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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What every blog needs to be great...

Below is an interesting poll trying to measure what makes a blogger successful.   The breakdown is interesting: 

Which of these qualities is most important to a blog’s success?

The responses to this poll make a lot of sense from both a bloggers and readers perspective.   When looking at the blogs that have become the most successful (at least within their categories) they have build a unique personality and are relevant and interesting.   What drives people to come visit the blog?  Something that is unique, new, interesting, fresh...   What has them come back to the blog?  They find the information to speak to them and connect with them.   What encourages readers to engage on the site or share the content on the site?  The blogger encourages the visitors to share and develops a 'virtual relationship' with their visitors.   All of these attributes are building blocks to what I believe you could call a 'Distinctive or Fresh Voice' in the category.

If you were to untangle the definition of a distinctive voice you would probably find it is actually a composite value of the niche or area of focus and the ability to have unique and not regurgitated content.    I really believe that a distinctive voice is a composite value metric that includes many of the other measures  for success for bloggers.   These metrics include focus or relevancy (unique niche), compelling/interesting (compelling exclusive content), active voice (multiple channels such as social media, search, etc...), and of course the byproduct of this is the ability for the blogger to build their own brand via personalities or larger brands/marketers.

The only driver to success that I think is missing is past success (could be also known as luck, tenure, or personal brand).  I know this is self-fulfilling, but blogs that have built an audience and following in their categories are much more likely to grow and continue their success than a site that has not had success in the past and is trying to drive past the threshold to reach a continued success mark.  I know this is a convoluted concept, but due to the social nature of blogs it is clear that the blogs that have a following (the A-blogs) are in a much better spot for future success no matter what other components are at play. 

I think the poll is really interesting and telling.   I am glad you do these polls and hope you continue to ask these questions of bloggers and marketers.   Love your site.  You have all of the pieces needed to be successful.  
What every blog needs to be great
SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Which of these qualities is most important to a blog’s success?
  • A distinctive voice –  43.41%
  • Compelling exclusive content — 35.66%
  • A unique niche – 11.63%
  • Strong promotion via social-media channels — 5.04%
  • Excellent SEO — 2.71%
  • Connections to famous brands, personalities — 1.55%
The results of this week’s poll took me a little bit by surprise. Given that this question was answered by 295 SmartBrief on Social Media readers, I would have guessed that most people would have favored the niche answer. After all, social media is about building community, and communities thrive in niche environments. Think about your favorite blogs for a second. I’m wiling to bet most of them cater to a pretty specific audience. Niche blogs are lean, focused and easy to pitch to their intended audiences.

But then again, the question was, “Which of these qualities is most important to a blog’s success?” And a solid 43% of you say it all about the voice. I can see why so many people feel it’s so important for a blog’s success. It creates a cohesive feel and a sense that you really know this person. It makes that online connection feel that much more real.

But voice is a tricky thing for a writer. It can be a calling card or a fatal flaw that one refuses to correct in the name of style. For some very distinctive writers, the same characteristics that attract some readers may repel others. It takes time and a lot of practice to develop a voice that really clicks. The good news is, if you’re a regular blogger, you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to practice. If you’re diligent and thoughtful about your writing, developing a voice is something anyone can pull off.

In fact, all of the most popular options are things I feel comfortable saying most people could achieve, given a little inspiration and a healthy work ethic. The most specialized attributes — self-promotion, SEO and access to big names — garnered less than 10% of the vote. SmartBrief on Social Media readers clearly feel that blog success is all about the content, and I have to agree. If you can take care of your voice, your niche and your content, the rest should be easy.

What defines a great blogging voice? Who are some bloggers whose voice you admire?

Disqus for Cold Kiwi