There are few fields in which reputation matters more than in the blogosphere. In an industry littered with bloggers looking to make a cheap buck, and the dying print industry insisting that blogging isn’t “real” journalism, it’s up to the individual blogger to disprove the stereotype by insisting on a stellar product, a fair price, an honestly moderated comment board, and a gimmick-free Web site.
Here are seven reasons why a blogger’s reputation can make or break their career.
Word Travels Fast
With the huge number of blogs out there, it may be hard to believe, but the blogosphere is a very small fraternity. Once the rumor mill gets turning, bloggers — who are plugged into blogs about blogging — can bolster or burst the reputations of their contemporaries without breaking a sweat.
That’ll Leave a Mark
Despite the enormous number of firms dealing in reputation control, the Internet comes with a fair amount of permanence. Statements on the Web are written in permanent marker, and sometimes — no matter how hard you scrub — the stain never truly comes out.
The Domino Effect
Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, and if some people are talking, the rest are going to want to join in. When a sewing circle gets together to discuss your blog’s attributes — or shortcomings — those who might not have been inclined to start a discussion will be willing to join one already in progress.
Those Previously Scorned Get a Voice
If a blogger thinks you stole their work, or a customer thinks they’ve been ripped off, they might not have had the time or resources to pursue a complaint, but if your name is getting kicked around, they’ll want to get a foot in on your head. Sometimes people who feel cheated need nothing more than to vent, and you don’t want a message board with your name in the subject where the third or fourth comment begins with, “You think YOU had a bad experience…”
Your Blog Is Your Baby
Your blog isn’t your job or your hobby; it’s your baby. You birthed it, nurtured it, nursed it when it was sick. Now that it’s up and running, there is essentially nothing — certainly not a few bucks or a page or two of content — that is worth throwing it all away.
You Might Not Get Another Chance
Your blog is the foundation on which your future empire will be built. When you attempt to expand, you will be expanding on the foundation you’re laying with this blog, right now. It’s a foundation that must be sturdy, solid, and built on an impeccable reputation.
Reputation Is Credibility
Just as no bank wants to loan money to someone who doesn’t pay their bills, your blog’s rep is its credit report, and no partner is going to want to get into bed with you if it means soiling their good name. You’ll want good people around you when you grow in the future, and that won’t be possible if you aren’t known among the good people as one of their own.
If you’re a blogger, your online reputation is your only reputation. It must be guarded and nurtured, because without it, you have everything to lose.