Some bloggers dream of being a great blogger.
They’ve actually written for years but just recently started their own blog in hopes of gaining notoriety and an audience.
They’ve gained some popularity and a few steadfast followers. But, they’re still wondering how to reach that next level of blogging success. How do they do it — the big wigs out there, who get thousands of shares per post?
Are you in this spot, where you’re stuck getting to next-level with your blogs? Fortunately, I’ve got some tips for you.
What Makes for a Successful Blogger?
Blogging isn’t an easy field and there are several key differences that separate successful bloggers from unsuccessful bloggers. These differences range from concrete skills to an unwavering sense of dedication and perseverance. When days get tough and the audience seems nonexistent, these things make all the difference.
Successful bloggers have to possess a series of unique traits that make them resilient, dedicated, prolific, and pliable in their field. Additionally, they need to have enough solid knowledge and concrete training to master the more technical aspects of blogging, like grammar, web design, link building, blog structure, and SEO.
The 10 Major Strengths of a Really, Really Good Blogger
There are certain strengths that really good bloggers have that make them stand out in their field. I’ve made a list of what I believe to be the top 10 strengths of a good blogger. Read on to learn more:
1) Outstanding Copywriting Skills
Without great writing skills, it’s impossible to succeed as a blogger. In order to be popular and widely shared, content needs to be easily readable, intelligent, informative, and precise. Long, rambling, poorly written blogs don’t go anywhere and, most importantly, they don’t meet the needs of the reader. Great content is still the #1 way to boost search engine ranking and produce more engagement, interest and shares from readers.
Great content and solid writing skills are the foundation of any good piece. You can get shared on good content alone. A prime example is Tim Ferriss’s May 2015 blog post, which relies entirely on text and has produced a whopping 10,000 Facebook shares, 2,000 Twitter shares, and 922 comments.
Results like this prove that great content can still be text-based and that strong writers who don’t rely on images can still make a name for themselves in the world of copywriting and content marketing.
It’s not 100% enough to be a good writer, though. In order to carve out a real position in the world of blogging, bloggers need to be constantly willing to update their skills and learn new ones. This means attending conferences, learning from other bloggers, reading articles on SEO, and learning from reader feedback. In order to stay strong in the field, bloggers can’t afford to get comfortable.
2) The Ability to Connect with Other Bloggers
Blogging is a web-based community. That said, it’s tough to fancy yourself an island and continue to be successful in the blogosphere. In order to promote increased interaction, expand reach and strengthen skills, bloggers need to be willing to interact with other bloggers in their niche. This means tweeting, emailing, actually reading other people’s blogs and then (*gasp*) commenting on them – thoughtfully and from a place of genuine interest.
Networking is by far one of the most important skills in a blogger’s tool belt and, without it, it is unlikely that a blogger will ever be truly successful. One of the best ways to begin networking is to identify related blogs and ask to write a guest post. Guest posts offer benefits all around – they provide you with exposure, they provide the other site with unique, external content and they provide the other site’s readers with new information and a fresh perspective.
Additionally, guest posts can help produce high-quality external links to your site, which will in turn boost your site’s SEO ranking and help you climb through Google’s indexes.
3) The Ability to Engage with Followers
Once more – a blogger can’t exist as an island and the ability to engage and follow-up with readers is key to a blogger’s success. Encourage interaction with your blog by asking for comments at the end of every post and then, when readers do comment, take the time to respond.
Offering additional resources, personal interaction, further questions, or simply thanking your readers directly for their feedback will go a long way toward making your blog seem approachable and interactive, which will, in turn, drive increased reader interaction and shares.
Take Mark Manson, for example. Manson is and has always been great at engaging with his readers. Manson’s Twitter account provides a platform for tweets to and from any of his 32.6 thousand readers and each of Manson’s many blog posts offer interesting, funny content and two different ways for readers to interact with it.
At the end of each post, readers have the option to click an “email Mark” link or enter a members-only discussion area which offers readers a place to interact, share thoughts or shout-out directly to Manson. Additionally, each of Manson’s automated subscriber emails encourage readers with questions or comments to simply respond to the email itself and ensures them that Manson reads, and will do his best to respond to, every single email that comes his way. How’s that for engagement with followers?
4) Strong SEO Knowledge
While strong writing and high-quality, original content is the most important factor in producing great rankings, a solid knowledge of SEO doesn’t hurt, either. Content marketing is powerful and the discipline itself is multi-faceted and requires a wide variety of skills. Bloggers need to know how to use great keyword phrases and must be able to integrate them seamlessly into content. After all, great writing won’t get you anywhere if you don’t know how to make it readable for search engines and people, alike.
Take my “Copywriting for Dummies” post that is currently ranking #4 in the Google results. This blog is a fabulous example of all that is SEO optimized: strong keyword integration, well-written content, and useful information in a blog post package.
In order to be successful, bloggers need to become fluent in SEO. There is simply no way around this. By optimizing content for SEO, bloggers are much more likely to reach a wide reader base and experience success in their field.
5) Use of Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are a powerful tool for the savvy blogger. In addition to providing a way to consistently interact with readers (beyond regular blog posts) subscriber emails offer readers a way to share your content with their friends, thus expanding your reader base and helping you reach a wider audience. Successful bloggers include an opt-in method, such as a pop-up or sidebar form, on their sites for readers to subscribe and get content delivered directly to their email inbox.
By delivering weekly or daily updates and sending out blogs as they are published, successful bloggers build readership and promote their site by providing readers with what they truly want – interesting, high-quality, spam-free content that is accessible, shareable, and digestible.
6) A Willingness to be Playful
When you think about the way people naturally communicate with one another, chances are you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who speaks like the dictionary. People are playful and informal, at times, and readers are much more likely to interact with your blog and content if you embody a sense of playfulness.
This doesn’t mean being silly or superfluous in your blogs, it simply means finding new ways of communicating old information and being willing to try new things.
In some cases, a sense of playfulness can also mean using a voice that makes your writing approachable and relatable. Take author Elizabeth Gilbert’s Thoughts on Writing post, within which she urges her readers to do their best to “avoid going totally freaking insane” in the process of working to get published.
In this post, Gilbert is presenting tangible, useful, actionable information for her readers, but she’s also doing it from a playful place that demonstrates to her readers that she’s been there, that she knows what they’re going through.
This type of playfulness goes a long way toward promoting reader engagement and fondness and it’s one skill bloggers would benefit from developing more fully. Additionally, a willingness to be playful can help your writing style shake loose and get to the core of what it truly means. It’s tough to write great content when you’re haltingly self-conscious and allowing yourself to incorporate some playfulness into your writing will help you loosen up, create relatable posts, reach readers directly and avoid the dreaded writers-block.
7) A Genuine (Borderline Obsessive) Interest in the Topic
We’ve all heard the saying “If you want to be interesting, be interested” and there is no place this holds more true than blogging. Blogging is simply one way to learn, synthesize, and then convey information and, in order to be successful at that, you need to be authentically interested in your topic.
This concept is what gave birth to the idea of “write what you know”. If you’re forcing yourself to learn your content and then banging your head against the wall in an attempt to care even a little bit about it, it’s going to come across to your readers.
Content that you had to strain to write will feel strained to readers and that’s never a good thing for a blogger. Write about what you’re passionate about and then find ways to apply that to other modes of communication and information transmission. Problogger’s CEO, Darren Rowse, says that most successful bloggers he knows would blog about their chosen topic even if they weren’t getting paid simply because they feel so passionately about it.
When a blogger possesses this type of intoxicating energy and affection for their subject, it shines and makes a site’s content difficult to resist.
Blogging can be a tough business. It takes time to grow a blog’s audience, hone content, develop a magnetic voice and do everything else required to launch a blog into success. For these reasons, every successful blogger that is writing today boasts a respectable amount of dedication and perseverance.
Good bloggers know when they need to re-direct because something simply isn’t working, but they’re difficult to discourage and they understand deeply that good blogging isn’t an overnight business.
Every blogger is bound to face disappointment, rejection, frustration, negative reviews, and failed ventures and this isn’t a tragedy – it’s just a part of the business. What separates successful bloggers and unsuccessful bloggers is simply the fact that successful bloggers keep pushing onward while unsuccessful bloggers sit down and give up.
Put simply, dedication is one trait that can quite literally determine the trajectory of a blog’s future.
9) An Ability to be Innovative
“Innovation” is a word that is typically applied to the technology industry but it applies to great bloggers as well. Steve Jobs famously said “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” and this couldn’t be more true in the blogosphere.
Innovation in blogging doesn’t always mean developing new technology or writing apps – more often it simply means finding ways to extend your writing to explore a topic in an updated fashion or to reach readers previously deemed unreachable. Innovative bloggers propose new ideas, write great original content and act as thought leaders in their community. For these reasons, they are irresistible to readers and act as a force of forward movement and upward mobility in the world of blogging.
10) An Entrepreneurial Attitude
People who think blogging is all about writing posts are just plain wrong. In order for your blog to ascend to the next level, you have to be willing to embrace the tenants of entrepreneurship and constantly remain on the lookout for bigger and better opportunities. Some writers choose to do this through writing courses, while others do it through e-books.
There are literally thousands of ways to use the foundation of a blog to expand into other web-based ventures like podcasts, Q & A’s, guest posts, courses, and and webinars. The most successful bloggers on the market today understand this and do their best to use their writing, marketing, and SEO skills to build a brand for themselves and venture into other fields.
By expanding outward from a blog, a blogger has the potential to influence various markets and help their readers access great content in new ways – not to mention the fact that new ventures can be profitable and may well help a blogger make a living from their writing.
You, Too, Can Become a Tantalizingly Good Blogger
I’ve said it before and will say it again – blogging is a tough market. There’s good news, though, and that is that blogging is also a somewhat predictable market. Right now, consumers want content. There is a massive call for new information dispensed in new formats that cater to our utterly portable, on-the-go, fast-paced lifestyles. Additionally, readers want content that answers tough questions in a new way and still manages to be interesting and accessible.
While this may seem like a complex demand, it’s great news for bloggers because it means that, to some extent, successful blogging is also a formulaic endeavor. Great bloggers boast certain traits that make them stand out from the crowd and, while some of those traits come down to inborn skill and the presence of a college degree or extensive training, many of them can be learned or improved upon.
The most important strength needed to be a successful blogger are the traits needed by any successful innovator in today’s day and age – creativity, perseverance, a willingness to think outside the box, solid writing and SEO skills and a genuine sense of excitement for the field. Bloggers can learn everything else they need to know but, when these things are the foundation from which to spring.
Put simply – great bloggers are separated from poor bloggers by skill, passion, interest, creativity, and determination. When these skills are present, the sky is the limit and bloggers have the potential to become, well, tantalizing. And the great news is that tantalizing bloggers are strong writers with great ideas who have the ability to make the web a much better place for everyone.