A few new bloggers have been asking me for blogging tips … so here you are …
Personally I don’t see other bloggers as competition, so I wouldn’t call researching other blogs as “competitor research” more “colleague research”. Why I say this is MOST, in fact almost all elite bloggers I’ve been in contact with are charming and lovely.
I’ve never thought I was carved from a different piece of cloth than others, we’re all capable of succeeding, we’re all of us talented people. Plus, there’s enough of the pie for everyone, we’re all different and have different styles. Of course there’s the occasional grumpy one in the “elite”, but their only reward is to go into my “ignore” list of bloggers on WordPress.com. Usually permanently as I’m generally too busy to check back and find out if they’ve grown a sense of humour.
Every one of us has a gift, something to offer, so please use those gifts, and say “fuck-you” to the critics, the sceptics and the pessimists. They’re only envious because they didn’t think it, do it or say it before you … or grieving over the barren nature of their own self-obscured potential.
Elite bloggers don’t need to manipulate, coerce, force, troll, bully or otherwise behave badly in order to be popular, they have already learnt the art of charisma. They are already being popular through their skill and talent, often their humility and their respect for other people. Most I feel have a desire to share their talents for other’s enjoyment and enhancement. Other people like them because they like other people, I think is what it is in it’s simplest form.
That’s their gift … What’s yours ?
Promoting And Marketing
Authors and writers tend to be promoting the “me” brand, pen-name or not. Marketing their books or materials. It’s not all that different for any kind of “artist”. EVERYONE is marketing or promoting something, whether these chose to admit it to themselves or not … only person who isn’t is probably a monk meditating on top of a mountain with only goats for company … and he’s happy enough there by himself, with his, erm, goat friends 😀
And spare me the dreary cliches about how holier-than-thou you are about money … “let them eat cake” a completely out of touch French princess once said about starving peasants … Odd really that people think they’ve somehow transcended the rest of us because they don’t need to work for their living … no, it continues to baffle me, daily … we all need money to live our lives, but it’s not why we live our lives.
Businesses sell products OR services (or both), for profit. There’s no such thing as a not-for-profit business, that’s called a hobby or a tax dodge …
Technically a “.com” means commercial, which is for-profit … a “.org” or “.edu” would be much more appropriate for not-for-profit “altruistic” website … it always does make me laugh when someone with a .com website is holier than thou about their alleged altruistic activities. At the very least that’s very ignorant, at worst is hypocritical …
What are you promoting and marketing through your blog ? Be honest, and if you can’t then at least lie convincingly …
Unique Selling Point
Successful blogs and bloggers tend to be a little bit different, they have a “Je ne sais quoi”, a Unique Selling Point (USP), something that’s interesting and differentiates them from others. That’s not to say they don’t fit, conform and flow with “normality”, because they do. Far too much very different from others is just too difficult for most to digest. The downright offensive, distasteful or fanatical isn’t most people’s cup of tea, so these blogs will stay niche, if they survive in the long term at all.
What’s your USP ? Why would people visit your site rather than a colleagues site ?
There’s only a handful of “elite” blogs on WordPress.com, these guys all have more than 50000 followers, and many many millions of page views between them. For example’s sake – here’s a few of the top of the top in the WordPress.com blogging community. With what they are selling and their USPs. In no particular order … Obviously all “in my opinion”, I’m not all-seeing-all-knowing omnipotent, just a dude with a keyboard and a lot of persistence … and a fair amount of experience now.
A Good Blog Is Hard To Find
1. bucketlistpublications.com/bucketlistpublications.org – I’m super impressed with this lady’s charisma, she’s amassed 30 million page views on what’s a really VERY cool blog. Her USP I feel is just having grasped the “bucket list” concept, and made an awesome blog out of it. What she promotes is herself, her family and their adventures with a “life’s too short” attitude, do the stuff she’d like to do now. I don’t know her exact business model, but she/they get some revenue from advertising. So she’s selling “lifestyle”, “adventure” or “vicarious living though others”. Also I believe travel companies are keen to promote their services, so I imagine there’s “work” in this arena. Super impressed with Lesley’s amazing blog, and inspired by what she publishes on it, and who she is.
“Following my dreams of traveling and experiencing life to the fullest has taught me that the world is full of endless possibilities.”
2. thepublicblogger.com – Kendal has a unique talent for multi-media, putting together visual, audio and the written word into a mega post. So his USP for me is similar to mine, the “all-rounder”. He’s also a published author. So he sells the “me” brand, and books. He’s also a participant in the WordPresws.com approved advertising program WordAds. I DO LOVE THIS FROM HIS BLOG – “writing is a performance art and every post is a show.”, I entirely agree, however I’d probably cross out the “writing” to say “blogging is a performance art and every post is a show”. An embellishment Kendal, not a criticism, as it’s very much how I feel about it 😀
“writing is a performance art and every post is a show.”
3. aopinionatedman.com/HarsH ReaLiTy – This dude is special to me because he gave me a shot, well several in fact and continues to be someone I consider a friend. He’s actually an excellent writer, and all round cool guy, in my opinion. His USP I feel is charm with a hint of persistent genius. Moreover he knows how to be a leader, and how to make a blog really buzz. What he promotes is obviously himself, his writing works and his black-belt social-media skills. Don’t know his business plan etc, think there’s small revenue from his published works and perhaps coaching others in social media. Sorry Jason in advance if I got that wrong !
“My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.”
3. sfoxwriting.com – Steven’s a young guy with some balls – it takes a lot to admit having suffered from depression and to write a book about it. So I think Steven’s USP is humility in being able to admit publicly what others are too afraid to. He works in partnership with a friend, and they have published works. So I think they make small revenue from book sales, and a little from the WordPress.com advertising initiative. Steven promotes the “me” brand, the “Foritude” publishing brand, and the “Having some balls brand” 😀
“I aim to give you a greater understanding of how writing can positively effect your life and overcome issues you may have with the world or yourself.”
4. blog.longreads.com – The majority of the WordPress.com community are writers or wannbe writers. So it makes sense that one of THE-MOST-POPULAR blogs here is about, well, erm, reading. As for USP, well it’s very professionally laid out and I think in this case people are attracted to the impersonal side of this blog. I couldn’t find an about page, and seems it’s probably an extension of WordPress.com. I don’t know their exact business model, but suspect there’s affiliate commissions received for recommending books, plus they operate a subscription service which is a “support longreads” type of deal. Couldn’t find any inspiring quotes on their site, guess it’s more faceless persona is it’s appeal ?
5. matt.wordpress.com/ma.tt – Matt, well who doesn’t love Matt, he’s the brainchild behind WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This has made him tremendously successful, and wealthy. The vibe I get from Matt, is he’s a pretty cool guy, whilst being incredibly charismatic. His USP for his blog is, well, it’s my personal blog, I just blog “stuff” here, nothing strenuous or too serious. So a slightly personal view into life as a glitterati-geek. What he’s promoting and selling is blogging itself, and the “me” brand. He has currently over 212000 followers, which is hardly surprising due to WordPress.com saying “Matt, he’ll be your friend” to new bloggers … however he’s yet to follow me back, so I’m still pissed about that … *tongue in cheek*, joking aside, Matt, you are awesome dude, thanks for setting this up for us.
“I am a founding developer of WordPress, the Open Source software used by over 22% of the web, including this site. The website says WordPress is “a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform” but more importantly WordPress is a part of who I am. Like eating, breathing, music, I can’t not work on WordPress. The project touches a lot of people, something I’ve recently begun to appreciate. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work on something I love so much.”
6. cristianmihai.net – This guy’s a writer and author, published quite a few books. I like his openness about his finances, that takes a lot of guts and seems to work well for him. His USP I feel is actually being a writer rather than a wannbe writer, he’s walked the walk and can talk the talk. People aspire to be where they want to be, so someone who’s already published and successful, well that’s a USP. And then there’s the personal/intimate touch on his blog, again that’s a USP – There’s a lot of Cristian that goes into his blog, so there’s a “real person” to connect to. He sells and promotes his books, his writing and in the mix the “Cristian Mihai” brand. It does look like he uses his real name not a pen-name, another USP – authenticity. Seems like quite a young chap too born in 1990 – so around 24 years.
Cristian Mihai (born 25 December 1990) grew up in Constanta, Romania. And he’s still growing up, or at least trying to. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he gets lucky and writes something good. He can’t, however, draw a straight line. No matter how much he tries. Not even with a ruler. And, please, don’t ever ask him to sing.
Bloggers For Thought
So some examples of blogs to study, to learn from in terms of “how-to” blog. Personally I’m more interested in the blogger themselves rather than the what they blog about – it’s people I trust, not what they do/are … and it’s people that I learn from.
I could go on with the list of blogger “royalty” … but this is already longer than I’d aimed for, and, well, do some bloody work yourself !
I wrote this for new bloggers and those who are looking to improve what they’re doing with their online activities. I don’t generally suffer fools gladly – that probably comes across. There’s some misplaced shame around money, stupid people seem to perpetuate it. If you want to be successful financially, then you need to know that :
Money is a how in our lives, not why we live.
– Don Charisma
IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A “SUCCESSFUL” BLOG, you need to look at what’s behind what people are doing. The slight of hand, the magic, it’s a nice illusion, it’s pretty, it’s absorbing. But in order to be like those people you need to look at what they are really doing, how they are doing it, not the blingy wrapping paper. Make friends with these people, help them, and learn what you can -That’s the ticket for success … of course perhaps I’m wrong maybe you are “more special” than the rest of us ?
Also opportunity tends to favour those who pro-actively look for it and are persistent. Matt, Steven, Kendal, Jason, Christian and Lesley didn’t sit around waiting for visitors to their blogs, because they are more “special” than everyone else. Likely I’d guess is they worked HARD to bring those visitors to them, using their own skill, talents and effort to make their blogs outstanding. Well, except Matt, he’s special for sure 😀
Or perhaps there’s a silver platter ? … personally I’d rather do it now, and get on with it rather than wait … prince charming may show up on his own, then again he may not …
“A good blog is hard to find” my friend Jason said … and yes a good blog is hard to find amongst the endless reams of intelligent spam that’s produced daily, that’s true … so don’t be like everyone else, have a USP, do your blog how you want and NEVER EVER be ashamed of making your living to support yourself and your loved ones … that’d just be insane !
And don’t expect it all to come together on day one, take time to find out what works, make mistakes and try and have fun learning to be all you can be 😀
(Thanks to Pixabay for the Buckingham Palace photo)
Comments are invited
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