“My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.” Mark Twain, Notebook, 1885
Most people consider it bad form to stab someone with a butter knife or to slap them with a bruised banana. I haven’t done any of those things, but I admit to having wanted to use my size 12 boot on the ample bottom of a self described social media expert.
Someone asked them how to become a successful blogger and they responded with 15 minutes of gibberish about how content is king and everyone should know that.
They are correct about one thing, content is king. If you want to build a successful blog you need to provide content that is both captivating and compelling. You need to write something that resonates with the reader not just once, but repeatedly.
Do it once and we might call you lucky. Do it twice and we might ask you to pick lotto numbers. Do it daily and we’ll sit at your feet and drink from your fountain of knowledge.
Break Through The Clutter
The secret to becoming a successful blogger isn’t just about coming up with great content nor is it about doing it more than once. There is a very low barrier to entry. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
That is a big part of the reason why the blogosphere is populated by millions of blogs. The fact is that most blogs don’t last more than 90 days. Part of that is due to the mythology that says that if you write it they will come.
It is not true. You need to do more than just write to attract readers.
Nor should you believe that starting a blog will allow you to simply quit your job so that you can work in your pajamas all day.
Blogs take work and there are only two kinds of people who last at blogging.
- Those who get paid to do it.
- Those who love to do it.
What Does It Take To Become A Successful Blogger?
So what does it take to become a successful blogger and how do you do it? We are going to take a few minutes to look at the outline below. Just remember we are going to cover an enormous amount of information. If you have questions, ask them.
- Write with passion, personality and purpose.
- Engage with your readers.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Write frequently.
- Don’t blog for traffic.
- Know what numbers are important and why.
- Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end.
- Sustain your effort.
- There is no single way to do this right.
Remember that quote I used at the top of the page? My good friend Mr. Twain touched upon a key element there. Write posts that your readers can understand.
Your job isn’t to impress the reader by showing off your vocabulary or by trying to sound like you just wrote Julius Caesar.
You want to make it easy for your readers to understand what you are saying. You want them to connect with you and that won’t happen if they have to keep a dictionary next to the computer.
Nor will it work if they fall asleep while trying to read your words.
Write simply and make it easy for them to understand your message.
Blogs are designed so that you can have a discussion with you readers. This isn’t a play. Don’t talk at them. Engage.
When you engage with your readers you help to build a community and that is of paramount importance. Communities are what turn your blog into something more than just words on a page.
Blogs are built for experimenting. It is a fast paced dynamic environment that lends itself to trying out new things. Don’t be afraid to test different approaches and plugins. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
Just remember to tell your readers what you are doing and why. Ask them for feedback. Remember, when you engage them you make them part of the process and you build your community. Take care of your community and they will take care of you.
Be consistent in your posting. Your readers will grow accustomed to your schedule and you’ll find the frequency helps you improve as a writer. It also helps you find your voice.
Don’t waste energy trying to create posts that go viral. Don’t write for traffic. Provide value in your posts and you will be read. There is a certain amount of luck and timing involved here. It is better not to try and force that because it rarely works.
Consistency is what will help you. When your readers come to trust you and know that you will continue to provide them with content that is of value to them they will reward you.
Remember that every story has a beginning, a middle and and end. Use them.
Sustain your effort. If you sustain your effort you will find that your blog grows in size. You will gain more readers and pageviews. You will gain more influence.
This is part of why you need to understand what numbers are important. This is part of why you need to determine in advance what you consider success to be. When you know what metrics are important it makes everything much easier.
Don’t forget to have fun with it. Try not to take it so seriously you want to stab someone with a butter knife and remember you can’t convince your parents that it is ok to smite your sister.
They won’t believe the bible told you to do so and you will reap the sort of reward you don’t want. 😉