Secrets to blogging fame from Julie Powell
Powell found more than an outlet with her “Julie & Julia Project.” You can too.
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She was just looking for an escape from a series of dead end jobs that had put a damper on her dreams of becoming a writer.
But Powell found more than an outlet with her “Julie & Julia Project.”
Her blog became a memoir, “Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” which was later, “Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously,” which then became a movie — “Julie & Julia” opening Aug. 7 with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams as stars. (The movie is also based on Child’s “My Life in France.”)
“I had no idea what it was going to do for me when I started,” Powell said of her blog, which she started in 2002 at age 29. “It was really sort of a personal project to cut out a piece of my daily existence, purely for me, that gave me a creative outlet so the rest of my life didn’t seem so stultifying.”
Few bloggers will come close to Powell’s success, say blog experts, especially considering there are 133 million blogs afloat on the Web, according to blog search engine Technorati, which has kept track since 2002.
Even Powell admits what happened to her was serendipitous — she was “at the right place at the right time.” The blogosphere was a much smaller place seven years ago, making it easier for frustrated secretaries like herself and fans of Child to stumble upon it. A write-up in The New York Times helped land her the book deal.
“It’s such a challenge to keep up a blog now,” said Powell. She considers herself someone who blogs occasionally as opposed to a blogger. “It requires a great deal of rigor, discipline, a real stick-to-it-ness.”
Most people are not starting a blog to find stardom, according to Jennifer McLean of Technorati. According to Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report, top reasons are self-expression and sharing expertise, followed by networking and gaining entry into the media world. Other reasons include activism, book publicity, personal satisfaction and to become known as an expert.
PerezHilton.com had about 2.7 million unique visitors in June, according to marketing research company comScore, Inc. Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits (zenhabits.net) had considerably fewer at 113,000, but he’s one of the most influential bloggers out there, said McLean. He is also the author of “The Power of Less: the fine art of limiting yourself to the essential...in business and in life.”
Dooce.com, the blog for stay at home mom Heather B. Armstrong had about 76,000. Armstrong is also the author of “It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita,” published earlier this year.
People may not find Hilton or Powell fame, “but it is amazing to see how many bloggers do become quite well known within the niches that they write about,” Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger.net, a blog with tips for bloggers, said in an e-mail. “Blogging certainly has the ability to help you grow your profile, but it’s usually within an industry or topic.”
Rowse, who started blogging seven years ago to collect his thoughts and connect with others, said success really depends on why someone started a blog.