The March 2009 Blogger in the Spotlight is Michael Panzner of Financial Armageddon and When Giants Fall: Economic Roadmap

Blogger in the Spotlight is a monthly series where Newstex turns the spotlight on our publishers with in-depth interviews that give you a glimpse into the stories, tips and secrets of successful bloggers and content producers. 

This month’s interview is with Michael Panzner who is a 25-year veteran of the global stock, bond, and currency markets and has worked in New York and London for such leading companies as HSBC, Soros Funds, ABN Amro, Dresdner Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase.  He is also the author of several books about the finance industry and business.

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Newstex: How did you get started writing your current blog?

Michael Panzner: Actually, I have two blogs, Financial Armageddon (www.financialarmageddon.com), which I created in December 2006, and When Giants Fall (www.economicroadmap.com), which I began in November 2008. I began both sites as a way of elaborating upon, adding to, and highlighting the material contained in my second and latest books, which have, respectively, the same names.

Newstex: What makes your blog unique?

Michael Panzner: First, I try to highlight news and other developments that help clarify why we are at a uniquely unsettled point in our nation’s history. I also use my 25 years of Wall Street experience to offer an informed perspective on financial and economic matters — one that is free of the hype and spin that often colors Wall Street and mainstream media commentary.

Newstex: To what do you attribute your blog’s success?

Michael Panzner: I think it boils down to four things:

  • Hhaving a coherent and compelling vision and presenting it in way that is both interesting and informative;
  • Understanding who your audience is; 
  • Being consistent; and
  • Relying on all the tools available to bloggers, as well as your own promotional efforts, to get the word out about your site.

Newstex: What are the top 3 tips you can give to bloggers looking to develop successful blogs?

Michael Panzner:

  1. Appealing presentation. If a blog is visually unattractive, or if there are serious grammar or spelling mistakes, that can be a turn-off for many readers — even those who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
  2. Consistently fresh content. As long as the quality is there, the more you write, the better your odds of attracting a growing audience. Regardless of how often you blog, however, you should try to maintain a pattern that readers can become comfortable with, instead of, say, writing one post this week and 20 next week.
  3. Making a serious effort. It’s one thing to write a blog that serves as a semi-private diary satisfying your own needs. But when you want to develop a following, you have to work hard at blogging. I spend many hours a week, for example, trying to uncover interesting articles and perspectives that my readers might not know about.

Newstex: What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your work on your blog?

Michael Panzner: Both my two blogs have helped to broaden the audience for my books and my insights, and they have enhanced my standing as an honest, knowledgeable, and rational expert when it comes to economic and financial matters.

Newstex: What inspires you to keep blogging?

Michael Panzner: I enjoy having a platform for my ideas and perspectives — not to mention the fact that I have been able to significantly expand the audience for my books and other writings. As an added plus, I carry advertising on my site, and that provides me with some additional compensation.
 
Newstex: What are your favorite blogs and why?

Michael Panzner: I have many favorites — indeed, on my two sites, I have links to more than 200 other blogs. That said, some of those I like best are quite popular as it is, including The Big Picture (http://www.ritholtz.com/), Naked Capitalism (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/), Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis (http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/), and Calculated Risk (http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/). In my view, each of those bloggers “speaks” with a captivating voice and has plenty of interesting things to say.

Newstex: What effects do you think blogging will have on traditional media?  How about on your industry?

Michael Panzner: I don’t know if blogging will ever replace the mainstream media — in fact, many of the stories that form the “kernel” of the posts on my site come from newspapers, magazines, portals, etc. However, as far as economic and financial matters go, I think my peers and I have helped to keep reporters and editors on their toes and focused attention on the issues that really matter.

Newstex: At what point did you decide to syndicate your blog with Newstex and why?

Michael Panzner: I went in this direction early on, because I thought it represented one more avenue for broadening my audience and enhancing my standing as an expert on a variety of economic and financial matters. Of course, the fact that I get additional compensation for earlier creative efforts is the icing on the cake.

Newstex: What’s next for you and your blog?

Michael Panzner: My goal is to keep providing the kind of content that people want to read so I can further expand my audience and leverage those gains in a variety of ways.