Blogging Trends: Found Content

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One of the current trends in blogging is found content.  Found content bloggers base the majority of their posts on content the site owners have found themselves (oftentimes online), as well as content submitted by fans of the sites.

Some of the blogs mentioned in this post contain content some readers may find offensive–these blogs are used for illustrative purposes only and their content is not condoned by Evohosting, nor does it reflect the opinions or beliefs of Evohosting.

Found content blogs focus on a wide range of topics, from cakes and crafts, to profile pictures and angry emails.  Lamebook uses status updates, pictures, and profiles from Facebook submitted by fans to generate the majority of their content, while most of the blog posts on Regretsy are based on images and product descriptions from Etsy found by the site’s administrators.  Cake Wrecks, a blog devoted to cake decorating disasters (and successes), showcases photos found by the site owners, as well as pictures sent in by fans of the blog; Passive Aggressive Notes is a blog comprised of funny, angry, and downright bizarre notes and emails submitted to the site by its admirers.

While found content blogs are mainly for entertainment purposes, the owners of successful found content blogs can earn money from ad revenue.  Found content bloggers use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with their fans and attract visitors to their sites.  Social networking is a great way for bloggers to let their followers know they’ve added new content to their blog, which helps increase the number of people who regularly visit the site.  Social networking sites also make it easy for fans of found content blogs to share posts with their friends, making them a  very important tool for bloggers.  While Twitter and Facebook help found content bloggers reach a wider audience, content is still king.  The majority of popular found content blogs add new posts multiple times a week, and in some cases, multiple times a day.

Some found content bloggers have even found success in publishing:  Texts From Last Night, Regretsy, and Cake Wrecks all have books available online and in stores, some of which have been remarkably successful.  In addition to ad revenue and publishing royalties, many found content bloggers, including Regretsy and Texts From Last Night, earn money through the sale of merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, mouse mats, and tote bags featuring images and text familiar to loyal fans of the sites.

While some found content bloggers use their websites to earn a living, April Winchell from Regretsy donates her publishing royalties, ad revenue, and profits from merchandise sales to various charities.  At the time of this blog post, Regretsy has raised over $51,000 for organisations like Toys for Tots, The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and Tails of Joy.  While Regretsy is considered to be altruistic by its fans and the charities it supports, there are a number of people who believe the site does more harm than good.

Regretsy often criticises and mocks items and product descriptions from Etsy:  many of the Etsy users take the criticism in stride, with some of them claiming that their store’s traffic and sales increased as a result of being featured on Regretsy; other users aren’t happy about finding their work on Regretsy, and the administrators regularly receive angry emails from people responsible for the items and descriptions featured in the site’s blog posts.  April Winchell, the owner of Regretsy, handles the negative feedback well, and has even dedicated an entire page of the site to the hate mail she receives.

Regretsy isn’t the only found content blog some people would like to see shut down:  Lamebook is currently trying to raise $50,000 to fight legal action taken by Facebook.  With an excellent Alexa Rank, Lamebook is one of the most popular found content blogs around, and fans of the site have helped them raise over half of the money they need for their defense.  Still, Lamebook is going up against a multi-billionaire dollar company, which probably has the owners and their counterparts concerned about the future of found content blogs.

If you’re interested in starting a found content blog, then we recommend the following:

  • Write about found content you find amusing or interesting.
  • As most successful found content bloggers publish posts multiple times a week, and sometimes multiple times a day, your blog’s concept should ensure you have a seemingly infinite amount of content.
  • Find out if anyone else is already blogging about your chosen found content.
  • Be aware of and prepared for any legal action that may be taken against you.
  • Depending on the nature of your found content blog, you may anger or upset some people.  Be prepared for this, and determine how you will handle criticism and hate mail.
  • Choose a name and purchase a domain name for your site (beware of trademark infringement).
  • Use a blogging application such as WordPress to create your site.
  • Marketing is an important part of successful blogging, so create a logo for your blog.
  • Create a Twitter account and Facebook page for your site.
  • Start finding content and writing posts.
  • Use social networking to gain visitors to your site, and make sure you feature links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts prominently on your site.
  • Use a plugin that enables your sites visitors to share your posts with others.
  • Allow visitors to submit content to you, just in case you have days where you can’t find anything to write a post about.
  • If your blog becomes popular, consider selling ad space and merchandise.  Do not accept payment from anyone until you understand your tax liability for this income.

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