Yeah, I’m getting into it, I’m asking the big blogger question! It’s the one question every blogger, aspiring blogger, online editor and writer who’s publishing online content is asking themselves. What makes a blog successful?
I’ve been asking these questions for ages, way before I had even finalized my decision to even start this blog. Many articles have been read, I even took myself some online marketing classes, learned about SEA and SEO, conversion tracking, email marketing, affiliate marketing, you name it I’ll explain it to you. No, I’m joking, but what I want to say is, I’ve really tried to educate myself about these topics to create this platform that’s both entertaining and yet contentful. And the bottomline is that everywhere I’ve looked, every class that I’ve taken and many people I’ve talked on this topic about – it all came down to one simple word: content.
Good content! But what does that mean?
As I said, the most important thing that’s deciding on success or failure is to have good content! Yeah, I got it having good content is the goal, but what on earth is good content? As I’ve learned in my studies there are some so called media factors that apply in the sector of traditional media. These media factors deal with issues like currency, geographic closeness, unexpectedness, frequency, etc. to see the full list just hit this link right here, which will lead you to the specific wikipedia article. I do agree with certain points, but when it comes to let’s say geographic closeness, I kinda disagree, because I don’t necessarily think it’s required to attract readers. Especially in our time, we can consume information from all over the world, get an insight into different cultures about what’s going on in the world. And in my mind blogs do have a huge advantage in terms of accessibility in comparison to let’s say local newspapers.
Anyway, as I was doing my research, I was thinking about what appeals to me as interesting content. And since I have a short attention span, I got bored about my research and instead of browsing through various websites in the search for blogging advices, I began writing my very own list of what I thought could lead to creating an interesting blog! But before we really dig into it I do have to mention that these characteristics that I’m going to tell you about are just a personal opinion and by all means will not fully represent the whole complexity and subjectivity of what makes great content – whatever that means. Anyway starting off with number 1!
And yes, I’ve learned that from Google! Firstly, the topic or the person that I’m interviewing has to be relevant to me in order to even pay interest in writing about them to you in the first place. There has to be some kind of additional value to the article. And honestly, I personally always follow my gut when it comes to the decision whether or not I’m going to write about a certain topic, but I’ll come to this one later. If it’s relevant to me, I’m just naively assuming that it has to be relevant to someone out there with internet access and an electronic device. That’s it!
Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content! There are so many blogs out there, so I think the best way to differ oneself from the others is to set yourself the highest standard possible, take yourself a moment and internalizing that you are going to put this article into the endless spheres of the world wide web and really ask yourself if it’s good enough to be published. Believe me, I’ve written several articles that just didn’t make the cut because at the end of the day they weren’t good enough. And even though we’re living in such a fast consuming society, I still believe that quality beats quantity! Period!
I know, that this condition is not invented by me either, but I just want to emphasize that personalization is a huge part of what makes a good blog in my opinion. In comparison to classic media, where it’s sometimes an absolute duty to at least trying your best in stying objective about the topic you’re reporting on, I see it in turns of blogs as an immense advantage that your personal webspace is providing literally space for your own opinion. If I’m not interested in your personal opinion I’m not gonna go check out your blog. It’s the perks of being a blogger that you’re not only allowed to have your own opinion on things, it’s also expected from you! Which leads me to my next point …
4) Process of reasoning
Don’t just claim random statements! At least I’m really careful with that. I personally don’t like contradictions or reading articles that don’t feel round. I’m not saying that everything should be black or white, there are a lot of things that appear to be converse but don’t necessarily exclude one another. Just because I can’t think about a better example I’m giving you Beyoncé. I really used to see her actions and her claiming herself a feminist under a very critical eye and for a long time perceived it as a huge double standard, until I saw an interview with a person whose opinion I really respect saying that fighting for equal rights as a public figure but still finding a way to express their personal sexuality in a sensitive and provoking way doesn’t necessarily need to exclude one another. That made me reconsider my judgmental attitude towards Beyoncé. As a matter of fact this perspective of that I have never thought of before was a true learning experience for me. Anyway, Beyoncé is a whole other topic I might be talking about someday, maybe. What I want to say is, at the end of the day to me it’s really important that there’s a reason of how and why you’re justifying a specific argumentation, which guides me to my next point …
To me there’s just no bigger turn off than reading articles that appear to be inauthentic. Sometimes that can be funny for entertainment reasons, but other than that I just can’t take it seriously. Same goes for real life situations, where I’m listening to people talking and at the same time the voice in my head that screams “You’re not authentic and I’m not buying what you’re saying!” is almost too loud to be able to hearing what the person has to say. That’s the reason, why I try to be as honest as I can possibly be about the topics I chose to talk about, because everything else would just be absurd. Moreover I personally very much dislike just random click baiting headlines. Not that sensationalizing headlines are not interesting, but when there’s just nothing behind it, it’s nothing but frustrating to the readers. On the other hand you do not only come across inauthenticity in unsatisfying headlines but in articles as well, which leads me to another thing I can’t deal with – socially desirable conduct. Ugh, it’s the worst when you’re about to experience this moment where you realize that this person’s opinion is not sincere and doesn’t come from an honest place, but is just trying to please you with their specific perspective. Intelligent readers will instantly get you busted! Don’t think you can fool your readers. People are very sensitive when it comes to concerns like socially desirable responses. Only less than smart readers will overlook inconveniences like that and those I assume are not the kind of people you want to attract on your blog.
In my opinion this is really one of the hardest things to live up to. When you’re a blogger, people automatically will be curious about the person behind the keyboard, I get that. Intimacy kinda also goes hand in hand with authenticity, but as far as I’m seeing it authenticity has to deal with trying to be the truest version to yourself towards your audience, whereas intimacy is really letting people be able to share a common space with you to get a grasp of who you are as a person. But letting your walls down and making yourself vulnerable is something that’s not easy. I’m not saying you have to sell yourself out on anything but you’ve got to provide a certain attainability when it comes to your person, in order to let the readers who basically don’t know you personally bond with you and allow them to be able to relate to the things you’re saying. It’s also about creating a space and finding a balance between not overexposing yourself since I think it can become annoying and boring quickly and at the same time maintaining a level of mystery about you as a person to keep the readers engaged. I know that’s a tough one and I’m also still working on that!
This kind of goes hand in hand with relevance, but it’s even thought a step ahead. Utility to me means, that you as writers, content consumers have to gain something out of reading that interview or that article. In which ways do readers benefit from consuming that specific content? That is a very important question to be asked which eventually needs to be answered even before start writing an article. Is there any learning experience, a teaching moment or just an eyeopening experience attached that’s able to broaden the readers’ horizons in any sort of way?
I don’t know how you feel about it but unfortunately I know that the best ideas always come to me before I want to go to sleep, which sometimes is costing me a lot of precious sleeping hours. And through experience I’ve learned that trying to re-scheduling the writing onto the next day is not working for me, since for whatever reason I’m not really able to talk about it the next the in the same way that I would have been able to the day before. You know what I mean? It’s strange, but it is what it is. And what I’ve learned from that is, don’t re-schedule articles you’re passionate about writing right now onto the next day. If you have so say something now, then do it!
9) Gut feeling
To me this is probably the most important and least profound way of approaching to write about something! Eventually everything comes down to the fact that your blog enables you to add your very own personal flavor to a specific content. Just listen to what you’re gut instinct is telling you and basically forget about everything else. I firmly believe that you’re able to develop a qualified gut feeling over the years that includes everything that I’ve said above anyway. So if you have the opportunity to create a blog, then seize it as your very personal playground and words will be your toys!
10) Trial and Error
So far so good! And again, this is a very personal and highly subjective list of characteristics that might lead to as what we consider to be good content. But let me warn you, please don’t judge me if you’ll come across an article that’s not living up to half of what I said in this article. Sometimes I just want to try out things, be creative with this medium and have fun with it. It’s important to try things out which is helping you to find out which articles perform well and what people are not buying into!
Let me know what you think about it and make it a learning experience for all of us. Talk to me in the comment section below and tell me about your experiences as a blogger or if you’re a reader make some suggestions what kinda topics you would like me to talk about!