How the Best Bloggers Build a Brand, and How You Can Too
What do Michael Arrington, Jason Calacanis, Om Malik, Ben Huh and Pete Cashmore have in common? Besides being phenomenally successful bloggers, they are also phenomenally successful brands. Wow exactly did they turn their blogs into competent brands, and more importantly, how can you replicate their success with your blog?
Read on to find out.
1. Be outspoken
As far as tech blogging is concerned, Michael Arrington is blogging royalty. The TechCrunch founder built one of the internet’s most influential brands by being bold, brash and outspoken. His goal, right from the first blog post was to be a counterpoint to traditional media outlets. Arrington wrote stories the mainstream media wouldn’t pick up, such as “So a Blogger Walks into a Bar”, and he did so in way that earned him many enemies, but also millions of pageviews.
2. Show your loyalties
The internet is no place for neutrality. If you believe in something, wear it on your sleeve and show it to the world. Case in point: TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler who, besides Arrington, was responsible for a huge chunk of the website’s traffic. Siegler (who also blogs at ParisLemon.com) was able to pull this off by rallying fellow Apple fans. While traditional journalism tries to be objective, Siegler made no bones of his love for Apple products. In fact, Siegler’s departure from TechCrunch hurt the blog so much that they had to lure him back with a plum position as Apple columnist to retain pageviews.
3. Be helpful
Neil Patel has built an enviable personal brand (and tons of traffic) at QuickSprout.com. He did so by sharing insights on SEO, conversion and internet marketing gathered over a decade of experience. The posts on QuickSprout are rarely off topic and seldom less than a thousand words; any reader clicking through knows he’s going to get valuable tips with immediate applications in his business. Some of the longer posts such as this Definitive Guide to Copywriting attract tens of thousands of pageviews.
4. Leverage different types of content
The BuzzFeed success story is now a part of blogging folklore, but cat pictures and reaction GIFs aren’t meant for buzzy social media stalwarts alone. The GOP recently showed that anyone can leverage different content mediums. This means that marketers may have to go outside their comfort zone of long, wordy paragraphs and start using more visual content, including memes, reaction GIFs, videos, etc.
The truth is, the only way to get some attention in the increasingly competitive blogosphere is to create posts with personality. Writing for the internet is not the same as writing for traditional media. By leveraging fresh forms of content, you can add some much needed personality to your posts – and grow your traffic in the process.
5. Keep SEO secondary
Take a look at Technorati’s top 100 blogs list. Notice how few blogs actually have explicit focus on SEO. Sure, they throw around a keyword or two here and there, but you’ll hardly come across any blog that revolves entirely around SEO. In fact, the most successful blogs – Gawker, HuffPo, BuzzFeed – are somewhat anti-SEO with long, wordy headlines. This is largely because of two reasons:
- Changes in Google’s search algorithm penalize overly SEO-optimized posts.
- SEO-rich posts aren’t as conducive to social media sharing than posts with more personality.
In other words, keep personality first, SEO secondary.