The August 2009 Blogger in the Spotlight is Jay from MarketFolly.com.

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 Jay, the author of Market Folly.  Jay has experience at a long/short equity hedge fund focused on intensive fundamental research.  Using his expertise in the area, he tracks hedge funds extensively on his blog.  He has degrees in both Economics and Communications and has been involved in financial markets for just under a decade.

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

Jay: I have been tracking hedge fund portfolios for many years and figured there were other people out there interested in the topic and decided to start posting up my findings.  It was an easy place to keep all my research and aggregate a nice timeline, so it was really convenient.

Newstex: What makes your blog unique?

Jay: I believe MarketFolly.com is unique because it fills a specific niche in the financial blogosphere.  We track 40+ hedge fund portfolios in-depth every single day and try to bridge the gap that is often present with the secrecy surrounding the hedge fund industry.

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

Jay: I think it is a combination of a couple things.  Firstly, a lot of people have complimented our content and I’m a big believer in the notion that if there is good content out there, people will spread it around.  Secondly, I think it can also be attributed to working hard to generate material on a daily basis.  I always ask myself, “would I want to read this today?”  It’s cliche but hard work is the key here.

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

Jay: First, pick a niche topic and become an expert on the subject.  Make sure it is something you like or are passionate about so you enjoy what you’re doing.  Secondly, pump out content on a daily basis.  It doesn’t matter how many posts you have, just as long as you’re doing something daily.  Thirdly, spread your content like wildfire.  Send it to friends and colleagues.  Post it on forums, comment on other blogs on your topic, etc.  Become visible and interact in order to spread the word.  Rinse and repeat.

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

Jay: I’ve met and interacted with some great people as a result of the blog.  Without the work I’ve done, I doubt I would have met or come across any of the people I’ve been able to forge relationships with.  It has been invaluable and a true delight.  One of those connections is with the guys over at Alphaclone where we’ve been able to create a hedge fund-esque MarketFolly custom portfolio that is seeing 25.8% annualized returns.  Their software ties directly into the portfolio tracking we do on our blog and the collaboration has been awesome.

Newstex: What inspires you to keep blogging?

Jay: Our hedge fund portfolio tracking series has gained such a big following that I can’t help but want to continue it.  I like being able to provide a resource that others find valuable.  It obviously helps that it’s a topic I’m passionate about and I’m constantly striving to be an expert in my niche.

Newstex: What are your favorite blogs and why?

Jay: I love a variety of blogs covering different topics in finance.  AbnormalReturns.com is a great compilation of daily finance links, Pragcap.com covers market analysis, Footnoted.org covers SEC filings in-depth like us, and ZeroHedge.com because they put out good content on a consistent basis.  There’s too many to list as my RSS reader is full of great reads.

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

Jay: I think it has forced traditional media to step up their game in terms of content.  There are so many blogs out there on so many different topics that it’s easy to find exactly what you are looking for.  Attention spans are short these days and people know what they want to read.  Traditional media has to always adapt and evolve to stay relevant and ‘mainstream’ with all the shifts in technology and the focus on real-time information.  Focusing just on finance, I think blogs have filled a niche by delivering true analytical content.  They’ve uncovered great stories and provided insightful commentary, especially during the crisis.  The authors know what readers want because they were (and are) a reader themselves.  Typically, they’re analysts or portfolio managers looking to present useful information whereas often times in traditional media it is journalists trying to masquerade as analysts.  There’s a difference in mindset there.

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

Jay: I decided to syndicate MarketFolly with Newstex many months ago as I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to put my content in front of more people.  And specifically, in front of people who had never seen or heard of my site before.  I’m always looking to grow my audience and expand my reach.

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

Jay: I’m just going to keep pumping out consistent content on a daily basis.  I’m in the middle of our hedge fund portfolio tracking series right now and we run that four times a year.  I’m also going to start focusing more on some of our hedge fund manager profiles as well as some more analytical pieces too.  I’d like to expand our coverage to detail more hedge funds and hopefully we can continue to give our readers content they find resourceful.

Thanks very much for the opportunity to do the interview!  Hope everyone enjoyed it and make sure to check us out at MarketFolly.com where we track hedge funds on a daily basis.