Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogs That Work - Leo Adam Biga, Cultural Journalist

The best blogs serve a purpose greater than sharing miscellaneous tid bits about the blogger's day - they educate, inform, inspire, humor, enlighten - they share a unique perspective.

Today's Blog That Works spotlight shines on Leo Adam Biga, Omaha's most prolific award-winning cultural journalist. Biga's eclectic body of work spans from Omaha filmmaker Alexander Payne (Sideways; About Schmidt) to fashion and film making to Warren Buffett and just about everything in between. Rather than collect his published pieces in files, unexposed to new readers, Biga collected his published work and archived them on his blog. Why? To gain new readers and showcase his body of work to prospective clients.

Here's what Biga had to say:

"My blog is primarily intended as a showcase of my cultural journalism. I want the visitor to the site to experience it the way they would a gallery featuring my work. This exhibition or sampling quickly reveals my brand -- "I write stories about people, their passions, and their magnificent obsessions" -- as well as the scope of my work within that brand, which is quite broad and eclectic. The home page features 10 of my stories, each in their entirety, and those front page stories, which change every few days or weeks, consistently reflect the wide range of interests, subjects, and themes found on the blog. The blog is set up so that whether the visitor is on the home page or clicks on to any page featuring an individual story the entire inventory or index of stories on the blog is always accessible, organized by tags, categories, et cetera. Visitors can also search the site by using key words.

The blog is not monetized. So why do I repurpose my work in this way? Well, every writer likes to have his or her work read, therefore on one level I do it in order to find a new, perhaps larger audience for the stories. The blog is an excellent way for me to have an expanded Web presence. In addition to it, I have a LinkedIn site, a Google site, and a Facebook site, among others, most of them linked to each other. I also use the blog as a portfolio I refer contacts and prospective clients to."

And Leo tells me showcasing his body of work blog style has allowed those interested in hiring Biga for new writing gigs to get a good feel for his writing. He's received more offers to write than if he hadn't set up the blog as his massive online writing brochure.

Leo goes on to say, "The real satisfaction I suppose comes in having a public gallery of my work, even if it only is a small sampling of it, that I can refer or direct people to or that people can discover all on their own. In fact, it appears as if the vast majority of visitors to my site end up there by virtue of Web searches they do and their finding links to my blog as part of the search results that come up. Because I have so many stories out there on so many different topics my blog shows up as part of an endless variety of searches. It's also kind of fun to have people I wrote about, in some cases years ago, find stories I did about them and contact me, reliving old times or bringing me up to date with what they're doing today. "

Check out Leo's blog. There really is something for every reader.



  1. I'm so glad you featured Leo's blog. Much of the advice out there tells bloggers to rigidly focus on just one thing and only one thing. I find that awfully hard to do. It is completely contrary to my nature. It's good to see an example of a blog that successfully delves into a variety of topics yet has a cohesive feel to it. Maybe some day I'll get the hang of it.

  2. This is a(nother) great post. How do you know to cover exactly what I need to hear and see? Thanks!

  3. Thanks for this, Erin. I love the innovation that surrounds blogging lately. A blog can be so many things. Leo uses it as a portfolio of his work; others build interviews within the blog format (as you do, Erin); some have nurtured entire communities through blog comment sections; then there's the philosophy that a blog is a hub to other forms of social media, the list of possibilities in endless.

  4. Scheherezade, thank you. I think what's important to keep in mind with Leo's blog, though, is that he's focused his journalism career on cultural topics, which allows him to be eclectic. His blog is a gathering spot for all those pieces he's published and it's well organized by subject category. There's an art and organization to the wide variety of subject matter he writes about.

    In writing your blog, you should write what moves you, what you're feeling passionate about that day - but it should matter to your audience and like a book, it's best there's a thread that ties your pieces together. You can write about eclectic stuff - just make sure your voice is's the voice that attracts readers (at least this reader, anyway).

    @ Jennifer - thanks! I'm glad we're on the same wavelength!

    And Suzy, I agree, it's an exciting time for bloggers and writers, in general, to grow in their craft and build community on and offline. We're only going to watch this activity flourish...and be a part of it!

  5. I really like this idea of having a 'public gallery' for written pieces and a good blog can do this. In fact it's almost impossible to 'show' one's written work as a collection any other way. I appreciate too that while a blog can contain varied pieces, a cohesive theme or idea brings it all together. My own blog contains fiction, memoir, essays and journal entries (in the format of a pillow book) and sometimes I think the content is too diverse but one of my loyal readers picked up on the theme that my writing conjures the magical from the ordinary (my words). Is this theme enough, or is it too vague?


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