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Cliff Mintz of Bio Insights Inc. [LexBlog Q & A]

January 14, 2008

To start off the new week, we’ve got an interview today with LexBlog client Cliff Mintz.

Cliff, a New Jersey-based management consultant who founded the biopharmaceutical placement & training firm BioInsights Inc., is an expert in his extremely specific field. At Cliff’s Bio Job Blog, he has used that expertise to carve out a powerful niche in the blogosphere.

In our brief chat last week, Cliff described his blogging habits, the biopharmaceutical industry’s presence on the web, and more.

1.Rob La Gatta: What compelled you to enter the blogosphere in the first place? Did you have a specific goal in mind, or was it just an interest in experiencing new media firsthand?

Cliff Mintz: I decided to do it because I recognized the potential for developing a platform for me to express what I was thinking about various topics, and also to promote myself [for] the possibility of getting involved in projects that otherwise would not come to me if I wasn’t out there on the web.

2.Rob La Gatta: Your blog is updated a lot. What compels you to continue posting so much new content? Do you set aside time for it, or do you just blog when you have a free minute?

Cliff Mintz: I do it because I’ve set personal goals for myself to try and build my brand – which is me. I know that content is king, and I know that in order to maintain my readership and grow my readership, I need to post things strategically that are consistent with my interests and consistent with [the] audience that I’ve cultivated.

I typically set aside at least an hour a day to blog, at least once or twice a day if I have the time. For example, today I just couldn’t do it, so I didn’t. But I check my stats all the time, and for the last week I’ve been running about 100 to 120 unique hits a day, whereas before the holidays I was running between 60 to 100. Something’s changed between then and now, where I’ve been able to increase my audience.

My goal is to try and do 1,000 unique hits a week, to get to – within a year – 5,000 unique hits a month, [keeping] in mind that once I get on the radar, there may be other [doors] that open for me, with regard to syndication or other opportunities.

3.Rob La Gatta: What’s the biggest reward, either personal or professional, that you’ve experienced as a result of blogging?

Cliff Mintz:

Professionally, it gives me something to show people to show my work as a writer. Personally, I get to say what I want, uncensored (except that I have to censor myself from time to time).

It’s interesting to see that people will read what you have to say, and actually come back and read it again, and believe that what you’re saying is worthwhile. I guess both professionally and personally, it’s very rewarding to see that I’ve been able to [go] from essentially zero hits a day to up to over 100 a day. Which means that at least 100 people have stumbled across my blog…which I think is pretty cool, because I’m not a high profile guy.

4.Rob La Gatta: Is the bioscience industry well-represented in the blogosphere?

Cliff Mintz: There are a number of publications. The Wall Street Journal runs [their] Health Blog, and the [New Jersey] Star-Ledger runs something called Pharmalot. And there are various other blogs…if you look at my blogroll, its kind of representative of what’s out there.

There are a number of investment blogs that are related to bioscience, there are patent-business blogs about bioscience…it’s fairly well represented. But [not] with regard to what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to create a niche for myself within the scope of bioscience, and focus primarily on career development, jobs, layoffs, gossip that relates to employment, that kind of stuff. Everybody else writes about what’s going on in the world of biotech everyday. I can’t compete with the Wall Street Journal Health Blog…or Pharmalot, [which has] got a dedicated reporter who’s worked at the Star Ledger for 10 years, reporting…that’s his job all day, to post stories. I don’t do that full-time; I just do it my spare time.

4a. Rob La Gatta: Do you think that it’ll grow, that more blogs similar to yours will pop up in coming years?

Cliff Mintz: I don’t know if more blogs like mine will come up, because I don’t think that there are many people out there that possess my skill set or knowledge of the industry. There are blogs that deal with the business side, blogs that deal with the science side, and then there are other blogs that are totally unrelated to bioscience that deal with recruitment, career development and stuff. [But] I’ve sort of identified a niche where I bring together the science, the scientists and the employment opportunities in one place.

I kind of view myself as the only place to go for scientists to really get an accurate picture of the types of jobs that they ought to be thinking about and where to go to get the jobs. I intentionally did that because nobody was in that space, and that’s sort of the space I evolved into personally.

5.Rob La Gatta: What do you know now about the art of blogging that you wish you’d known when you first started?

Cliff Mintz: I’ve learned:

  • that tagging is critical;
  • that controversy and inflammatory, gossipy stuff really gets people to your blog;
  • and that the flexibility of the platforms that are out there are not as flexible as I would like them to be. […] I’m sure if you have an understanding of how to write code, you probably could get really innovative and creative. But I don’t know that, and that’s sort of been one of my limitations on the ability to grow my blog or expand my audience rapidly.

Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:

Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.

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