In the middle of 2007, I was interviewed by Stephane Grenier for his book, Blog Blazers. The book came out this week, and it’s a nice resource for understanding the approach top bloggers take to their trade. (Examples of interviews include Seth Godin, Steve Rubel, and JD Roth.)

I am publishing my own interview here, with a few tweaks. And I talk a lot about how to have a successful blog.

But my favorite thing about this interview is that it captures a moment in time: when I was blogging full time and making six-figures. I had just sold equity in my blog and was about to spin off my company, Brazen Careerist. My days were spent in a coffee shop, interviewing people about their ideas, and blogging.

It sounds like a great life, and in fact, it was nice. I didn’t realize it was great though. I was in marriage counseling, not making good progress. And I was anxious that I was not doing enough with my blog. I wanted to do better in everything.

And that’s the instructive part, to me: That there were a lot of good things about what was going on at that time, but I didn’t focus on them. I focused on what I wanted next.

So, as I publish this post today, I remind myself to be happy about what feels good, right now, instead of focusing on what I want to change right now. Wherever we are in life, we have those two, separate lists, and we can choose which to focus on at any given time. Here’s three cheers for choosing the happy list for a day.

Stephane
What makes a blog successful according to you? Is it traffic, reach, revenue, etc?

Penelope
It helps you to reach your goals— either career or personal.

Stephane
When did you decide you finally reached success with your blog?

Penelope
I love blogging, and I am able to support my family doing it. So on some level, success is being able to support my family doing something I love. On another level, I am redefining success constantly, because once I reach a goal, I set a higher goal.

Stephane
How long does it take to become a successful blogger?

Penelope
I'm sure it's different for each person. Each person has different goals, different definitions of success.

Stephane
Who do you think are the most successful bloggers on the Internet today?

Penelope
The people who are using their blog to reach their goals.

Stephane
Which five blogs do you regularly read?


Penelope

Guy Kawasaki's blog
Lifehacker
Get Rich Slowly
Employee Evolution
TechCrunch

Stephane
Which websites would you recommend for any new bloggers stating to blog?

Penelope
ProBlogger

Stephane
Which book(s) would you recommend for new bloggers (these can range from marketing books, blogging books, etc)?

Penelope
The Sensual Woman
. I read it when I was a kid and I was trying to figure out what sex was. I didn't really understand—at that point—why people would even want to have sex. But what I did understand was that if you were your real self, and just did what felt right, you would meet the definition of “good in bed.” And then, very quickly, I realized that this book applied to everything in life—just be your true self and people will see that you enjoy yourself and they will see the true you and whoever you are, seeing that will be interesting. I think a lot of bloggers are scared to be their true selves on their blog, but so much of blogging is about the blogger's personality. So people should read this book—to understand how fundamental it is to just be yourself.

Stephane
What is your most successful blog post ever?

Penelope
Well, success is a tough thing to define, but the post about my first day of marriage counseling got me in a front-page article in the New York Times and the post became a feature for a British women’s magazine and my Google rank for the term “marriage counseling” is an SEO dream.

Stephane
What's your biggest tip on writing a successful blog post?

Penelope
Find a very popular topic and then write at the very edge of that topic. If you write in the center, that's where everyone else is and it will be hard to present something that is unique. If you write at the edge, and throw in stuff not totally related to your topic area, then both you and your readers will find surprise in that intersection of the new stuff and your topic.

Stephane
What’s your best advice in regards to content and writing for bloggers?

Penelope
Keep writing.

Stephane
How important do you think are the headlines of your blog articles?

Penelope
Very important. It's how people decide if they will read or not.

Stephane
What are your main methods of marketing your blog?

Penelope
Write good posts. Joint the online conversation that is bigger than my blog.

Stephane
Which marketing tactic has surprised you the most in terms of its effectiveness?

Penelope
Being nice. A blog is a conversation, not a soapbox. So when I engage my readers, and when I talk with other bloggers, via their blogs, people really respond in a positive way.

Stephane
Do you make any direct money from your blog through advertising, product placements, etc?

Penelope
Yes. I earn a six-figure income from my blog.

Stephane
What is your best monetization method (Ads, affiliate marketing, etc).

Penelope
I sell my blog posts to print and online publishers.

Stephane
Do you find you get more from direct monetization of your blog or from opportunities that come because of the existence of your blog?

Penelope
I think that long-term, the blog opens a lot of doors that are new career opportunities more than direct dollar income.

Stephane
What's your most interesting story related to your blog and blogging experience?

Penelope
I try harder in marriage counseling because so many people are reading about my counseling experience on my blog.

Stephane
What's the one biggest opportunity that came to you because of your blog?

Penelope
I sold equity in my blog and spun off a separate company.

Stephane
Any other comments or thoughts you’d like to share?

Penelope
I don't think people should look at blogging as a money making venture. Every few people can make money off a blog. But blogging opens tons of doors”?via networking, especially, because bloggers have access to people they would not otherwise get access to. Blogging is a great way to build a career if you know what you want from your career. This doesn't necessarily mean that blogging itself is a great career. It's probably best as a means to create stability in one's career by getting to the top of one's field. I think bloggers in general are smart, dedicated, and exceptionally well-informed. Blogging takes a ton of time, so most people are blogging about career-related stuff because that's the only area that is worth the time commitment. So it makes sense that bloggers would be great hires, and blogging, therefore, will help people to get to the top of their field.