Monday, 14 March 2016

What Makes a Blogger Great?

I don't consider myself an expert on blogging but I have been around for a while now and I'd like to share some of the things I've learned.

When you come into the world of blogging you start to find like minded bloggers in groups and at conventions. New bloggers always ask how they can make their blog big, get loads of visitors and make lots of money. The answers they are given are generally the same, but I've been giving this some thought and although I don't actually disagree with the answers, I would like to expand them a little.

If You Build It They Will Come.

I think everyone knows that just by starting to blog doesn't mean you are going to get visitors, you have to share it, let people know you are blogging, get yourself 'out there' 
Have you ever read a blog and thought that it was ok but not brilliant but then you look at their statistics and think, wow! They are so popular. This is because they network very hard, they work to get noticed but not in a spammy way. They don't just drop their blog link and every opportunity and sit back and wait for people to come. You will probably find that they are kind, helpful and genuinely nice people. They get others to follow them because they like them as  a person, not because their blog is fantastic, different or special, although it very may well be.

If you use Social Media you should definitely have a look at Tim's post which tells you the 7 Dont's of Social Media Etiquette for Bloggers. Don't get it wrong, you want it to work for you not against you.

Write in Your Own Style, Find Your Voice.

Some bloggers are charismatic and will get people stumbling over themselves to follow and read every post written. Not everyone can be like this, however, and trying too hard when you just don't have 'it' can be off putting and people won't stick around.
Not everyone will get 'your voice', you might think you are funny or charismatic, others may not. 'Your voice' could be a big turn off.
So be prepared to work on a voice that suits the kind of audience you want to attract. Write about things you love in a natural way and people will find it more interesting. Keep in check your spelling and grammar and write from your heart. Don't work on finding 'your voice,' it's already there.


Find a Niche or Unique Selling Point for your Blog.

This is one I've always had problems with.
A niche is a focused, targetable part of the market. (Not a shallow recess in a wall, although this might be somewhere you may want to go and hide on a bad blog day.)
Some people do really well in their niches. In blogging you will find very popular bloggers in cooking, crafting or technology niches for example, but you have to be very good at writing in your niche to claim that part of the market. 
What if you want to claim a wider audience? Mixing up niches or making them undefined defeats the object of being a niche.
Many bloggers will prefer to be in a wider circle of subjects for their blogs A crossover can be fun and interesting. Mummy bloggers may like writing recipe posts for example. I think people waste too much time in finding their niche and should find a circle of wider interests instead.
The unique selling point could be a different matter, what makes your blog different from all the other ones out there. You may not think you have anything unique, but we all do somewhere, maybe in the layout of your blog, the way you add your photos, the way you are as person. Don't sweat too much over it, I bet others will notice it before you do.


What Kind of Bloggers Become Great?

Here are a few examples of great bloggers that I've seen during my time in the blogging world.

Doing Something Different.

There is a big blogger that started a trend of writing their blog in someone else's voice, in this example, the voice of their child. When this blogger started doing this it was a fresh new idea and that's how she became big. Lots of other bloggers have followed her example but few have grown so big. The thing with doing something different, is that it's only different for the first to do it!

Photography

This of course can be a niche and very good one for those with a talent for the art of photography. There are, however, a few more generic blogs that have grown big because of their fabulous photographs. People cannot resist a photo or two. 
These day though, more and more people are producing great photographs on their blog. In fact, it's almost expected now. With cameras more accessible and even mobile phones capturing some great shots, it's practically a sin not to scatter your posts with some lovely photos. If you can't get the hang of photography you can grab your pics elsewhere, so long as you abide by the rules of copyright. Do not believe you can just grab a photo from anywhere you please.

Humour.

Some of the best and biggest bloggers, and in particular, those who are always at the front when awards are given, have brilliant humour in their blogs. We all like a good laugh, particularly when it's something we can relate to. There is no 'but' with this one, I think humour will always be a hit providing the writer has a real talent for it. The blogging world may get saturated with humour but people will always enjoy it. 

So, what if you are not incredibly talent in a niche, fantastically humorous, a superb photographer or can't come up with something totally original

My advice would be:

STOP - Think about why you are writing your blog and what do you want from it. A clear focus will help you achieve more.

GET READY - Prepare everything, take care with every post. Don't write rubbish just to get a post out. People will appreciate well thought out posts with spelling and grammar checked.

GO- Get yourself 'out there.' Use social media, not just for dropping your post links and spamming, but talk to people, make friends, give lots of blog love back to the community. Go to events and meet ups if you can. Let people know who you really are.

Final Note: Some people get big by being nasty or opinionated. You'll get everyone swarming for a say if you write something relevant but controversial. Do a post about something you hate about bloggers and you'll get tons of page hits and people either agreeing or disagreeing with you. You'll get shares and retweets as bloggers debate your cheek or your brilliance. But beware, as this type of popularity comes with pitfalls. I'll let you work out what they might be.


 
 what makes a great blogger

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21 comments:

  1. Great advice and it's interesting that you've found that new bloggers these days want to know how to get big and make money. I wonder are there any new ones out there who began blogging because they wanted to write?

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    1. I do think it's become a bandwagon these days. I know I didn't start blogging to become big or make money....and I've not made it big either, probably because I'm unsociable, lol.

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  2. If new bloggers are creating a blog purely to make money there are far more effective ways to earn money on a 'cost per hour' basis than doing this! I do earn money from my blog and it is my full time career however at the start, the hours I put in for the best part of 2 years with no pay to show for it meant that had I not been passionate about expressing myself through this medium, I never would have stuck to it. I think that a passion for communicating is a key ingredient to blogging, and a willingness to evolve which comes naturally as your blogging progresses. I started out as a creative outlet, then I started to get free products to review or days out, then I started earning money, then the bigger brand collaborations such as travel opportunities came, but it wasn't about the money at the start and I think that this honest and organic approach attracted the opportunities rather than blog content that is contrived as a means to an end. Readers will know the difference and vote with the click of their mouse as to what they choose to read online.

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    1. I think you are spot on Nadine, you should aspire to an honest and organic approach, your blog is your personality not a means to an end.

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  3. Great tips for anyone starting out. I think people really underestimate the time and energy that goes in to maintaining a blog, for mr it's so much more than a job!

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    1. Yes, people really do! I know when I first started blogging I'd just have my say and then leave it. I'd never have thought of promoting my post, or linking to other sites etc. etc.

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  4. Some very good points here. I started blogging without a niche and then sort of fell into it. I look back at some of my old posts and cringe now

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    1. My first blog was very very personal and I just let everything pour out. I hold back a lot now.

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  5. I make money from my blog, but I don't think I will be able to let my husband give up his job for a while yet (for that read ever).

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    1. Oh, no don't, then you'd have him hanging over your shoulder all day asking when you'll be finished working on your blog ;)

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  6. Great tips for anyone who's thinking about starting a blog. I'd also add never underestimate how time consuming all of the above can be!

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    1. Tell me about it, too much time... well, actually, you could have a word with my other half about how long it all takes!

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  7. YES! I have had in on my wish list for a couple of years now, improving my photography skills. I am still looking for a reasonably priced course!xx

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    1. me too Oana, I just don't think I've got what it takes.

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  8. Very useful advice there, am still trying to find my voice or a niche lol! But hanging in (just about!) x

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    1. Five years and I've still not found mine :)

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  9. Great advise. As a blogger I am always learning and looking to improve my site. I want my readers to love it. I don't think that there is such a thing as a great blogger, I believe that there is a blogger for every season!

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    1. I know what you mean, I think maybe I should have made it more clear that by great, I mean someone popular with lots of followers.

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  10. Blogging is sooo time consuming and that's what people who don't do it really don't understand. I am constantly chasing my tail!

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  11. Wow so much great advice I think I need to reread it and take notes. I have been trying hard as a newbie blogger myself getting my blog posts out there without being too spamming and getting more people to follow me. I wish my stats would grow higher but I know this takes time. Thanks for these. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me and the continual support. #sharewithme

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It is so nice of you to stop by my blog, I would love for you to leave a comment too. I will reply to as many as I can and if you are a blogger you can expect a return visit from me. Many thanks, Anne xx

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