I was just doing an interview on an Aussie radio station and was asked to name some traits of successful bloggers. My initial reaction was to giggle – because no two successful bloggers are the same – however as I began to answer I realized that there are some common traits among bloggers who gain popularity. Here’s a list, presented in no particular order, of some of the traits of successful bloggers that I observe:
1. Creative and Playful
One of the things I love about blogging is that it can be a very playful space. Bloggers who find new ways to communicate old truths and that have the ability to surprise their readers with fresh perspectives and means of communication often find themselves on a fast track to a wide readership. Also, in the midst of ‘playful’ experimentation new discoveries come that help a blogger to develop in maturity and influence in their niche.
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“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” – Edward de Bono
Often ‘innovative’ is used to describe a blogger’s use of technology – but it goes well beyond this. Innovative bloggers are those that are able to extend and explore their topic in ways that others are not. They are thought leaders and forge into new ground not only in the way that they present in what they say.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
Most successful bloggers that I’ve interacted with have an insatiable desire to connect with as many people as they can. They have an ability to connect not only with their readers but other bloggers and key people in both the online and offline world. Their networks are often far reaching – enabling them to draw on all kinds of relationships when needed.
“It’s not what you know but who you know that makes the difference.” – Anonymous
4. Community Enablers
There are many blogs with great information – but it’s those that are able to draw in and build up a community of passionate and energetic people that often go to the next level. Readers are no longer satisfied just to consume content – they want to participate and belong online. Successful bloggers don’t always actively participate in or lead the community aspect of their blogs but they do have an ability to attract other community builders and to empower them to build a community around the content on the blog.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” – Jane Howard
5. Information Mavens
Successful bloggers are often quite addicted to the gathering of information. What sets them apart from other information gatherers is their ability to filter the vast quantities of information that they collect and to identify and communicate that which applies to others.
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“What sets Mavens apart, though, is not so much what they know but how they pass it along. The fact that Mavens want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help, turns out to be an awfully effective way of getting someone’s attention.” Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point).
Some might think that this point is all about bloggers having the ability to write well – but that is only part of being a good communicator. Successful bloggers have a knack of knowing connecting with readers that goes beyond the way they use words. Good communication has more to do with knowing your audience and connecting with their needs and desires. Successful bloggers have the ability to trigger some sort of response in their reader.
“The two words ‘Information’ and ‘Communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” – Sydney J. Harris
Bloggers know how to be interesting – but being interesting starts with being interested. Most successful bloggers that I’ve met would blog on their chosen topic for free – because they have some kind of passion or interest in it themselves. This energy that they have for their topic shines through and is infectious to others. It’s one of the main reasons that readers are drawn to them.
“There are two levers for moving men: interest and fear.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Successful bloggers are always on the look out for opportunities to go to the next level. They leverage what they currently have to grow something more. They don’t just rely upon others to make their dreams a reality but are self starters and ‘doers’ that go and get what they want.
“The entrepreneur in us sees opportunities everywhere we look, but many people see only problems everywhere they look. The entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities.” – Michael Gerber
It is difficult to be unique in the blogging space but successful bloggers find ways to make what they do stand out from the crowd. They develop a distinct voice, use media in different ways and develop their own unique spin on life that sets them apart from the rest.
“Eveyone is a genius at least once a year. A real genius has his original ideas closer together.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg
Successful bloggers know that it takes time to grow a blog and look past those initial awkward months (and longer) after a blog is launched to motivate them to persevere. They do know when to give up when something isn’t working but also have an ability to develop their blog’s with focus and discipline and unswerving conviction over the long haul.
“If at first you don’t succeed, get a bigger hammer.” – Alan Lewis
What strikes me about many of the most successful blogs out there is that in a time where there’s an incredible development of new technology happening that many of them don’t allow themselves to get distracted by it. Yes they experiment and play with new ways of delivering content to readers but they don’t become distracted from their core task of producing useful and engaging content for readers. Being able to identify what matters most and sticking to it is so important – particularly in a medium with so many time sucking distractions.
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda
Lastly, one of the traits that I see in many great bloggers is a restlessness and a dissatisfaction with the current state of play in their world/blog/industry. They are not content to sit comfortably but are always exploring, pushing boundaries and experimenting. They are curious people who are always asking ‘what if….?’ – a question that leads to all kinds of discoveries and possibilities that the rest of us could only dream of discovering.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney