How To Create A Compelling Blog
The challenge Grantland faces, I think, is to convince readers that even though they might not be familiar with the subject of the piece, and even though it might take a serious chunk of time to read, itís consistently worth the investment. Very, very few publications have that kind of pull: the New Yorker for one kind of audience, the New York Review of Books for another. If Grantland can become the first web-native publication to pull that feat off, itíll be impressive.
As I wrote before, I really really like Simmons' work, but he's not going to produce that type of material, imo. His strengths, as I see them, are apparent in his column at espn.com and in his podcasts. Funny, quick and well paced. I do not think "30 for 30" is all that Simmons thinks it is. And it seems he might be going for a "30 for 30" vibe. In any event, Rosenberg does raise an interesting question - can longer form writing be successful commercially and creatively on the Web? Let's think about that on the flip.
Rosenberg's mention of The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books seems off base to me. Neither succeeds as a web publication, I don't think. Sure an occasional big story will break there, but they are not big web sites are they?
I think the blog format is different. I was a front page writer at daily kos from December 2004 to June 2006, and it was always my view that no matter what you put up, you needed to put up something new every hour. No matter what.
Sometimes we would write long form essays. Sometimes quick hits. Sometimes stuff in the middle. But always something new.
The New Yorker does not, and can not, do that. I'm not at all sure Simmons is capable of doing it either. He has a lot of his friends (and some of them are good) writing for the site. But none of them strike me as people who will be filling the page either.
Simmons has an amazing amount of Twitter followers, something like 1.5 million, and he tweets a lot. When something new pops on Grantland, Simmons will be sure to tweet it out as everyone seemingly does. But will that keep folks coming back? Mebbe for a while. But is it a viable long term strategy? I don't think so. At some point, the site will have to stand on its own.
Blogs that update at a slower pace are not going to be huge, no matter how big the marketing advantages. In my view, that is not the nature of the form.
I think Grantland is not likely to succeed. But I wish Simmons the best of luck.
Speaking for me only
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