I think the importance of building a platform, is really starting to embed in the consciousness of authors today. A website is the heart of a good author platform and a large part of having your website be effective in providing value and entertaining readers, is your blog.
Over the last 3 years I’ve studied top bloggers and read hundreds of articles covering the successful make-up of a great blog. I’m fortunate to also have friends Yaro Starak and Gideon Shalwick who happen to be some of the top bloggers in the world. I’ve had many insightful conversations during costume parties (I was Popeye last time) and BBQ’s about blogging where we share our stories and experience.
This has been echoed in my own blogging efforts with Book Cover Cafe, which now has thousands of readers visiting a month and is evidence of the value I’ve provided. The amazing emails I receive every week tell me that the blog is really making a difference to people’s lives.
What I’ve learned over the years, is that there’s key habits successful bloggers have. Building a successful and effective platform with hundreds of thousands of visitors and adoring fans is not about luck, it’s about doing a few select key things that will set you on the path to success and ultimately to building a strong platform.
1. They put their readers first
Successful bloggers know that the content they strive to provide every day, is for their readers and providing as much value as possible is a priority. They know talking about themselves is the quickest way to kill their blog and brand.
They don’t simply copy what someone else says or does, but create original content with a huge respect for their audience. Before creating a piece of content they ask themselves the single most important question; ‘How will this provide value to my readers?’
2. They keep it real
Quite simply, they’re genuine. They write content that is easily digestible, accessible and down-to-earth. They don’t over promise and under deliver or try to be someone they’re not. I avoid these people at every cost, you do too, I’m sure.
Successful bloggers aren’t afraid to show some vulnerability, reveal a little about themselves and let you in on who they are, where they’re going and how this might help you. This is opposed to those average bloggers who are timid and remain closed off from presenting a personal image or identity to their blog. Successful bloggers know that people connect with people.
3. They are passionate and creative
You’ve got to be passionate about what you’re doing, otherwise you won’t see it through. It’ll become a chore instead of something you’re hungry to do. Successful bloggers are passionate about their topic and want to make a difference by providing valuable content and insight.
Your passion will have you up early in the morning and late to bed in the evening. I often find myself at two in the morning frustrated, knowing I should go to bed, but I’m fired up and want to keep going. I find this is what helps me keep going the extra two miles when helping people.
4. Have goals and stay on target
Successful bloggers know that goals help remind you why you’re blogging in the first place. Goals serve as your compass to make sure you’re heading in one direction and allow you to focus your limited time and energy in the right places that will reap the biggest results.
5. They work harder and do what others won’t
I’m a big believer in hard work and that there’s no blogging lottery tickets to magically get you to the top. This goes hand in hand with being passionate. All successful bloggers were beginners once and they worked hard to build their platform and their brands.
You get results from pushing through the hard days and the inevitable dips that come with building anything worthwhile. Read The Dip by Seth Godin, who talks about the common ‘dip’ before the successfully achieving a goal. This is a huge differentiation between successful bloggers and those who join the majority of bloggers who quit within 3 months.
6. Build relationships with other bloggers
Often neglected and underestimated by authors building their platforms. Successful bloggers know that building key relationships and partnerships is key to their tipping point to success. They know that the other experts in their niche or industry can become great support and allies in the blogosphere.
Becoming friends with another blogger allows both of you to share content, tweet new content to your own audience, provide guest posts, increase link and Google juice and build each other’s readerships. The law of reciprocity is an extremely powerful one.
7. They are disciplined and organised
These are essential traits with successful bloggers, but usually need to be developed over time. Discipline means turning off the TV and finishing that blog post. It means setting deadlines for publishing your new book or product creation. It means not postponing a task for tomorrow, that can be completed today.
Keep a list of blog articles scheduled ahead of time, instead making it up the night before. Check email just twice instead of 5 times a day. Check social media less and use Facebook and Twitter for results directly related to connecting with readers and building your brand.
Just remember, which ever stage you’re currently at with your blogging efforts, you’ll inevitably ride all the ups and some of the downs. What’s important is you tackle your challenges head on. If you do, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.
Now it’s your turn to take the most important step of all. Taking action.
Blogging for success!