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Passion, Honesty, Content and Light-Footedness – Ingredients of Successful Blogging

Yesterday I linked up to an interview with an Australian blogger (Alborz Fallah from CarAdvice.com.au) who has built his blog from a hobby to a million dollar business in just two years.

I’ve not been able to get Alborz story out of my mind since as it’s a brilliant example of what is possible with blogging – but also resonates with my own story and approach. Today I’d just quickly like to pull out a few of the threads of the conversation in that interview that I think were important (there were many more but these resonated most with me):

Passion for Topic

It is totally possible to blog successfully and profitably on a topic that you have little or no interest in – but Alborz is so obviously passionate about his topic and I believe it is key to attracting a readership who shared his passion.

Transparency and Honesty

umerous times during the call Alborz talked of ‘telling it like it is’ on his blog. If a car that he’s reviewing is bad – he calls it bad, whether the car maker is a sponsor of his blog or not. This is another aspect of his blog that I’m sure has drawn readership to him as they know they are getting an honest review.

Content Centered

While Alborz talked of things like SEO, promoting his blog to other bloggers and other promotional activities – he said time and time again that he was mainly interested in high quality content. Even in times when his site disappeared from Google he wasn’t distracted from his primary task of producing engaging content.

Exploiting the Weaknesses of Mainstream Media (Light-footedness)

I loved the way that Alborz talked about taking on the ‘big boys’ in his niche here in Australia. He spoke about coming home from car shows and posting news that very night and how the MSM sites would not publish articles for a day or two (either because of their processes or just because they didn’t work at night). This highlights the power of individual and smaller publishers to break news and beat the large players at their own game. I think the more that bloggers take advantage of the fact that they can do what they like without editorial approval and get content published fast the better.

Once again – a great interview if you’ve got a spare 45 minutes or so.

PS: one other thing that I liked about the approach that Alborz took was that he started out with three blogs on three topics and played with each of them until I worked out which one to focus upon.

I’ve talked about this a few times in interviews lately as being something that I did. At one point I blogged on 20 or so blogs on a variety of topics. Part of this was to see what topics worked and which I enjoyed most. I think choosing 3 topics like Alborz did is probably a better idea than 20 but the same thing applies. In the process of blogging on all three he got a sense for what his niche should be. Once he decided upon a niche he ditched the others and focused in upon his main passion – cars.

I think that this is a great way to choose a topic to write about.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Grant says:

    It certainly is a great interview to the insight of such great success. Its interesting to see how it can be different for everyone.

    i also liked his approach to 3 different blog and then selling on off to a friends and continuing with the auto one. I would love to see some raw stats and see where his traffic is coming from, i would find it interesting to analyse that my self.

    Thanks for sharing the interview.

  2. Mike Nichols says:

    Besides being more lightfooted than Mainstream Media, a blog can be more transparent and honest. The “Big Boys” often are tied down by their sponsors and their editorial policies.

    The ignorance of the reporter about a topic shows not only in the flat and bland copy, but the passionless portrayal of the subject.

    Blogs have the freedom to be both passionate and honest, something that the Mainstream Media lacks. The public is beginning to catch on to this. Hence, Alborz’ success.

  3. Thanks for the interview , amazing video and great insight on his success . Content is king , it will drive traffci to your blog and keep users loyal

  4. I think it is inspirational.
    Content centered-I think your example here shows persistence. I think a lot of bloggers give up when they don’t see results right away or hit a roadblock. I think that is where your passion for the subject comes in and keeps you doing what you are doing.

  5. Pollarizer says:

    I especially liked that did not got corrupted by money. Huge blogs often have to decide whether they want to please their advertisers or write what they think.

    I love the part where he tells how he got a car from a manufacturer to review it and then he wrote that is was totally crap….lol
    They even asked him if he wanted another drive hoping he might change his opinion… but he refused

  6. Adam Singer says:

    VERY inspiration Darren – you’re right, everyone who hasn’t read the interview go do it. Tons to learn.

  7. I love success stories like this because they prove that individuals can become larger than corporations.

  8. Louis Liem says:

    Right now I’m working on 2 blogs and 1 niche site. The blogs’ noche is similar but in different languages. I aim to success for both blogs :)

  9. joe gelb says:

    these million dollar success stories are crazy, i wonder what its like waking up and depositing ten g into the bank as a daily pay check?

  10. Ari Herzog says:

    I am amused reading your perspective of so-called light-footedness, after reading a 100% opposite perception from Brian Clark at Copyblogger:

    “In the blogging game, there are two typical winners: The person who gets the scoop; and the person who notices, thinks about, and amplifies the cowbell. Guess who endures?”

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Ari – actually I think, having read Alborz’s blog, that he does both. He posts news as soon as he gets it AND then follows up with reviews that have depth, honesty and useful content.

    As bloggers I think we have a distinct advantage over MSM in our lightfooted approach – but that doesn’t stop us also having depth :-)

  12. iBabel says:

    I think the ‘lightfootedness’ doesn’t just mean being first with the breaking news, but is more about being able to quickly cultivate comments and feedback – and then to respond to and build on that feedback in a more flexible, iterative way than the mainstream providers/publishers can. Of course, just because you’re quick doesn’t mean you’re right ;-)

  13. Jeff R says:

    Let’s talk a bit about “blog honesty!” What happens when something negative is written and the manufacturer or company threatens to sue unless the post is removed?

    Do bloggers incorporate or form LLCs to protect themselves from this type of harassment? Generally businesses have more money to threaten people with or a lawyer on retainer. How do bloggers avoid being the target of litigious organizations and still remain objective?

  14. Angel Cuala says:

    I must confess, I did not finish watching the video due to time constraint but I am glad you placed passion for topic above all.

    Any huge business starts with passion and it is this passion that will bring you to millions of dollars whether you like it or not. If I may assume, the real dream of Alborz Fallah is really not to make millions but to be able to share his ideas and to release his passion through blogging.

    I truly believe that the real satisfaction of a person on whatever they want to do with passion (whether a blogger or not) is recognition. A million dollar blog? Well, it is only a consolation prize!

    For me, it is the self-achievement that is the grand prize.

    Thanks.

  15. Patricia says:

    This post allowed me to feel affirmed again in my choice of subject, because I have lived it and am responding to what my writing brings to me and to what I hear in the course of the day – I think my interpretation is fresher and more down to earth and that readers can find my honesty and transparency right away. I believe too that I am not a usual voice out in cyberspace and it will take time for folks to find me as my audience is fearful about the blog world and all the fear that is being thrown at them at this time in their lives. What we were taught would be a right for us to have – a security is vanishing right before our eyes on a daily basis. Thank you too to one of your anonymous commentators who went to my website and made a comment and a powerful suggestion about a table of contents and now I see that part of other’s blogs and am figuring out how to develop such a thing on my site. thank you to whoever you are.

  16. Everything you mentioned I am trying to do on my entrepreneur blog. I am getting there

  17. Jess says:

    Thanks Darren and Alborz.

    I really like your multiblogging idea Darren. I have just started my second blog. Because I saw that no one else has yet done such a blog…so I couldn’t resist. But also I think this does give me the chance to see what I want to do. At first the idea of scrapping or giving in my first blog, seems a little upsetting because of all the work I have done, It seems like such a waste. But because I have written so many free articles, I figured I could always send them in to jewellery and beading magazines instead. But I’m not ready to quit…yet.

    jess

  18. Lance says:

    I listened to Al’s interview with Yaro and also browsed caradvice for a bit last night. His story is outstanding and the 45′ interview is practically a roadmap for developing a successful blog. Well done.

  19. HoomanCan says:

    Success leaves clues. When I read a piece like this I get so excited for everyone. Awesome posts like this give the average reader a chance to duplicate this success, in a shorter period of time, by modeling winners like Darren and Mr. Fallah.

    Darren check out Tiger Woods success patterns at:

    http://hoomancan.com/blog/?p=4

    We all can learn so much from Tiger Woods. You don’t have to like him but you certainly have to admire him for his mastery of his sport.

    HoomanCan