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5 Quick Questions with Robert Scoble: What Makes a Great Tech Blog?

Posted By Stacey Roberts 24th of November 2014 General 0 Comments

roberts scoble

Robert Scoble is the brains behind the blog Scobleizer (which he’s just abandoned in favour of solely microblogging on Facebook), and a well-respected authority on social media, tech, and blogging. He has worked for Microsoft, and is currently with Rackspace. We were super-fortunate to grab a few minutes of his time to answer five questions about how to make your tech blog a success.

What do you think are the essentials a tech blog should have in order to be successful?

Define success! For some, it might be just getting an industry discussion going. Others might want to build a media business to the place where they can quit their day job and do this full time.

In each, it really is simple: make content other people want to read, discuss, and share.

Of course, if that was so easy everyone would have a famous blog.

If I were starting out today I’d pick a niche that I could own that will get bigger over time. Today that might be Wearable Computers. Tomorrow? Brain interfaces or robots. These topics don’t yet have a blog that is dominant. It’s a lot easier to get going in a smaller niche that doesn’t yet have strong blogs.

What are the topics you’ve found really resonates with the readers? What seems to get the most engagement?

Drones. But, seriously, if you try writing about drones it’s too late. The trick is to find something that will be big tomorrow. If you had an exclusive insight into the Apple Watch, for instance (something that hasn’t yet been reported) that will do very well.

For newer bloggers, or those wanting to turn their tech blog into a business, what would you suggest focusing on first?

I would pick a small niche. Cover it to death. There’s no way you can really blow away Techcrunch, Verge, Re/code, in overall tech space unless you have millions of dollars. But, you can become the world’s leading drone (or brain interface, or robot, or wearable computer) expert and use that to edge your way into a business.

It really comes down to content. Do you have something that no one else has? Marques Brownlee, for instance, has a unique take on gadget reviews. Others focus on tech out of just a single country like China or Israel. Yet others, like Julien Blin, or Redg Snodgrass are trying to own the wearable space.

What is the hardest thing about being a tech blogger, and how have you worked to overcome that?

Sitting through all the pitches is the hardest thing. To find the next big thing you’ve probably got to see 150 so so companies. Maybe even more. I’ve been pitched in bathrooms (no no) and on the street at 2 a.m. at SXSW (also a no no). How do I overcome that? Always be nice, sit through a few minutes, and if you aren’t interested, say so and why. That said, most of the time now I only see things if referred by someone I trust.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given about blogging (or business in general?)

Be real. Don’t be corrupt, or better said, disclose conflicts. Dave Winer showed me the power of that more than a decade ago and it still serves me well today. It’s why I share so much of my private life. All you really have is your reputation. It’s why I work so hard on personal relationships with people across the industry.

What do you think? Have you experienced something that Robert has mentioned? I’d love to hear about it!

About Stacey Roberts
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.
Comments
  1. The beauty of technology blogging is blogging about what you already know in addition to learning more along the way in sharing that priceless knowledge with your readers. As technology virtually evolves overnight, it gives bloggers the opportunity to create compelling content about the forever changing tech world.

    Don’t you agree?

    • Yes, there is lots of content in tech industry, but much of it is over done. So, if you want to stand out you must dig up things that others aren’t seeing. Pretty tough, but easy to do if your job is to cover a niche.

  2. Having just started a tech blog, this post is worth a lot for me, bookmarking this one for future reference. Kudos Darren!

  3. I wish someone had given me this advice 3 years ago when I was starting out with my Tech blog. Because making a profit with a tech blog is a nightmare, especially if you’re starting alone and without a promotional plan.

    For newbies, best tip I can give them is to start as a team. Get together a small team of writers and update the blog everyday.

  4. Hi Stacey,

    So happy Robert kept it real with this interview ;) Seriously, that one piece of advice rings true across multiple niches. Keep it real. Be authentic. Our relationships make our blogs. Tech, blogging tips, travel, the niche matters not.

    I love telling my story, and maybe I overshare a bit at times – in a good way, nothing over the top here – but I intend to let people into my world. Which now, is me living in Bali, blogging from paradise. The spot changes over the months, but my successes, and failures, and my funny stories, and a bit crazier stories, and my sense of humor, well, it flows through my posts.

    I also dig owning a niche. Some former broke joke pier guard has a nice hold on the blogging from paradise niche – I think? ;) – and I feel the niche is growing, garnering some demand. I hope so at least. Flight tickets can be bought at discounts but aren’t that cheap :)

    Anyway, my goal was to tell my life story and I also intended to start a new niche. A blogging tips niche, dedicated to bloggers who are keen on doing the island hopping bit. So far, so good, methinks.

    Thanks Stacey! For sharing, of course, and for scoring an interview with a titanic techie!

    Ryan

  5. I think focusing on a few niches within the tech industry and combining that with reviews and tutorials is a killer way to build traffic and authority. People may care less about the talk and hype of certain tech but may be more interested in the practical application and how it can improve their lives.

    • Agreed with your point and this is exactly the idea behind m113bh tech blog. I don’t think it is a difficult market. We just need to be special and different from others.

  6. I’ve followed Robert for many years! I have always been amazed at how he just seems to *know* things that others don’t. The years I owned and ran MomGadget, I got so overwhelmed with pitches – some days it felt like I read until my eyes would bleed. I can’t even imagine being so well-known that people would pitch you in the bathroom. I still dabble in some things “techy” but I’ve learned to let my heart lead me in whatever direction it likes. I’ve been a much happier blogger since.

  7. Be real. Don’t be corrupt.

    Yeah, its damn true. Most of successful tech blogger is being themself and people love to read their opinion and review

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