11 Characteristics of Highly Influential Blog(ger)s

A few weeks ago, I posted about the seven characteristics of highly effective online video. Taking this theme a little further, I decided to branch out into the blogosphere, but using the number seven this time around was a tad too limiting. There are at least ten characteristics off the top of my head that make blogs and bloggers successful. These characteristics give the blogs mentioned below fame, fortune, and loyal followings.

Want to build your blog and following? Here are some key ideas and takeways — as well as inspirational bloggers you might want to follow — who can help you realize that dream.

Consistency

If you want your blog to be recognized as a household name, you better be consistent at providing quality content on a regular basis. The most popular blogs, according to Technorati, maintain that consistency by posting more than once a day. Granted, these are typically publications that have a staff of writers at their disposal, but they are like the newspapers of the blogosphere and readers have come to expect frequent updates. Blogs like Mashable and Gizmodo offer a consistent stream of stories every single day.

Blogging numerous times daily isn’t necessarily a necessity for blogs just starting out, nor is it feasible for most blogs, especially those who don’t blog for a living but for a hobby. Bloggers like Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent, who don’t have a team of bloggers at arm’s length, offer content on a very regular basis (in Valeria’s case, 6 days a week). You don’t necessarily have to pump out content hourly or even every day, but if you want to be a successful blogger, you should try to stick to some sort of schedule. If your readers are expecting content from you weekly, you should deliver weekly content. If your readers expect content from you daily, skipping a day might cause worry or the decision to unsubscribe because neglected content may inadvertently translate to neglecting your readers too.

Eloquence

My three favorite bloggers are Brian Solis, Lisa Barone, and Adam Singer. Why? Because they write damn well. They always have something insightful to say, and it shows in every single blog post that they write. It’s pretty clear that their content exudes intelligence and occasional wit. They treat writing like an art and their art is viral. You can tell that you’re reading blog posts of brilliant writers. They’re that good.

For every post you write, take the time to proofread thoroughly. Would it be embarrassing for me to admit that I proofread every post I write 9-10 times on the low end? (This post has 53 post revisions, for the record.) It’s surprising to see how few people actually do it!

Want another tip on how to write well? Read a lot. Blog posts that are well written are well-received. By putting effort into the writing process, you reap the benefits of a community that supports you because you lift them through your words.

Uniqueness

Darren Rowse wrote a great post about how you can be a unique blogger. Here’s a hint: it requires not doing what everyone else does. There are so many blogs out there that regurgitate news, causing clutter in the blogosphere. Darren suggests having a memorable design, trying your hand at being a character (e.g. Fake Steve Jobs), and being a vault of resources (e.g. Smashing Magazine), among other things.

Search Engine Roundtable is an excellent example of a successful unique blog in a saturated market. This blog covers specific topics if and only if there’s discussion in a variety of internet marketing forums. The discussion has to be highly specialized and relate to search engines and it must not have originated in the blogosphere; typically, discussions are discovered at WebmasterWorld, High Rankings Forums, Cre8asite Forums, Digital Point Forums, or Sphinn. Is there no related discussion there? Then you won’t get covered.

Specific

Are you a distinguished expert in a topic matter? Bloggers who focus on a niche and tackle it are highly respected among their peers and within their communities. Who do you look up to for productivity tips? Tips on self-improvement? Search marketing? Social media? Small business?

Having a specific focus is what made Dumb Little Man (productivity tips), Lifehacker (productivity and tech), Jonathan Fields (lifestyle, business), The Happiness Project (self improvement), Small Business Trends (small business), Social Media Explorer (PR and social media), and other blogs successful. They’re chock full of great content on the subject matters that their readers care most about. I know exactly what kind of content I am going to get when I go to each blog and there are typically no surprises.

Not yet an expert in a topic, but have aspirations to get there? Read Career Renegade (aff). The premise of the book is about quitting your current job to go after your passion, but it’s got a ton of great ideas to take that topical blog — which could be your business (or not) — to great heights.

Specificity is why SEO blogs exist in great numbers. It’s why we can find social media blogs in the thousands. If there’s an interest in a subject matter, there’s probably a blog. Or two. Or two thousand. And if you want to be first, you certainly can try your hand at it.

Personal

There’s a ton of informational content out there on blogs, though sometimes it’s not about the information that you share that makes you a spectacular blogger. It’s about getting to know who the person is behind the screen. Mommyblogs are a great example of thriving personal blogs; they take you behind the scenes into the life as a parent. Personal accounts of everyday events is what made Dooce and the Bloggess so successful.

You don’t have to make your blog completely personal, though. Instead, give personal stories as it relates to your mission in blogging. Jon Morrow wrote an incredible piece on fighting for your ideas, which is perfect Copyblogger content — except it relates to his battle with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It’s an incredibly personal but powerful piece. Darren Rowse talked about how changing his style in a 90s road trip made him a better blogger today.

Give your readers a taste of the real you. Sometimes it helps to just be yourself.

Analytical

Blogs that take a good look at data and analyze it clearly are hugely resourceful. Brian Solis does this with regular status updates of everything in the social media marketing and PR universe. Yuvi Panda became extremely successful at a young age (15!) because he analyzed other blogs in the space, especially when Robert Scoble picked up on it. Unfortunately, much of Yuvi’s analyses are hidden in the depths of the Wayback Machine, but from what is accessible, the detail is amazing.

People love data, and they love knowing how data can be aggregated to make conclusions. They love charts and graphics, and they love the findings that can be made from this data in aggregate. A good example of this is a recent post on blog lengths in certain industries by Glen Allsopp, who recently guest posted here. By looking at the standard lengths of blogs in certain industries, new bloggers can get a feel for blog word counts that are successful and that which may not be as helpful to grow a new blog.

Detail

Bloggers who actually show that they put their passion into the blog post, offering deep insights instead of just regurgitating news, are the winners of this category. My favorite examples of this come from all corners of the Internet, with some blogs always offering original detailed content (which is what I hope to achieve here on Techipedia) and others providing a mix of news bytes in addition to deeper commentary. A good example of this is Search Engine Land, which features search-related news briefs to keep the public informed of the industry, but also offers two separate categories contributed to by members of the search engine industry that offer great detail: the how-to category and the features and analysis category. Both categories offer a great amount of detail and insights from dozens of experts.

Other blogs only provide detailed content. If something is newsworthy, the blogger turns that into an opportunity to give a detailed analysis into the story. Jeremiah Owyang’s blog does this with deep, meaningful insights. A great example is how he provided a deep matrix into Google Buzz, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter just a few days after Buzz was launched. I actually also found out that PayPal was being accepted via Facebook through Jeremiah and not through the regular blogs I read that cover the social space/tech industry.

Thought-Provoking

Blog posts that make you think once you finish reading the article to improve are the ones that fit this label. Seth Godin’s posts are short but sweet, but he’s so well read not only because he’s been blogging since before I graduated college (which actually was a bit of time ago!) but because his posts are really that thought-provoking. You can’t help but read his posts and get a few takeaways on what to do next. Seth also explains ideas very well through illustration — and have you ever heard him speak? This guy is swimming with thoughts from head to toe. Color me impressed.

Controversy, done correctly, also fits under the notion of thought-provoking blogging content. Two of my three favorite blogs do this regularly; they push the envelope but make the reader (and possibly others) think long and hard about what’s going to happen next. In many cases, their audience is applauding.

Passion

Sometimes bloggers have it. Sometimes bloggers don’t. Bloggers who seethe passion attract visitors who need the inspiration to continue. In an earlier post, I touched upon how Gary Vaynerchuk and Chris Brogan show passion through their work. In everything that they do, it’s evident that they love what they do and will work tirelessly to provide the ultimate experience to their readers, their audience, and their community.

When Danny Sullivan writes his most lengthy and great pieces, you can see passion all over it. You might even feel some emotional bond with some of this kind of content. You can tell that there’s such depth to this content because of the proximity of the “story” to the blogger that you get drawn by it.

Most bloggers, though — at least those who have kept at blogging for such a long time — are the true examples of passion. It’s very hard to provide regular content for readers on a consistent basis, and there are countless bloggers who do so regularly. I’m amazed to see how some people, especially those operating a one-man blogging operation, can do it with different topics every single day. Sure, this might overlap with the first section of this article, but I’ve found it difficult in the writing of this article to separate some themes from others. Most of my favorite blogs are true examples of many of these characteristics.

Instructional

Instructional blogs don’t just give you insights. They actually hold your hand to get it done. Blogs in this category include DIY (do-it-yourself) blogs, such as MAKE or Instructables, or recipe and cooking blogs.

I’ve said in the past that informational videos and how-to content are extremely spreadable. The idea behind this is no different. If people in your community seek you out so that they can learn something new, they’ll follow and they’ll spread the ideas to others too. I see Lifehacker regularly sharing DIY content sourced from several blogs because the content is educational and enriching.

I also come across really savory recipes that just beg a share. And it’s pretty incredible to see how the content across some of these instructional blogs intersects across different online communities. I learn about these new blogs mostly outside the “social” space because they do the hand-holding from start to finish, and as such, they often cater to a wider audience. This is the kind of content that spreads beyond the typical blog reader to an entirely different group of people.

Networked

Being networked is a quality that bloggers must have in order to be successful in this highly saturated space. I’ve been asked more than once about how bloggers, who seem to meet all other criteria — that is, they may be consistent and eloquent and cover a specific niche — can still succeed in the blogging space. The answer, really, lies in thinking outside the blog. In order for people to find you, you need to be able to market your blog to them. How does one do this? Comment on other bloggers’ posts consistently. Send tweets out to the bloggers with your own commentary. Go to local or national face-to-face events to meet other bloggers.

Blogging is an online activity, and one you may think should stay there, but the bottom line is the most successful bloggers are known outside their blogs. (However, they became known through their blogs.) Putting a face to a name can translate to great opportunities. It’s one thing to be a great writer. It’s another to let people know you actually exist in the real world. Face to face networking can help do that.

Bloggers become successful out of staying connected to their peers online too. That’s why you need to engage in other communities, on Twitter, and anywhere else you may find them.

Not all blogs will meet all these criteria, but if you’re a growing success, you will likely find that your habits overlap with a few of these traits: consistency, eloquence, uniqueness, specificity, personal[ity], analytical, detail, thought-provoking, passion, instructional, and networked. The more you can cross off your list, the better your chances for success and influence as a blogger. Who are your favorite bloggers and why?

181 Comments

  • Thank you for this! I love the reminder about passion. Passion!

  • Glen Allsopp says:

    This post is amazing, Tamar. Thanks a lot for including me. I’ve bookmarked it so I can come back and get all of the goodness, but really liking what I’ve read so far.

    P.S. You are the Queen of getting tweets ;)

    • Thanks Glen — you are amazing!

      And tangential ramble: If only the tweetmeme button was working better…. I can’t RT this article on Chrome or Firefox and I’ve gotten complaints too! :P

  • Kelly says:

    Great post. Definitely bookmarking it as a constant reminder. I often question whether my blog is all these things, so it will be good to check in once a month and see if I feel I am covering all or most of these characteristics.

  • Ingrid Abboud says:

    A wonderful and very insightful piece Tamar. It allows you to see step by step how your blog (meaning one’s own personal blog) measures up to each point. I’m sure this post will be an eye-opener for many bloggers – at least it was for me :). Thank you.

  • Mark Dykeman says:

    Tamar, it’s interesting how you cite eloquence as a characteristic. That’s not something you hear about in today’s scanning culture, but I think it’s important. Great article!

  • Bill Cammack says:

    Great Points, Tamar! :D

  • Thanks for the post. I struggle with the aspects of putting in a lot of useful information vs. just expressing my thoughts and opinions. I know I have to loosen up a bit as I progress. Getting to a once a day routine will take a while.

    • Hi Stephen, thanks for commenting. Don’t stress about a once-a-day routine. I don’t do that myself. I try to aim for once a week, but sometimes that can be super hard.

      Nobody said it would be easy! Do what makes you comfortable. You may have to push yourself a bit, but it will be worthwhile in the end.

  • Thanks Tamar, that was a thought-provoking and instructional blog post!

  • Haider says:

    An excellent piece, Tamar!

    There’s a quality I appreciate in other bloggers, and aspire to develop in myself. I don’t know how to sum it up in a word, but I’d like to describe it as:

    “Not Hogging the Spotlight.”

    When a blogger leaves me a comment, I like to check out their blog and offer them a compliment.

    When they reference their own work, I like to read what they’ve written and express my appreciation.

    After all, I’m trying to promote ideas and would like to collaborate with like-minded individuals. Offering them support and encouragement advances my cause. I don’t have to be on the stage to do that. I can be the one that directs the spotlight on those who deserve it.

    You do this quite well in this post! ;)

  • Sarah says:

    I have read a few of these types of posts but the difference with yours is that you give clickable examples of blogs/writers that you like. Thanks, very useful as a resource.

  • Sang Duong says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I am working building my blog and this has most helpful! :)

  • Great (timeless?) post – any tips on putting a post like this together? Planning, brainstorming, collecting thoughts…

    • My biggest tip is to let your passion drive you.

      This post was started nearly a month ago and I perfected it over time. Actually, I started writing it late at night while getting ready for bed. With my mind filled with these ideas, I left the room to express myself with pen and paper in hand (yes, not the computer!) and started jotting down my thoughts.

      As I mentioned in the post, there are 53 post drafts of this. On the Google Buzz submission, someone asked me about why I didn’t hire a proofreader, and to that, I answered, “I’m my biggest critic.” But it’s more than that. The act of writing, as Brian Carter said in the comments, is rewriting. It’s something you need to work really hard at and give it your all.

      I didn’t publish this right when I started writing it in January because it wasn’t a polished piece. I didn’t have great examples and I didn’t have good descriptions. But over time, I worked at it repeatedly, night after night, and the dream of making this post come alive was realized.

      I’m not sure if this is the advice you’re seeking. I was passionate to make it happen, so I worked on it again and again and again. I saved it through iteration and iteration. But it’s a process that is brought about by passion, and that is what you need to think about.

      • Thanks for detailing this – it’s sometimes hard to realize the amount of work that goes into these postings. I definitely take your point about passion.

        Writing at night is an interesting one. Do you ever try writing at different times of the day? Say first thing in the morning? I’ve found that earlier in the day I’m more analytical, whereas once it gets into the night, my noodle works well for brainstorming and wondering all over the place.

        • Oops! Sorry for the delay on the response, Daryl. Akismet flagged your follow-up comment as spam.

          Yes, I try my best to write during my free time. As a relatively new mom, though, my writing revolves around a schedule, and that schedule isn’t my own. :)

          I actually have found my best “writing” to happen when I’m not actually writing but am deep in thought. I can “write” a great piece in my head, but once I sit at the computer, it takes a lot more effort to say things that flow as freely. Usually this is while I’m laying in bed or in the shower or walking to some appointment. It’s never when I’m actually at the computer since I’m always being drawn in so many different directions when the monitor is in front of me!

          I haven’t quite seen a more analytical side of me at any time of the day, though. I think it really depends on my mood.

  • Ken Wohl says:

    Hey Tamar…ever since I discovered your blog you’ve been providing me great information and great inspiration. Thanks again for an excellent post.

    People love to look at the big picture of things (as do I) but it’s very hard to cover everything in one blog. If you open a newspaper and take a look, even within the Sports section, their’s specific writers who consistently tackle specific topics. They rarely have one writer covering the details of every local sports team. It’s just impossible to do. So before someone decides to start their blog, remember that quality not quantity is what brings the cream to the top. As much as you have an opinion on all of Google for example, it’s going to be very hard to cover it all on your own. Save that for a personal blog that’s more for your friends, family, and yourself to follow. Pick a specific aspect of Google for example (Buzz, Gmail, Ghcat, Mergers & Acquisitions, etc.) to cover on your blog. If you succeed in that, then you can always expand into other aspects and you’ll probably have some room to invest in bringing on another writer or two.

    I always like to think big but on a daily basis, work small (if you get my drift).

    On another note, Tamar has inspired me to start my own blog which I’m beginning to put together…hopefully I’ll be able to add some of my own insights into these types of topics. THANKS TAMAR!!!!

    • VERY good point. When I first started blogging, I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about (some of my earlier posts were about the iPod, SEO which I still cover to a lesser extent, Gmail, and StumbleUpon site discoveries) but they all helped me figure out my voice. When you start blogging, you may not have a deep direction. Time helps you carve your niche, and if you have the passion I speak of, you can really pull through.

      Can’t wait to see your blog!

  • Adam Sherk says:

    Great tips Tamar. Especially for newer bloggers, it can be difficult to find the right balance between establishing appropriate frequency/consistency and delivering well thought out, genuinely useful posts (not to mention finding your voice). Too often bloggers post just to get something out there, which isn’t helpful to anyone in the long run. Although I will say that even well established bloggers are guilty of the occassional “filler post” – but the best ones have a very good quality vs. filler post ratio.

    • Yup! And some of that filler content can still be good in some capacity. However, when you blog less frequently and have some filler content that isn’t really useful, you might be in trouble.

      There’s a blogger whose newsletter I subscribe to. I signed up from the pressure of my peers who said that there was some great content in those emails. Initially, I saw that too. Lately, though, the content has been “filler,” and quite frankly, lousy (can we say way too many promotions and no good balance of decent stuff?). I realize that this blogger has sold us out.

      If you’re a blogger, stick to what your readers expect of you. Promoting every affiliate offer in your midst and pimping your friends — while losing sight of why your newsletter subscribers (or blog readers!) have come to you to begin with — is totally not a good way to engage your audience and keep them wanting to come back.

  • Good stuff here. I’d add authentic but it’s def. inferred.

    • Yup — authenticity is probably a vital part of “passion.” I don’t think one can be passionate without being authentic. Very good catch, Blake :) Thanks for commenting!

  • Rebecca says:

    Great post! :)

    All excellent points, and definately a post I will refer to again. As a “non-professional” blogger, I’ve found consistency helps to maintain momentum and creativity. At the same time, if you blog on a (semi)schedule it “fits” in with the rest of life easier. Kind of like scheduling time to get to the gym! It can all fit if it all has it’s place…

    • Yup, thanks Rebecca!

      While I used to write for two huge blogs (Lifehacker and Search Engine Roundtable) that required 4-6 posts per day, I know how incredibly difficult it is to do this. Now I’m a (semi new?) mom, which contributed to me not blogging for most of 2009, and getting back into the blogging groove was an incredible obstacle. I don’t blog 6-10 times a day anymore but I can’t tell you how incredibly difficult it is for me to find good content every week — and I’m only blogging once a week! However, you’re totally right: it’s like scheduling “gym time.” You have to haul your ass out there and you might be grunting along the way, but the reward will pay off big time :)

  • Thank you for the reminder. We’re always experimenting and tweaking to make Blogging Innovation the place to make innovation and marketing insights accessible for the greater good.

    Braden
    @innovate

  • Deni Kasrel says:

    Tamar,
    Happy to know that I am not the only person who uber-proof reads her blog posts. Even then, every once in a while a blooper slips through — thanks to the nature of the web such gaffes need not remain everlasting.

    And bravo for bringing up the issue of eloquence. While I understand that blogging is personal and therefore need not necessarily conform to formal journalistic standards, there is definitely something to be said for the well-written word. Too many bloggers are just chugging things out and not giving thought to how it reads. I too enjoy Brian Solis and Adam Singer for this reason, among others, and will check out Lisa Barone on your recommendation. Thanks for the tip.

    • Yes, I sometimes get emails pointing out errors, and that’s fine. Sure, I’m highly critical of my work, but gaffes like that are bound to happen. Oh well :D

      Deni, thanks so much for commenting!

  • Jacki Hobbin says:

    Wow, what an extensive post and round-up; some great blogs and bloggers for me to check out.

    One of my favorites is Danny Brown – I love the way that, no matter what he writes, it’s always thinking from a human and people angle. Social media, marketing, technology tools – he always brings it back to how the human voice can shine through. And his passion for his community is amazing – highly recommended!

    http://dannybrown.me

  • Lumla says:

    Its really interesting to read. Great keep it up.
    Thanks
    Lumla Thomas

  • Keith Schoch says:

    Terrific list! I hope I can aspire to all of these. Blogging more than once a day though? Yeah… Not going to happen. I write pretty long posts and it’s me, myself, and I posting.

    I also think these traits describe not just great bloggers, but great writers as well. When I asked to join a friend’s writing group, and told him that I wrote blogs, he said, “Sorry, our group’s for real writers.” Sheesh…

    • Thanks Keith for commenting :)

      It’s a bit disappointing that your friend said that. I linked to Adam Singer’s rant about that in the article above, but for reference, here are two pieces that you should send to your friend:

      * Since When are Bloggers Not Writers? by Adam Singer
      * Playing Writer God with Bloggers by Jonathan Fields

      I wonder if I’m a real writer. I published a book, which, ironically, I scored through blogging. That’s right. I wouldn’t have gotten a book deal if it weren’t for this blog.

  • Your post covers it all! I have bookmarked this page as a reminder that I WILL use!

  • Thanks Tamar for giving such insights..

    It’s consistent … it’s eloquence … it’s unique … it’s specific … it’s thought-provoking n of course, it’s passion- filled.

    Loved it.

  • Brian says:

    an excellent post…very instructive. Thanks!

  • Rita says:

    Great article. It inspired me to keep going.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  • Mike Myatt says:

    Hi Tamar:

    I really enjoyed your post which I stumbled upon via Steve Rubel. While I’ve found all the traits you mentioned to be valuable, what has created the most traction for me is what you referred to as being thought provoking. If a blog can cause its readers to challenge their thinking and confront the status quo, then in my book the blog becomes truly valuable. Thanks again for your thoughts Tamar…

    • Thanks Mike. I absolutely agree and I think that there’s a lot of influence in leaving an everlasting impression. “Let’s give them something to talk about” is what Bonnie Raitt would say. I say, “Let’s give them something to think about.” :)

  • Sally says:

    This is a great and timely post. I am considering all things online at present as I’m in start-up mode. Recently I’ve pondered whether to bother with blogging – I’ve got loads of ideas – but as you suggested, is it just clogging up the blogosphere. The tips are great and will help me focus my message (I see your tips applying to more than just a blog)! Thank you

  • Carolyn says:

    Thank you for this post. You’ve managed to concisely communicate info that I’ve been looking for, and in a way that an amateur like myself can understand and appreciate. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to anyway: I love that you’re a woman!

    Thanks again

  • Thank you for all this good advice!

  • Cheryl Allin says:

    Wow! I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time today and I have to say how amazing this post is! It’s so good, I should have had to pay to read it! Seriously, I’ve been spending this week looking at my process and trying to build some momentum and I’ll be putting a link to this post on my ‘check once a week’ planner so I can suck the marrow of advice out of it. :) Fantastic!

  • Doug Smith says:

    Thanks, Tamar for the great tips. I am going to be a newbie to the blogosphere in mid-March when I plan to go live with a Health & Wellness blog tentatively called “A Wealth of Health”. The blog was born from my experiences discovering a new healthy lifestyle after battling alcoholism for many years. When I finally realized I needed help and spent some time in treatment (rehab and counselling) I discovered that good health is way more than just eating your veggies, exercising and being ‘regular’ (and staying sober, of course). I’m hoping to share my perspective on the big picture of healthy living with my readers and I have been a blog sponge for months trying to learn as much as I can about the craft of blogging. Your tips are much appreciated.

    • That’s really exciting, Doug, and something that could help — especially from a readers’ perspective — is to tell stories. People love stories, and I think your experiences will be very enriching and enlightening for your readers.

      Best of luck, and thanks for commenting!

  • This article should be issued with every new blog username. It’s the most concise and actionable list I’ve seen yet, and I’m going to hang it up next to my desk! Great for new bloggers and old-hand bloggers alike.

  • Jay G. says:

    Thanks for this post. I’m just starting out blogging. I find it simply as a hobby. Writing helps along with my studies. So I feel I might as well kill two birds with one shot. The tips are also helpful.

  • Jay White says:

    This is an invaluable post and the fact that you listed Dumb Little Man in it has nothing to do with the compliment. There are probably twenty crap-free great articles floating around the web that really tell prospective bloggers ‘how to’ do it and more importantly, how to improve their chances at success. This article is definitely one one them.

    Jay

  • I think the top three things are consistency, passion, and personal. Without any of those three things, blogger lose followers real fast. Great list, certainly something to strive for!

    • Thanks. I hope you notice, though, based on the comments here, that authenticity is also part of this, and it’s an expectation I have of commenters. Since the comment box asks for your real name, and since I know your first legal name is likely not Promotional (and your last legal name is probably also not Products), I’ve edited out the URL from your comments. Please do not exploit my blog to rank higher. Read more on this from Lee Odden.

      This is not the first time “superior” Promotional Products has spammed my blog, and I have edited every single superior promos link. I’d much rather pay homage to this promotional products company. I highly recommend rushIMPRINT.

  • Great post and for me, timely as I came down with the blog bug. I find your blogs to be to the point and that, as i am learning, is a rare accomplishment. Can’t wait to hear about your exciting initiatives!

  • Thanks, I hope to cover at least some of these with my blog, although I do mine mostly for fun and self-promotion! :D

  • Dave Naves says:

    again… completely blown away with your posts, tamar. although i’ve been developing websites for the past couple of decades, i’m fairly new to blogging. (cobbler’s children syndrome)

    what you say about credibility, passion, provoking thought and attention to detail really moves me. you practice what you preach while maintaining a very personal touch when you write. (which makes me want to read more and subscribe to every feed you have to offer)

    from your suggestions, i will employ what i can… i’m not a trained writer, but i’m very passionate about what i do. and although the subject matter is probably boring for many, i hope to share with folks what i’ve learned about building sites over the years. (some big – some small) even if it’s just sharing my many mistakes to avoid them making future ones. =)

    thanks again for putting your mind-share out into the ether.

    cheers,
    //dave

    • Thanks for the compliments, Dave. It’s hard work but it pays off.

      And from what I’ve seen of your writings, you’re not too bad at all! The best writers just let it come from the heart; training isn’t always needed. :)

  • Gary Chow says:

    Thanks so much for a very insightful post. I am new to blogging and often feel quite discouraged because of what I see on the web. There are so many blogs, many of them written so well that I wonder, ‘what the heck can I offer that isn’t already out there – and in spades!’. You’ve given me a few ideas to explore further. Ta!

  • Doug DuCap says:

    Thanks so much for linking to my cooking blog! What a wonderful surprise!

  • Wow, even though this article was lengthy, it was a very good look into the world of blogging that we all live in.

    Great read.

    Thank you.

  • Vit says:

    Thanks for a helpful post. Very informative for any blogger, especially for a struggling one like myself. Most of the ideas I intuitively figured out on my own and I think I manage to implement them in my blog. Except, maybe, the last but not the least – on the Networking. So I will have to work on that one with more focus. At any rate, it is very good to have these ideas consolidated and categorized the way it’s done in this post.

  • Terry Heaton says:

    Tamar,

    As others have noted, this is an outstanding post, and I plan on borrowing from it — with appropriate attribution — in not only teaching my students by also my clients. When I do workshops with professional media people about blogging, I use many of these, although the language is a little different. The biggest thing I tell them is to “be real,” which you might consider for a 12th. Artificiality is a curse in the social media world, and while you may be able to get away with it when you’re working for a stage, you can’t when you’re on your own. Great work.

    Terry

  • Lois Geller says:

    I did a speech last week and was talking about corporate blogs and who should be the spokesperson for the brand. How does a company take a chance that it’s blog voice (and in some cases it is the brand voice) might leave the company…and take that personality with them.
    Dell Computers has developed a great Twitter presence with Lionel and blogs have the same. What do you think about the viability of corporate blogs, Tamar?

    • Hi Lois, thanks for writing. The issue of the “personality” leaving with the brand is something that is totally understandable. Scott Monty of Ford is the big case study for this one. The idea is that it’s a challenge and one that really should be communicated before the person comes in the employ of the company with regards to these types of goals.

      As far as the viability of corporate blogs, I think that they have potential, but I think that their writers also need to follow these tips outlined in the post above, especially as it relates to networking (to like-minded bloggers!). But most importantly, when people think about “corporate” blogs, they expect such blogs to have no human voice. The viability of the medium really depends on humanizing the company. People don’t actively return to those press release sections of a website because they’re written in corporate jargon. They will return to a blog if it’s written well and represents the human side of a company.

  • Lois Geller says:

    Thanks Tamar. Many of our clients have “jumped into” blogging, and you’re right ..they are dull as dish water.
    Some of the folks here visiting your blog might feel the same way I did when I read your book: http://www.joyofdirectmarketing.com/the-new-community-rules-marketing-on-the-social-web/strategy

    I am re-reading it again, because it is filled with good insights.

  • Ausmusterung says:

    Great tips – also for the videos. thank you darling.

  • Hi.
    I am still quite new to blogging and hoping to provide valuable content to anybody reading my blog. Thanks for a great post, there are lots of things for me to keep in mind when I produce more content.
    Thanks
    Chris

  • Pallav says:

    You should never take blogging as a duty. It’s all about passion :)

    Great write up

    Blessings

  • Ched says:

    Sigh. I’ve always wanted to have a blog of my own but I could never decide on what I want it to be about. Hopefully, all this reading and educating myself about what to do and what not to do with my own blog will come to good soon. These are really good tips for my future blog. :)

    This interview with John Carlton http://budurl.com/xvdp is another article that gave me a lot of insight. For those of us who take writing seriously, whether it’s blogging or something else, this is knowledge that can really come in handy.

    • Hey Chad, thanks for writing. Once you decide on what to write about, having an editorial calendar will be important, so that you can determine what to write on and you can have a plan laid out. I hope that it helps you!

  • Great blog post Tamar! I really enjoyed it, but I’d love to get your perspective as to which, if any, of these characteristics do you believe can be learned vs. which ones have a tendency to be a natural byproduct of that particular blogger. I think if you are passionate for a particular topic or subject that all of the others characteristics can be learned. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Hi Andrea, good question. I think passion is the only natural byproduct. Everything can be learned, but it takes time and practice.

      Even networking is something that can be learned. I’m an introvert. When networking with the right people, though, I come out of my shell. I know other bloggers who feel the same way. It takes time to network, but once you can really interact with people who believe in the same things you do, you see a whole world of difference.

  • What a wealth of great information! Thank you for taking the time to share this. I particularly liked you final point about “thinking outside the blog”. For me the goal of social technologies is to make connections with other people. One benefit of the blog is that when I do encounter people in real life who have been reading my blog — or whose blog I’ve been reading — we begin our conversations at a much deeper level than if we had just met at the event that brought us together. That means the conversations we have when we do get together can be much more productive.

  • adam quean says:

    Brilliant article, will be bookmarking this as it’s something I could do with reminding myself of every now and again!

  • Great points and I love the fact that you include examples. Some of the points can get ambiguous and are a matter of interpretation. Your suggestions help illustrate your point. I love picking up information like this as I am moving into the next phase of my product development. I witnessed so many changes in 2009 so I feel like I am slowly working my way in the ‘know’ of blogging and social media.

    Thanks for the post.
    Jackie

  • Tamar,

    I try to do all these every day :) Question: This would be a great topic for RISE. Would you like to come on the show in the near future via Skype to chat about this observations? (you can find out more on the site linked up) and feel free to reach me at David AT DSGagency.com

  • Great post… makes me see I have ALOT of work to hit high on all topics you covered.

    Has been printed and pinned to board right in front my eyes for constant reminder how and why I need to do better..

    Yea I agree with Glen..you are a RT magnet..lol

  • I totally get the ‘passion’ bit! You have to have passion to do this as it’s all consuming Inever stop learning and compared to you I am but a babe in arms….. Loving your blog. Learning loads! Thank you!

  • Anthony says:

    You have all 11 Characteristics of Highly Influential Blogger. Great Post.

  • Just wanted to thank you – I really needed these reminders after an exasperating day. Sometimes it’s a struggle to try and stand out and in that struggle, I forget a point or two that you mentioned above. All are key to keep on track. Thanks again.

  • Martin says:

    Thanks, great blog post. I wonder if anyone could actually master all of those 11 items well? But this is a good checklist to keep in mind and improve step-by-step.

    • Martin – some can, some can’t. Some don’t because their readers don’t want it, too. For example, I wouldn’t expect some blogs to be “personal” because their nature is informational and analytical. But … having these traits and being able to do them is huge. :) Thanks for commenting!

  • Kelli says:

    Great tips! Innovation is key to keeping folks engaged. Something should set a blog apart from others. Thanks for sharing examples of innovative bloggers. It’s great to see cutting edge folks out there.

    Kelli

  • Oli says:

    Great for new bloggers and old-hand bloggers alike.

  • Rebecca says:

    this is a great post – thoughtful and interesting!

  • Hieu Nguyen says:

    Thank you for this. It was a great help.

    Editor’s note: Link removed.

  • Mara Gordon says:

    Thank you, Tamar, for your excellent post. My blog has been evolving as I’ve recognized my desire to move more into commentary, with feature length travel articles sprinkled in. As a result, I’m working on the launch of an online magazine-style format that will have a place for other occasional bloggers to post as well. Your insights will serve as a valuable resource.

  • xmizanx says:

    thanks for that pretty advice

  • Tola says:

    Enjoyed reading this Tamar.
    It was really thought provoking and I guess it got be thinking about lots of things for my blog as well. Like directions and why I’m actually doing it…
    Thanks for that…

  • Scott Dylan says:

    Another great piece Tamar.

    Scott Dylan

  • Great post, very helpful!

    I was actually wondering what’s your opinion about blogging in a different language than English? I launched my new blog today (I want to make a business from this) about simple living and working (slightly different from lifehacking) but I’m still in doubt about continuing in Dutch or changing to English. English is not that hard for me, but I think I’m a much better writer in Dutch. But obviously by writing in English I would be able to reach a much wider audience.

    • Patty, I don’t think anything’s wrong with writing in the language you’re comfortable in. You can still exert influence in a different community — it doesn’t have to be the English-speaking one.

  • Bernice Wood says:

    This is a great list for a new blogger to strive for. And it is awesome how you give examples for each characteristics so we can get a trye feel for what you mean for us it ‘get’. Thanks so much for the info as I work to build my blog!
    http://bernicewood.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/can-you-please-turn-down-the-noise/

  • seenu says:

    One thing I learned from this article is post regularly and be specific.
    then you get loyal readers.

  • One mistake I think many bloggers make as well is just talk about themselves. Bloggers need to remember if they want to an authority in the blogosphere you need to be a resource to others. Enjoyed the post!!

  • carmen says:

    Tamar, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog.I’ve just entered the world of internet marketing but with a different approach.I’m currently trying my hand at building a site selling physical products from Amazon.Have you ever tried this approach yourself?

  • Joseph says:

    Hi
    Uniqueness would be the most important factor I guess. The information is very much helpful for every blogger. If there is a room for site visitor interaction like a poll or a forum. Will it do good tamar? In my blog I included a poll about Social Media and the results would be displayed to them.A admire Navigation friendly blogs as well. Thanks for this great info.

  • Mahavir says:

    Good post. I always have a question in my mind that from where these blogger bring such content means they read some sort of books or mazagines and then write in their own words in their blog or they invent the content using their mind.

  • Thank you for the post. I have noticed blogs that do well have lots of new content. I used to post 3-4 times a week and traffic was dismal. I have started posted daily and sometimes twice a day in different categories and traffic is spiking. Becoming more focused on what it takes to succeed with my blog seems to be the key. I love travel. I love writing. I love hanging with my family… so I blended all three.

  • John says:

    Great piece on successful blogging. A piece of wisdom that seems to hold true is that there is no great writing; only great re-writing. Your 53 revisions to this post provides a great example of that! — and something I need to be more proactive with my own re-writing. Thanks!

  • Anita Clark says:

    These are the keys and a good reason why so many fail to have blogging longevity…it’s not an easy road to venture down. Good post, enjoyed it!

  • rambabu seo says:

    yes these are some of the best characteristics helping any bloggers to form their blog in a way they want, Thanks Tamar for such a nice post. .

  • Henry Sim says:

    Very good list. Yes I would love to follow a blogger who has such characteristics. One of my favorite in the IM world is Jennifer aka PotpieGirl.
    Love her style of writing. BTW I love your post as well, very well presented and easy to read through.

  • kathlyn says:

    This is one amazing list of GUIDELINES to follow. I am very new to blogging and I really got inspired and motivated by the way you explained it.

    Salamat!

    Kathlyn

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