The Best Advice You’ll Ever Receive on Becoming a Big Shot Blogger

by 6 05/17/2012

Ever wanted a fool-proof way to build a blog that people can’t ignore and will flock to even if they don’t want to?

Impossible you say? Especially in this day and age where everybody is online? In this day and age when everybody has a blog?

Could it be done?

The answer is yes.

It’s been done in the past. It’s been done in the present. And it will continue to be done well into the future.

Especially when you obey the following rules.

Think Staggeringly Simple

Complexity is hard to follow. It is also hard to share. Thus, complex ideas and blogs don’t mix.

Yet, so much of life is complex. And there’s the rub.

Now, if you can take a complex idea and simplify it…people will love you, promote you and follow you.

In the book world, look at people like Malcolm Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer.

They’ve taken complex subjects–success and creativity respectively–and made them into best-selling books that general audiences eat up.

Online you’ve got people like FAKE GRIMLOCK, Common Craft and Matt Inman at Oatmeal who boil down tough concepts into easy-to-digest, easy-to-share and almost trivial elements.

Matt did it with 15 Things Worth Knowing about Coffee, FAKE GRIMLOCK with the Minimum Viable Personality and Common Craft with Wikipedia in Plain English.

This, my friends, is just one fool-proof way to get attention. Let me show you another.

Write about Other People

In their book Made to Stick, the Heath brothers share a story about a newspaper in a small city that has an astonishingly high readership.

It’s readership was hovering around 110%.

What that means is that everyone in the city read the paper…but so did some people who don’t live in the city.

How did they achieve such a high readership rate?

Names.

They focused on people, their names and their stories. Each day the paper had a handful of stories about people who lived in the community. So each day people would pick up the paper to see if they were in it.

This is ego-baiting at its best.

Gaby Dunn pulled this off with her 100 Interviews project, a “website about people.” This landed her on the Stephen Colbert Show and helped jump start her comedy career.

Another off-beat approach is Stuff White People Like by Christian Landers. Not about people specifically, but people in general. Everyone who encounters that site will see a piece of them in it.

Hang in There

Getting attention is one thing. Keeping it is another.

And you don’t really blow up as a blogger in your first month or even first year.

You’ll have to hang in there for a long time.

Like two years.

That’s Rand Fishkins theory at least. It’s a plausable theory given that SEOmoz and The Everywherist (his wife’s blog) didn’t blow up until after the two year mark.

Here’s the report he shares:

Granted, you could get a massive amount attention to your blog the first month you open your doors…a spike in your traffic that nearly crashes your site…a flurry of emails…and even jolt of subscribers.

But three, four days later life will get back to normal.

See, do something news-worthy once and you’ll seem like an anomaly. Do it twice and more people will take you serious. Do it periodically during a two year period and you’ll become an authority.

Your Turn

What advice would you give a to a newbie blogger on how to become a superstar?

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Demian Farnworth is a freelance writer who hustles the finer points of web writing at The CopyBot. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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6 COMMENTS

Mihai @ Freshome

After reading this post I’d like to resume it in one short quote : “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Now about the advice to a newbie blogger ..the internet is full of advice on how to succeed in almost any domain, but that’s not enough you still need to love what you do and be persistent.

May 17, 2012 Reply

Darren Stevens

I have been thinking about becoming a blogger, your idea of keeping things simple is exactly like people keep telling me, the ‘Kiss’ approach – ‘Keep it simple, stupid’!
Thanks for your blog post
Darren Stevens
http://www.celticwebdesign.net

May 18, 2012 Reply

Demian Farnworth

Yes, passion is a must. As is persistence. Thank you for the wonderful da Vinci quote by the way!

May 18, 2012 Reply

Greg Bussmann

Great stuff. I happened upon this post at the exact moment I was having a crisis of confidence about my blog. I have only been at it not even a year, and this post helped me turn my frustration into a feeling of hope.

This helped me see that actually, things are going pretty well.

Thanks again!
Greg

June 6, 2012 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    @Greg — Thanks for taking the time to add your personal story Greg! Keep at it! It’s definitely a process, not an event.

    June 7, 2012 Reply


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