5 Attributes of a Successful Blog

10 Lessons Learned From Being Named A Top 10 Blog

Being named a Top 10 Social Media Blog of 2013 by Social Media Examiner made me think about what it took to create a successful blog and what I learned about blogging that can help other bloggers reach their goals because blogging, like other forms of social media, is about paying it forward and supporting others.

5 Attributes of a successful blog

How do you know when your blog has become successful? It’s more that just a matter of page views and awards. There are attributes that characterize a winning blog. You know you’re there when…

  1. You’ve built a brand associated with your blog. It may be associated with an individual (like HeidiCohen.com,) an extension of a company, or a totally new entity. Your blog’s 360° brand has become recognizable in terms of look, voice, content presentation and language.
  2. You’ve established the blogger’s expertise. By providing a continuous stream of original content you’ve demonstrated your knowledge of a specific field or niche.
  3. You’ve Developed an audience. Attracting an on-going following takes work. While your blog may not be part of the New York Times (unless you happen to be Nate Silver who writes the FiveThirtyEight Blog), your readers expect new content on a regular basis. They anticipate your posts and look forward to reading them.
  4. You’ve created a recognized media entity. Your blog is an on-going publication that delivers fresh content in a variety of formats on an established schedule.
  5. You’ve engaged a community interested in your topic. Getting readers and visitors to interact in the form of social media shares and comments takes work. This is public proof that people are engaged with your blog.

10 Lessons learned from being named a top 10 blogger

Here are ten lessons I learned about creating a successful blog in a competitive category that can help other bloggers like you attain their goals. Understand that your blog goals don’t have to include winning an award to benefit from these tips.

  1. Publish fresh content consistently. You must maintain a regular publishing schedule so readers know when to expect new information. Like any established media entity, you’ve a responsibility to your readers. Blog at least two to three times a week to get most of the benefit of blogging every day (based on Hubspot research.)
  2. Respect your audience. Building a blog readership takes hard work beyond just writing amazing content. Readers don’t check out your content because they have nothing else to do (unless you’ve got a Jewish mother.) Understand that they have other choices for content (Lots of them!) and show that you value the attention they give your posts.
  3. Keep and maintain an editorial calendar. Use your editorial calendar to create a set of on-going features that resonate with your readers and to ensure that you’re covering the topics of interest to your audience. Don’t just include fluff because you don’t have any ideas or not enough time. Capture your ideas with a word document, a moleskin or Evernote.
  4. Pay it forward. This saying is at the heart of social media. It makes a huge difference. Become part of a community whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. You have to help others without any expectation of return. At a minimum, if you’re a blogger, actively participate in #BlogChat on Sunday evenings at 8pm central time.
  5. Get help for your blog. Once your blog takes off, you’ll find that you have more to do. Also, you may need to upgrade your branding and technology platform. (Here are 33 ways to get help for your blog without breaking the bank.) Fortunately, I’ve got a great webmaster and colleagues who help and act like a sounding board for me. (BTW – My webmaster is Larry Aronson and he’s a WordPress whiz!)
  6. Integrate your blog into your business. Your blog can’t just sit off to the side of your business. It should be at the heart of your social media, content marketing and search optimization. Use your blog posts to drive readers to find out about your products and services. (Don’t forget to use a call-to-action!)
  7. Promote your blog across all channels. Don’t assume that everyone who’s interested in your blog will know how to find it. I continually get people who ask me how to find my blog (and it’s in my name!) Therefore spread the word about your blog everywhere that’s relevant. Use social media, emailings, website, email signature files, presentations, live events, business cards and retail establishment. Get creative such as putting a sticker on your computer so that people see it when you’re working in public.
  8. Continue to interact with your community. The bigger you get, the more you need to show them the love. You can’t just build a community and leave once you get an award. You need to engage and respond via your comments and social media.
  9. Protect your intellectual property. Yes, you’re giving away your content for free, but that doesn’t mean that people can just scrape it, pass it off as their own or claim to curate it. A senior advertising executive plagiarized my blog content on a marketing site. So make sure you state your terms of use. (Check out New Media Rights on this topic.)
  10. Use metrics to track your blog results. There are two parts to blog metrics. First measure elements that relate back to your blog goals. Without doing this, your blog won’t achieve your objectives. Secondly, find out what keywords, topics and articles resonate with your audience. While you know the core of your offering, you’re sure to be surprised by some of your strongest and weakest posts.

Once your blog is successful, whether you’re recognized for an award or meet your objectives, stop and consider what you want to do next since new opportunities will present themselves. Decide what you want to do both short term and long term. If you don’t set specific goals and plans, you won’t achieve your objectives. Related to this planning, decide what you want from your blog.

What have you learned as a result of blogging? How do you define your blog’s success?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Hat tip to Jon Loomer who was also named a Top 10 Social Media Blog for inspiring this blog post.

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