Jason Alba shares his entrepreneurial journey through JibberJobber.com
“I thought I was a career expert, but I think expert is overused, cliche and a title easily given out – so I took the easy road and now refer to myself as a career management evangelist.” – Jason Alba
Jason Alba, founder of JibberJobber.com, has a background in IT and business strategy. He began his first blog in June 2006 as a self proclaimed “career expert.” However, within a month of launching his new business he was laid off from his full time job. So, he began blogging full time about his own experiences, ideas and lessons learned from his own career mismanagement. Within a short period of time he was considered a thought leader in the career space.
Mequoda – How many blogs are you currently writing for?
JA – At least five – most of them mine.
Mequoda – Which CMS (ie: WordPress, Typo) are you using?
JA – WordPress.org
Mequoda – Are you blogging for your company as part of your job (ie corporate) or is this a personal passion?
JA – It started out as my only affordable marketing tactic – I had plenty of time and no money, and blogging just seemed to make sense. Now that I have much less time I still make it a priority and try to write daily for my main blog (JibberJobber.com/blog). I don’t do any blogging as a personal passion (unless you say being addicted to blogging is a “personal passion” :p)
Mequoda – Has your blog enhanced your professional reputation? How?
JA – Yes, absolutely – because of the blog I’ve gotten paid speaking and consulting gigs, have been referenced and referred to in other blogs and traditional media, etc. My blog was my main marketing tactic for over a year and it was a critical, essential component of creating my business and professional brand in a somewhat noisy space (which has only become more noisy with time).
Mequoda – How often do you post a new blog?
JA – On JibberJobber I take off holidays and weekends but otherwise try and post once a day. On my LinkedIn blog I try and post 2 – 3 times a week but have been known to miss weeks at a time. On my other blogs I post when I feel like it, hopefully once or twice a month.
Mequoda – Who is your target audience?
JA – Each of my blogs has their own target audience – hence, the multiple blogs. My JibberJobber blog gets readers who are in transition (that means laid off and looking for a new job), career experts, and people who are concerned about career management. My LinkedIn blog will get more corporate readers (those not worried about their jobs, but interested in unraveling LinkedIn). My JasonAlba.com/blog is more entrepreneurs who can accompany my journey of entrepreneurship and relate to what I talk about, and the other blogs have started more as an SEO play… we’ll see where that goes.
Mequoda – What are you doing to grow your audience and to create customer loyalty?
JA – Blogging regularly, with added-value content that users can appreciate. I sometimes address tough, unspoken issues, and other times I build confidence and share common-sense ideas a-la-Seth-Godin. I like to share ideas my readers put in comments in a new blog post as I think that highlights their expertise and is a gesture of thanks to them for taking the time to comment. I also reply back to almost every comment people leave.
Mequoda – How are using social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) to promote your blog? Has that changed the way you blog?
JA – Twitter is the one that gets the most traffic to my blog… but the interesting thing is that I get a fair amount of comments from a blog post on Facebook (my posts become Notes in Facebook) than anywhere else. It’s really quite amazing how disjointed the conversation can get – which is unfortunate for the readers. I like to use LinkedIn Answers when appropriate to repurpose a blog post and take the idea/question to that audience. All of these social sites are part of what I call a comprehensive/complementary social marketing strategy – the blog is not alone, but I will say, it is the anchor of my social strategy.
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Mequoda – What is your main source of revenue: ads, sponsorships, products sales, donations?
JA – My blog is used to feed other revenue drivers – for example, the speaking and consulting. JibberJobber is a subscription site with an optional upgrade, which is why I blog so frequently there – to drive more subscriptions… so my blog is not necessarily driving revenue on its own, it supports other revenue streams. I have earned thousands of dollars in advertising and affiliate relationships, but that is not a focus of my current business.
Mequoda – Approximately what percentage of your overall revenue comes from product sales vs. advertising/sponsorships or other sources?
JA – Since I developed the DVD “LinkedIn For Job Seekers” (LinkedInForJobSeekers.com) I’ve found a significant amount of revenue coming from that product alone…. I’d say less than 5% has come from ads and affiliates, 30% from the DVD, and the remainder from speaking, consulting and JibberJobber upgrades.
Mequoda – What is you main source of referrals?
JA – Right now it is either people coming directly to JibberJobber.com/blog (probably JibberJobber users), then newsletters and other bloggers (word of mouth), then Google searches, then Twitter.
Mequoda – What key metrics do you monitor to analyze the health of your business?
JA – It has changed over the years – regarding my blog I monitor the direct traffic (and changes in traffic) and subscriptions to blog post via feedblitz.
Mequoda – How many sites have you linked to in the last 30 days?
JA – Hmm, that’s something I used to care about and monitor but I’ve kind of not worried about that for a while… in the early months of my business I would spend about 4 hours a day doing what I called “blog marketing” and this was one of the key metrics I measured – but I guess that is one of those metrics I don’t worry about as much anymore. BTW, I recorded a webinar called “Blog Marketing 201 – 501” that shares in two hours what I did during those 4 hours each day…. one of my favorite webinars to date 🙂 You can find it at JibberJobber.com/CEO.
Mequoda – What changes have you seen in your market since you began blogging?
JA – There are a lot more bloggers in my space, and new bloggers in niches of my space that people weren’t even talking about 3 years ago. There is a lot of noise, and more bots and automated junk posts. This is probably the biggest change I’ve seen. Aside from that, where the conversation happens is dramatically different – before I would get comments solely on my blog, where now I might get 20% of the conversation in blog comments and the rest on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Mequoda – Any interesting experience you’d like to share?
JA – One time, because of my blog marketing strategy, I had a blogger write about and recommend JibberJobber on her blog, which ended up in her newspaper column, which ended up on Yahoo Finance, and finally for a few hours on the front page of Yahoo.com. That was a fantastic, measurable experience that proved how important it is to develop relationships with bloggers – you never know where it could go!
Mequoda – What advice would you give a new blogger?
JA – Oh I have lots of advice! The first two is to (a) stay on brand (know what your brand is), and (b) blog frequently – not just for SEO but to develop a loyal community!
Mequoda – What ways are you planning to expand over the next year?
JA – I would like to blog more frequently on all of my blogs, and start to do some of the blog marketing that I did early in my business.
Mequoda – Is there anything you’d like to share?
JA – Blogging is not a silver bullet, and for many it won’t produce much revenue. I love the idea of having multiple products that you can monetize and pointing your readers to your own stuff… I would suggest you understand how blogging fits into your overall business and marketing strategy and then get to work!
In addition to writing for his blogs, Jason has authored the book I’m On LinkedIn, Now What??? Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn and created the DVD: LinkedIn For Job Seekers.
If you’d like to learn more about career management, check out JibberJobber.com.