Friday, June 6, 2008

My 45 Minutes of Fame – From a Humble Blog

If Andy Warhol was correct - that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes" – I’m multiplying by three this week. Though this posting won’t be about my typical subjects, I know that a lot of my readers are fellow garden bloggers. It’s looking like writing is starting to expand my landscape architectural business considerably, so perhaps this bit of recent history will encourage some of you to expand your blogging talents in the pursuit of a higher profile writing endeavor.

I just got my third writing gig, this time for an eclectic on-line publication that caters to our little paradise of Santa Barbara. is a collection of local news stories, goofy contests, pet of the week stories, photo galleries, and special events coverage for my home town. Just who Ed is remains a mystery, but the misty legend continues to be a source of mystery for well-funded researchers.

I started this Garden Wise Guy blog just over a year ago, in May, 2007. Part of my motivation was to increase my consulting work and thanks to blogger Susan Harris at GardenRant, I realized that I was actually a garden coach. I was pretty much done with full-service landscape architectural services and needed to cultivate a more light-footed approach. Blogging seemed like a great was to do some guerilla marketing with zero dollar outlay.

About the same time, my Garden Wise Guys TV-show partner, Owen Dell, and I became the subject of Coastal Woman magazine, a regional publication geared toward entrepreneurial women. Owen and I were featured as “The Men We Love” (strictly platonic). We had an absolute blast during the interview with writer Nancy Shobe. After getting a few blog posts under my belt, I asked Nancy for a critique of my blog.

Lo and behold, she told me that the publisher of Coastal Woman had been considering a garden column and suggested I get in touch with her. Two e-mails later, I was writing “The Garden Coach” in exchange for advertising. 800 words of clever landscaping advice in exchange for thousands of eyeballs viewing my ad seemed like a no-brainer. The phone started ringing and jobs were coming my way.

Meanwhile, Owen, who’s even busier than I am, referred another local magazine publisher to me. Santa Barbara Homeowner is a mostly-advertising mag that’s direct-mailed to select zip codes in our area, offering materials and services for (you’ll never guess) homeowners. “Could you give me 1000 words every two months? Something that help people tackle their own landscape projects? And have fun with it.” said James Kappen, publisher. So far, I’ve tackled the topic of the role of color in the landscape, how to figure out the best landscape style for your home, and a few other subjects. I get a half-page ad and, again, the phone’s been ringing. Great, adventurous clients, too!

Yesterday, Edhat launched my first article. It’s just a quick “hello, this is who I am, here’s what I’ll be writing about.” But Ed has quite a tolerance for tall tales, bizarre facts and tongue-in-cheek satire. I think I’m up to it. My reward? A banner ad and links to my blog and business web site.

The challenge is finding three “voices” for three very different audiences. Needless to day, I’ve been spending some time at the local independent bookstore browsing and buying books about writing. We’ll see if it rubs off on my blogging.

So pop by a few of the sites and think about how blogging can not only link you to a world of amazing people, but put a few bucks in your bank account without having to sell vitamin supplement ads at your site.


Ewa said...

Billy ;)
It looks soon you will be more writing that landscaping - both is fun actually - isn't it?
Combining both seems perfect for me :)

kate smudges said...

That is so cool, Billy! Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Your new audiences will love you!