First off, let’s define success. What is success to you? For me, success means being able to do things that I wouldn’t have believed possible at one time in my life. It means challenging myself to achieve professional and personal accomplishments and gaining the confidence to try things that I would have not thought possible even just one year ago.
We all have different needs, aspirations and talents so the meaning of success differs for each one of us. If you’re like most people, you’re reading this post because you want to discover the secrets of success. Well, a little bit of research will uncover what skills and strategies worked for others. The real trick is to make those work for you and your blog.
As with everything in life, we get out of it what we put in – it will be no surprise to you to find out that it takes determination and hard work. And there is definitely an ultimate secret sauce, the ingredient that you must have above all — you. We’ll come back to that in a moment. So what are the seven secrets of successful bloggers?
Secret 1. Highly successful bloggers seek out a mentor or advocate at each step of their development. Someone who can guide them through the growth spurts they will undergo. Nothing new here, successful people have done this for years. The great advantage that blogs afford is that the person you pick does not need to be someone who takes you by the hand through it. All you need to do in some cases is read their material and interact with their audience.
Secret 2. Highly successful bloggers know how to increase their visibility. Whether that is by putting themselves at the crossroads of a popular and highly trafficked blog written by a mentor, or choosing thoughtful and insightful comments on other blogs, the important teaching in this is to pick a strategy that fits your brand. My personal blog is Conversation Agent so engaging in conversations with readers of my blog and in other blogs is part of my modus operandi (MO) and brand. What is yours?
Secret 3. Highly successful bloggers know how to develop an effective network. Maybe this is intuitive, it is definitely important. The blogosphere is a very large community with pockets of interest – what I jokingly call my neck of the ‘sphere. Who’s in yours? Do you read people who help you stretch and think differently? Are you part of a group of self publishers who will support each other on topic development, lending expertise, or even being keen on helping you gain exposure on good stories and events?
Secret 4. Highly successful bloggers have learned to communicate effectively. Read it again, as it may not be as easy as it seems. The meaning of communication is the response it elicits, not the intention. The word communication has the Latin root in communicatio as well as in commercium – it means exchange between people. If you’re curious about my definition of conversation and its parts, you will find more information here.
Secret 5. Highly successful bloggers can balance blogging with life. Especially in the early days, when we crave recognition and readership, it is easy to sign up to guest blog somewhere else, or try and write every single day, maybe even multiple posts per day. Before you accept filling in for someone else, or writing that extra post, think about what’s involved. Consider how much time it will take you and if it will fulfill your interests and needs at that stage. It’s also important to build life experiences into your routine. You will take a much-deserved brake, and fill with new ideas while you play.
Secret 6. Highly successful bloggers know when to take smart risks. Once you feel comfortable with a regular flow of publishing and blog optimization, it’s time to take some small risks to stretch a little and grow. What have you been dying to try and never got around to? There is another very important reason why doing this is a smart idea – it’s something that has not been done, that’s why it’s a risk. Maybe it’s a way of looking at a story from a different angle – I’ve done a couple of those and let me tell you, the adrenaline until that first comment is rushing like crazy. Or it could be breaking a story, broaching a new topic — you name it.
Secret 7. Highly successful bloggers understand the dynamics of the online environment. When you combine visibility, effective networks, and mentors, you have a lot of help in learning the dynamics of the online environment in which you publish. It’s also important to understand your own abilities, interests and limitations within those dynamics. You may think about having a thick skin in some cases – if you stay out there long enough and have opinions you are bound to find someone who will differ from you and make their voice heard. So you need a strategy that you are comfortable with ahead of time. What steps are you going to take to prepare? Chances are your gut will tell you when you’re about to publish something that may raise questions – how you address negative comments should be part of your consideration as you flesh out the topic of the post.
Whenever possible, set the pace. You decide if you’re ready to tackle these activities and which ones speak most to you. The secret sauce it’s not the ingredients as much as the sauce itself – you.
Remember to practice so you can improve what you wish to work on, perform to your best, persevere through setbacks and low energy moments and, most importantly be patient with yourself and any situation where you have no control over the outcome.
With New World attitude and Italian style, Fast Company expert blogger and Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni demonstrates her unique talent for synthesizing marketing, public relations, and communications. See how customer relationships are always conversations, and why this knowledge is essential to doing business in the Information Age. Valeria also blogs at the Marketing Profs Daily Fix and Marketing 2.0.