong believer in Ben Franklin's concept of paying it forward. I'm also a big believer in karma. I'll answer your questions, even if no one else will.
If you can find a way to get onto a popular blog's blogroll, that's not a bad way to start gaining viewers. It's slow going at first but if you update your blog regularly and reach out to a lot of people you will slowly build a following.
Sometimes the process gets frustrating. My blog definitely didn't blow up immediately. It took a lot of time and hard work. If you believe in what you're doing and you pour your heart into it, good things will come. The internet is a big place. You will find people on your wavelength who are interested in what you have to say. It takes a lot of time and effort though.
Q: It also states in your profile that you are an attorney. How do you find time to blog around your professional career? Would you like to make a career around your blog and/or blogging if you haven’t already, or is Scott's Tip Of The Day something you might like to make a career out of someday?
A: Being an attorney is pretty time consuming. Sometimes I have more time to blog than others. Sometimes I am feeling very creative and other times I have writer's block. These variables definitely shape how often I write and how much I write in each entry. If you love something, you will find time to do it. I have friends who work during the day, go to school for their M.B.A. at night and still find time to go out for dinner and drinks with me in-between. If they can do that, I can post a blog entry every now and then.
If I could build a career around my blog, I would. I don't know how realistic that is. Advertisers definitely aren't spending as much money selling ads as they were before the economy tanked. I would have a long way to go before I got to that point. I have a great deal of respect for Shit My Dad Says. He turned his tweets into a book. Now there is a show based on his website starring William Shatner! Crazy! If I ever had the opportunity to do something like that I would. I have been toying with the idea of writing fiction and/or a screenplay or two. Not really blog-related, but I can't imagine having more fun than writing for a living.
Q: How important is the comments section/readership numbers to you? Is this blog up and running for fun, and your own personal enjoyment, or is this something that you only find gratification in when you know other people are reading? That said, have you become discouraged and have you ever considered giving up your blog because you thought no one cared/read? If so, how did you overcome those feelings?
A: I think all creative people want to be recognized for their work. I think most performers, writers, entertainers do what they do because something inside them compels them. I think it's something they feel they have to do. But I also think there's a part of these people that seeks third party approval. I would be lying if I said my readership/comments numbers weren't important to me. I put effort into the blog and it's definitely gratifying when I receive a positive feedback.
There have been times when I thought my blog peaked. Before I was selected as a Blog of Note my readership had kind of plateaued. Even so, I still had people reading my blog regularly and they enjoyed it... and I enjoyed writing it. So I wasn't that discouraged, but I had accepted the fact it was probably never going to be huge. It felt really great to be chosen as a Blog of Note and now I am inspired to up my game. I can be better. My blog can be better. I'm going to use this as motivation to take my blog up a level.
Q: How important do you think a name can be when beginning one’s own blog? Did you have designed-minded ideas when you came up with the name of your blog or was it something that all fell together in place? That said, how important do you think a blog’s design is? Is the use of things such as videos and photos essentials to the success of a blog, or do you believe good writing is the key?
A: Name/Format is very important. I wanted to come up with something unique. I asked myself what I thought I could put together that was appealing to the reader but not on a scale so large that I realistically couldn't tackle updating it regularly. I figured OK, I use at least one picture for every post and I make it a tip of the day. I keep the format simple and consistent so people can read it easily and relate to it. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, Stupid. That's the best advice I can give. Being witty and clever never hurt either.I think using pictures or video is important but don't have to use it to excess. It's quality not quantity. I want to grab the reader's attention but I don't want to distract him from the focus of my blog entry. It's a balancing act. I write a humor blog, though. If I was a painter and I had a blog on painting, I might be giving different advice.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: One favorite movie? I'm a film buff. I have way too many. Here are a few obscure ones I would recommend checking out, though:
- "The Lives Of Others"
- "City of God"
- "Le Professionnel"
- "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"
Q: Favorite food?
Q: Favorite television show?
A: A few: "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Eastbound and Down," "Life and Times of Tim," "Family Guy," "Peep Show" and "Louie."
Q: When you are not working or blogging, what do you enjoy doing the most?
A: I DJ for fun. I spin house music. I also love going to New York Yankees Games, exploring New York City and good food & drink with good friends.
Q: What’s your favorite blog?