If I asked you to define what an A-list blogger actually is, what would you say?
I’m sure the usual thoughts like “thousands of subscribers,” “lots of comments,” and “large influence” come to mind.
While these may be things that many of us agree on, they aren’t really about the blogger, they’re about the blog.
Yet it’s the writers behind the blog that position it at the top of an industry and gain so-called “A-list” status.
Now, of course, if you’re sitting on a feed count of 400 subscribers today, there’s no magic bullet that’s going to get you 4,000 subscribers tomorrow. But the key to building those numbers is to be the kind of blogger who attracts plenty of subscribers and links.
Today I want to offer the suggestion that instead of focusing on all the factors that define an A-list blog, let’s look at the factors that define an A-list blogger. The characteristics behind the men and women who build massively popular websites.
While I don’t personally think of myself as anything special, I have managed to build two blogs to a combined audience of 10,000 subscribers, and I call a few A-list bloggers my friends. Four years of blogging and interacting with thousands of people have helped me to see what it is about the “big guys” that makes them successful.
Now I’m going to share those findings so that you really can have the qualities of an A-list blogger, today.
Make content your # 1 focus
When it comes to blogging, there are plenty of important factors. Having a unique and professional design, a viable topic, a brandable logo, and clear options for subscribing are all important.
But without one factor, none of the rest of them matter.
All A-list bloggers recognize content as the biggest factor to their growth. As a quick scenario, let’s imagine that Brian Clark owned your website. Do you think if he wrote the high-quality content he did for Copyblogger and applied the same marketing strategies, that blog would go nowhere? Of course not. Copyblogger’s excellent content would do well on any relevant website and is what has kept people coming back here for more than four years.
I’m someone who gets obsessed with designing and tweaking sites for maximum conversion, so it took me a while to really implement this. In fact, I would say that I was blogging for almost two years without giving writing the focus it deserved.
It was only after I eventually took my head out of stats programs like Crazy Egg and BLVD Status (which are both fantastic, by the way) and put my effort into writing that I managed to build a 4,000-subscriber blog in 12 months.
Content is your main way to shine in an increasingly competitive field. Make sure that it’s getting your full attention.
Stick to your own guidelines
I believe that most bloggers reading this could eliminate all blog reading from their lives and still do well online.
Sure, it’s great to read the stories of people doing well and gain nuggets of knowledge that will help to improve your current offering.
But this knowledge-seeking becomes a problem when you allow your search for great information to change how you operate.
In the social media space, I am always changing, because it’s my job to be active on the latest service and see how it can best be used to connect with others in my niche.
My blogging strategy, though, rarely changes.
If you look carefully around your niche, different bloggers write very differently. You’ll find variations in things like:
- Posting frequency
- Writing style, tone, and voice
- Article length
- Use of images
In the internet marketing niche, the common length for most blog posts tends to be around 500-800 words. If you look at my own articles though, you will see that I regularly surpass 2,000 words. This is completely different from anyone else in the niche, but because I provide a lot of value in one place, it’s working well for me.
Just like you’ll probably never see Brian start publishing two or three posts every day, I’ll rarely write less than 1,000 words on my own website. You lose your winning difference the moment you do something because someone else is doing it.
Set your own guidelines and you’ll build an audience that will not only love what you have to say, but stick around because they expect more great things from you in the future.
Recognize your own influence
Everyone has some influence online, even if some have more than others. Growing that influence involves a lot of effort and a lot of time, but losing it can happen overnight.
Even if you only have 10 twitter followers and your blog hasn’t yet received its first comment, you still have influence. And that means you have a responsibility to give people the best advice and value that you can.
If you care about your audience and put value first, your influence will grow more quickly than you might think.
Look at “who,” not “what”
Looking at who is behind a blog and trying to model how they achieved what they did, rather than focusing on the end result as we usually do, has been a big game-changer for me.
I hope I’ve helped you see that most of you are A-list bloggers already — you just need to leverage that talent. Focus on your content, stick to your own guidelines, and use the influence you have today to help your audience.
Those thousands of subscribers are waiting for you. You’ve just got to be ready for them.