Over time popular bloggers build up hundreds or thousands of subscribers. These
subscribers are people interested in the field or topics that blogger writes about.
Each time those bloggers write a new post those readers get notified of the new
content in their RSS readers.
• everytime you had an idea to share, that 5,000 people who trust your
opinions see it.
• most of those 5,000 also write blogs in your field or related fields.
• some of those bloggers frequently mention your site
• some of those bloggers also have thousands of subscribers.
Blogs are all about spreading ideas (via in content links) and accumulating
attention. Where people go search engines follow. If many people link to your blog
posts that also boosts your search engine rankings for the other parts of your site.
If you write a frequently updated blog the media is more likely to believe you are a
topical expert than if you are just a merchant selling goods in your industry.
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IBM gave away a free report called the End of Advertising, which talks about how
infinite user choice is making us less willing to accept selfish and interruption
driven marketing. This means that going forward if you want to spread an idea
one of the easiest ways to do it is to BE THE MEDIA. To summarize the key
message from their report:
The "voice" delivering a message, along with its perceived authenticity, will
become as powerful perhaps as the message or offer.
Due to a rapidly increasing number of competing channels, each publisher is vying
for a smaller piece of the pie. As people like you and me spread stories of blogging
success, it gets harder to jump into the blogging game late.
There are many strategies you can use to accumulate attention against more
If you are passionate about a topic it shows. People who share that passion do not
subscribe to your blog, they subscribe to that passion. And they also share it with
Each of us is brilliant and highly flawed. We are all human. Communities are built
around commonly shared ideas and shared points of personal identity. We are
more likely to listen to and believe those who tell us things confirming our
worldviews than people who challenge them.
Fox News is successful because it turned news into biased entertainment. Many of
the most popular blogs are popular because they are biased and entertaining.
It is easy to build a community around negativity, but it is hard to profit from that
type of community. People looking to spend money are more interested in stories
of hope and success.
With there already being 1,000’s of SEO blogs, I would not start a new blog
focused on SEO in 2008. The only way I would allow myself to do that is if I was
focused on SEO for a specific vertical like real estate or if I was focusing on a
subset of SEO like link building.
From a publishing standpoint, owning an idea is much more valuable than being a
#57 player in a larger market. The top site in any niche gets more media exposure,
more self reinforcing exposure, and can charge more for ads than a site which is
viewed as an also ran.
We thin slice the information we see and make quick judgement calls. We are more
likely to trust and subscribe to sites that:
• are aesthetically appealing with a unique site design
• make important content, like top posts and about us pages, easy to find
• rely on simple words and short sentences, and are thus easy to read and
• are well structured – with headings, subheadings, pictures, videos, and
bulleted lists to help break up the content
Filter & Offer High Content Quality
Tools such as Google Reader, iGoogle, Google Alerts, and custom RSS news feeds
make it easy to subscribe to and read a lot of information. If you read 50 different
websites and only cover the best parts you save other people the time it took you
to read 50 different websites.
Some of the better bloggers also write drafts, save them, and finish them a few days
If you are selling content off your blog it may make sense to post less frequently
but only publish your best content. That makes your time appear more valuable,
and makes your content quality better than a person who feels they have to write
about everything. Jakob Nielson’s Write Articles, Not Blog Postings offers additional
background on filtering and content quality.
Many of the top channels got to be top channels by adding original content and
value to their marketplace. Others may have got there by stroking the egos of key
players in their market.
Your content quality does not matter until you get people to consume it. So here
are a few tips to help you get noticed
• Quote and link to popular bloggers, and add value to the conversion
• Leave valuable useful comments on popular related blogs
• Write articles for other popular blogs
• Create community based ideas and ask for feedback or involvement of
community members before launching it
• Actively solicit comments and reply to them
• Network offline at industry trade shows, conferences, and community
• Don’t be afraid of controvercy. If you gain mindshare and authority some
envious parties will hate you for it.
• Add enough value to ideas that people talk about you when referencing
• Encouraging contribution from others and highlighting their contributions
builds a community effect to your site
People appreciate regularity. Some bloggers ask for guest bloggers while they go on
vacation, while others pre-write draft posts that they publish periodically when
news is slow.
If you are short on ideas to write about then participate in your community and/or
solicit feedback and questions until you find good topics to write about.
Wait to Monetize
It is hard to win mindshare in competitive markets with a new site, especially if you
run too many ads on your site. If you place AdSense or other ads above your
content on a brand new blog people are going to be less trusting of your blog.
Blogs are often hard to monetize using contextual ads, but tend to have great
revenue potential if you sell branded ads, create your own products, or use your
blog to create opportunities for indirect revenue.
Brian Clark released a great report to launch his Teaching Sells subscription site.
His thesis was that the web is getting too saturated to profit from AdSense, and
that it was more profitable to create your own content to sell. Even if you plan on
giving away your content, if you create content that is good enough to sell that will
help you quickly gain attention and mindshare.
You have to do a bit of push marketing to get a new website noticed in competitive
markets. When you launch a new blog you should:
• Get involved in your topical community - online and offline if possible.
• Submit your blog to some of the popular general directories and blog
• Consider buying targeted AdWords or AdSense ads to drive traffic to your
site. Also look at BlogAds if they are popular in your space.
• Guest author for other trusted blogs in your industry.
Golden Rules of Blogging
• Follow your passions
• Always cite sources with an HTML link
• Don’t sit on a great story if you believe it is a great idea
• When in doubt, it is better to be opinionated than boring
To find blogs in your field you can
• search Google for your topic + blog
• search for recent events in your field on Technorati or Google Blogsearch
• search for feeds on Google reader and see how many subscribers top
• look at the Technorati 100 most popular blogs list or the Bloglines 1,000
most popular blogs list
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