Most of us can spot a stinker of a blog at 100 paces but can you recognise the properties that separate the lame from the great in your own blog? Let’s take a look at the 10 qualities your blog must have to succeed.
You might disagree with me (please do!) but here in no particular order are what I believe to be the key ingredients of a great blog.
Without blowing your own horn every five minutes the reader needs to know why you are qualified to be making the statements and judgements you do on a daily basis. Why should the reader believe you? You can project credibility through your writing, through your design and through your professional conduct. It doesn’t hurt to have some claim to fame of course. It could be that you have just “been there, done that”. An employee of Microsoft or Google are going to be credible when discussing those topics. You know the writers here on Performancing blog professionally. Why are you qualified to talk about your topic?
Closely related to credibility is Authority. Just because you are qualified to talk about a topic doesn’t mean what you will say has any value. Authority comes from writing about topics in a knowledgeable and insightful way. I find the blogs with the most authority are the ones that tend to write on topics rather than link with two-liners. If you really think about your subject and draw multiple references your blog will have more authority than “he said, she said”.
Passion is critical. If you can’t be bothered or are churning out lackluster copy purely for the adsense clicks this will come across in your writing and your blog will wither. You must love your niche and devour every scrap of news or subject matter. You can earn an income from a so-so blog but it takes more to create a real destination.
Most blogs are launched with a spike of enthusiasm, once that wanes how will you keep going? It takes real passion to keep a blog going for the long haul, have you got what it takes?
There are lots of knowledgeable, valuable posts and articles out there that are dull as ditch water. While dry and boring does not detract from the validity of the content, it does make reading a chore rather than a joy. And you want your blog to be a joy don’t you? I believe letting your personality shine through connects you to your audience and also helps with the credibility and authority, you become more obviously real than when talking in “marketese” or corporate-speak. Human beings like other human beings, not automatons!
Over time people will expect to see regular postings and will want to be able to trust what you say. Right up front you need to set expectations about your posting frequency and try to stick with it. If you think you might lapse in either then talk about it, people will understand a great deal better than trying to ignore it. These things we learn in our early years, keep your promises and tell the truth, own up to mistakes.
A blog will have a far greater impact if you are truly in touch with your audience. Walk in their shoes, talk to them, get feedback, learn from them. I read far too many articles written from a “aren’t I great” point of view. Make your blog about your audiences interests and needs, in a way your audience will understand and relate to.
Keep it real. While it might be ok once in a while to wander off into fantasy land it helps for your audience to know you and your blog are grounded in reality. We all like to read rumours and gossip, plus the occasional tin-foil-hat theory but facts and figures tend to be best over the long term.
Know in your mind what makes your blog different. What is your take or perspective on your niche that no-one else has? Project and articulate that difference. If you follow all the tips in this post your blog probably will have a good chance of being unique already but having a concrete position will help. What have you got that no-one else has, what do you add? What don’t you have or take away? Sometimes it helps to write as a statement along with the benefit to the reader. Here is an example:
Unlike other blogs, Performancing focuses only on professional blogging topics written by a team of professional bloggers. This makes Performancing the best single source of pro-blogging topics.
It’s no good covering a topic that is already out of date, has been done to death or worse has gone stale. Either get there early or find a new way of talking about the subject to make it fresh. If you don’t have a scoop you might still be able to give the idea new relevance.
I put this last one at the end for a reason. If you succeed at all the other tips then your audience will grow. Cultivate your audience as they are your biggest asset. Readers will pull you up when you fail, will support you when you wilt and will inspire you when you need a creative boost. A great membership can be a draw in itself.
Take a look at your favourite blogs. How many of these qualities do they possess? Have I got the list right or would you choose a different ten. Let me know!