“How did they do it?”
This question frequents the minds of bloggers everywhere after visiting successful blogs, dreaming up possibilities for ours, and realizing we are so far from where we want to be. Will we ever get to the tipping point of blopularity (No, that wasn’t a typo! Blogger + popularity = blopularity) that we inevitably strive for?
What are the “tricks of the trade” to gain and keep readership?
I’ve done my fair share of analyzing the blogs that have stolen my heart. They’re role models for the rest of us and each success story has infinite lessons of its own to share. At the risk of oversimplifying a complicated and contextual subject, I’ve come up with four rules that most, if not all, big name blogs do well.
1. Keep Content Original
Originality is important because it makes your blog your blog while setting it apart from the rest. This is not to say that every post has to be earth shattering and never-been-done-before. That’d be unrealistic and, quite frankly, impossible.
What you can do is have your own spin on things. Whether it’s showcasing your writing style, cropping photos in a different way, being ahead of the curve on a trend, or creating a new DIY project, creating unique content will make all the difference – in your mind and in others. A lack of originality lacks staying power. Keeping things fresh will help your readers identify with you instead of the latest trend that everyone else is also writing about.
2. Imagery Is Key
Speaking of original, there’s no better way to create fresh content than with pictures. Using your own images will give you a fun, artsy outlet to explore and continually give your blog a spin that’s all your own. Images also help to break up text, making posts easier to digest. Their ability to provide a visual reference will help to tell your story, and who knows, maybe you’ll get a pin or two from your shots, helping to share your name with the vast internet world.
3. “Hi! My Name Is PR ”
In graduate school I had a teacher that always said, “The technical meaning of “PR” is Public Relations but the smartest of us know that it really means Personal Relations.” I love this saying because it’s so true. One thing that big bloggers all do well is stay active on social media, maintain relationships with other bloggers and brands, and (gracefully!) self promote.
No one will actively seek out all the wonderful things you are doing. You have to make it really, really easy for them to find. Did another blogger mention you in their post? Tweet it. Have you entered into a fashion contest? Call on your readers to vote for you. Wearing some fantastic heels from your favorite brand? @ tag them on Instagram. Share all your accomplishments and collaborations, no matter how big or small, and don’t be afraid to celebrate others when they do the same. The blog world is a supportive community and we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that encouraging one another, and ourselves, is essential. This is an idea that successful bloggers continually embraced and practice.
Good things don’t just come. Most successful bloggers got to where they are by working really hard at it. They put in grueling hours, late nights, and networking to make it happen. Their success came after years in the making. There’s no way to cut corners on this. When feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, they kept their long term goals at the top of mind and never quit. Their blog was a canvas, and persistence painted the picture.
Emily VanderBeek is a digital advertising professional living & playing in Chicago. She is the blogger behind Isn't That Charming, a lifestyle blog focused on style, DIY projects & inspirations that charm her socks off.