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The ‘It Factor’ – How to Get It as a Blogger

A Guest Post by Nathan Hangen of Making it Social.

Ah, the “It Factor…” that something successful people have that the rest of us can’t seem to figure out. To some, it’s an enigma, while to others, it seems to flow like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate river…boundless and with fervor. Well, until it was clogged by Augustus Gloop, but I digress…

We’re all looking for some of it. It’s obvious that you need it to get noticed and to hold your audience captive, but no one knows how to get it. Believe me, I’ve asked. But, that didn’t stop me from trying.

As part of another project, I’ve been studying a lot of A-List bloggers and I have been trying to figure out both how and when they were bestowed with this “It.” Furthermore, I wanted to know what it was so that I could try and quantify it.

Did I find it? I think so, but if my conclusions are any indication, it’s not quite as mysterious as you might suspect.

What is It?

It’s the buzz around your blog that gets people interested. It’s the special factor that makes people want to RT, share, and comment on your posts.

In my studies, I believe it’s that feeling you get when you find a blog that you know isn’t going anywhere. For instance, when I read Problogger, I buy in because I know that:

1. Darren knows what he’s talking about, we trust him.
2. His blog isn’t going anywhere. He’s invested, and it’s part of his life.

Other blogs feel temporary, like they’re an experiment. Those don’t have it…they can’t. People want to know you aren’t going anywhere before they invest energy into propping you up. That’s just human nature.

It’s also a style of writing that speaks to people on their level. It’s confident and unabashed. Those bloggers that have “It,” aren’t afraid to speak their mind.

Is there a way to quantify it? No, but you and I both know what it looks like. We can sense a blog that’s on the rise or at the top…that’s about as close to measuring it as you can get.

How Do You Get It?

This is the crux really, because this is what we really want to know. You might not care who has it, but you know you want some. You want to turn your blog into a success, and you want people to not only subscribe, but to hang out and comment. You want people to listen to your advice, and maybe even pay you for it.

It’s funny, but looking back to a year ago, I was an unknown. I had a blog, but it was all over the place and I was doing a terrible job of building an audience. Now though, although I’m not on everyone’s radar, I’m at least moving in the right direction. Whereas people a year ago commented just to be nice, people these days tell me that the future looks good. My blog is an entirely different place, and it’s starting to get some of that “It.”

I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, but as someone that has been on both sides of the equation, I think it’s important to say that I understand where people are coming from, because what I’m about to say might not be what you want to hear, but it’s the truth…

It is nothing more than hard work…

Disappointed? Surprised? You shouldn’t be. In fact, you should consider this good news. Why?

Because if “It” was nothing but a mysterious aura that to some was given and to others was withheld, than you and I would have no chance at it. However, if it’s nothing more than a little bit of elbow grease, then there’s hope for all of us!

Looking at the history of some of the most popular bloggers in the world, you’ll find a common element that binds them all. Yeah, there is luck involved, but more than that, there was a lot of hard work.

Hard work cranking out content on a weekly basis…hard work writing guest posts for popular blogs…hard work managing dozens of blogs until they found one that worked…hard work interacting with their 1 or 2 commenters until they got a 3rd, and then a 4th.

“But I’m working hard!” you might say, and I don’t doubt it, but are you working hard consistently? Are you learning, implementing, analyzing, and fixing on a daily basis? Are you doing everything that you can to become a successful blogger?

Are you networking? Are you honing your writing style and finding your true voice? Are you giving as much as you are taking away?

These are the questions you’ll have to answer for yourself, and only you know the truth.

I’ll be honest

Some people just might not make it, at least not the first time. Show me a blogger that did get it right on the first effort and I’ll show you another thousand that didn’t. The difference though, is in persevering and not giving up. If one project fails, start up another.

One of the most inspiring things any blogger ever told me was that he didn’t have a backup plan…he was in 100%. He said there was no way he was going to fail, because he couldn’t afford to. That man was Gary Vaynerchuk, and now he’s built an empire.

You too can have that “It Factor,” and can have your own empire, but you have to start building it first. It might be tough, but you’ve got to be more resiliant than the obstacles you face. Accomplish that, and you’ll have it, I promise.

I think Chris Brogan said it best, when he mentioned that being an overnight success required 11 years of hard work. Remember that when you see a blogger that appears to have come from nowhere. It was probably 11 years in the making.

Nathan Hangen is an entrepreneur, social media consultant, and co-author of the book - Beyond Blogging.

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. Fazreen says:

    The first year of my blogging job is tough than I thought. All I need is working hard on my blog. never give up. Passion is the key to ‘it factor’. Wish best of luck to all bloggers here.

    Cheers,
    Fazreen

  2. Alexa says:

    So true. I love that quote about 11 years in the making – though there are smaller moments to look forward to along the way! But posting frequently is tough without making it a full time job.

    P.S. To anyone else who received a motorola Droid for Christmas and is having trouble posting comments, turning off mobile view worked for me.

  3. This is a great information and advice. Can I relate “It” as a “X-factor” in blogging? Because all your words are related to our own personality in blogging, which can only be found by ourselves. Once you have find your own voice in blogging, I think you have achieve one of the greatest success in blogging.

    Thanks :)

  4. Morgan says:

    Great post and so true! Whether it’s blogging, playing a musical instrument, or playing a game of golf it is time, experience and hard-work that lead to success.

    I believe that if you dream it you can do it – but you have to be prepared to put some blood, sweat and tears in to make your dream a reality!

  5. I love how you boiled it down to hard work. I can’t agree more. I found that it’s really hard (and smart) work that delivers result. Especially so when the market is so saturated today with many who just want quick results. The only sure way to get what we want is to put in the sweat, as Morgan above mentioned.

  6. Harry says:

    Good points Nathan. My blog is my life and it will never die. One day I’ll have my Son post on my blog.

  7. Alex Newman says:

    It’s all about the difference between trying to look like an expert and actually being one. Too many try to set up what is essentially a “copycat blog” where they are just blogging because that’s what you’re supposed to do…. and they wonder why they are not achieving any success.
    Did they ever actually consider that first you have to have some real knowledge, some real skills, some real experience…?

    All this “reputation management” stuff is a load of bull, of you ask me. The best way to get followers is to be worth following. The best way to get people to listen is to be worth hearing.

  8. William says:

    It’s one thing that I often struggle with in my own writing. You try to be engaging, but do you really connect with people? Maybe you connect with people that think and write the same way as you, but how about the millions of other people that don’t tune into the same brain frequency as you do.

    Is there some sort of balance and equilibrium of writing style that will appeal to the majority of the people out there?

  9. Nathan says:

    William – Read this guest post by Oleg Mokhov for some insight: http://nathanhangen.com/blog/being-remarkable

  10. Go get a copy of “think and grow rich” and read it over and over and you will soon “understand

  11. column says:

    Good point near the end there that bloggers that appear to suddenly appear from nowhere probably have several years of hard work behind them. When I first started my blog, I thought it was going to be easy. I was so wrong. However, I’m loving it and learning something new everyday. I’ll get there.

  12. Louis says:

    I totally agree that hardwork is the factor.

    However, leveraging on the right resources with hard work is equally important.

    Else it would be like, going round and round in the jungle and not reaching your destination.

    You will crush and burn in the jungle when your food and water are depleted.

  13. Kimmo says:

    “For instance, when I read Problogger, I buy in because I know that – - His blog isn’t going anywhere. He’s invested, and it’s part of his life.”

    I think you are onto something profound here, Nathan. We trust people who we feel are not going to go away. Who are committed. And we somehow know or feel it, even without rationalizing.

  14. Megan Walker says:

    Nathan,

    This is an older post but I have only just really found ProBlogger and I am loving it already. Good to hear that you started off a “no one” like I feel I am at the moment. As you said, not tooting my own horn, but I think my content is good, great even! It has value to my clients and targeted clients. It’s just getting people to find me, subscribe, and hang out a bit. Good to know that time, hard work and keeping at it will hopefully pay off!

    Thanks for the insight and advice!

  15. Hey darren..
    Thanks for info, I really hope you give tips on blogging motivation…

  16. Mary Lou says:

    Boy, did this article capture the truth about blogging! When I built my first blog two years ago, I did not know anything about tagging, or tweeting posts, or anything. I just wrote what I felt like writing, posted the articles, and that was it. I never got any comments (except one from my Dad!) and wondered why no one was reading it.

    Fast forward and I have discovered through hard work, lots of study, trial and error that creating a blog is like raising a child. Every single day you have to pay attention to it or…well, anyone who is a parent knows what I’m talking about! :)

    Thanks for this post. It really sums up the truth about being successful with a blog!

  17. Toi Seville says:

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