It’s been too long since I published to my blog, and it’s made me feel like a bad blogger. I started getting into a bit of a rut – I just haven’t been feeling inspired to write, but that made me feel like a worse blogger, which in turn made me more uninspired. A vicious circle. This morning when I woke up, I thought – today is the day. I’m going to be a successful blogger today. And of course, the phrase successful blogger inspired a post. I’m back in the game.
So, today I’m going to talk about all the things that I believe make a successful blogger, that I’ve seen bloggers who are succeeding doing on the regular, or that I’ve seen less successful bloggers not doing. It’s a mix of habits, to-dos, and resources that all the best bloggers seem to have practiced and mastered.
Of course, I don’t have all of these down to a tee – so in a way, some of these are my aspirations, part of my own successful blogger journey.
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The Successful Blogger Checklist
1. A Successful Blogger has a posting schedule that they stick to.
Posting to your blog regularly is obviously the most important aspect of blogging. If you’re not posting, you’re not really blogging, right? However, haphazard posting when you get the feeling to write isn’t a great technique.
Having a clear schedule lets your readers know when to expect a new post. They’ll be able to come to you because they know you’ve posted something new. When people start coming to your blog, without being prompted, it’s the sign of a successful blogger.
2. A Successful Blogger promotes themselves, and others, on social media.
This is a given – we all share our posts on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, right? Sharing your posts on a regular basis is the best way to drive traffic and find new readers. Pinterest, especially, can be a huge traffic driver for bloggers – and if you haven’t already check out my secret weapon for growth on Pinterest.
But, what’s just as important, is sharing other people’s posts. Your timeline shouldn’t just be about you and your blog. Blogging is all about making connections and one of the best ways to do that is by sharing content. You build up a trust with your readers because they will see that you are someone who wants to give them information that’s relevant and helpful to them, whether you’ve written it or not. As a bonus, the people you share may return the favor.
3. A Successful Blogger doesn’t overshare on social media.
You know that blogger drama on Twitter? Don’t get involved. It’s easier said than done, and very often you can be dragged into drama without really wanting it. But if you see something going down, and feel yourself wanting to add to the conversation, think about whether what you’re responding is actually helping the situation or if it’s just adding fuel to the fire.
Of course, I’m not saying don’t stick up for something you truly believe in or for someone who is being picked on. And I’m definitely not recommending you don’t stick up for yourself. And if you have a full grasp of the situation, sure, share what you think. But remember: just because you think you know the full story doesn’t mean you do. Sometimes the fire-breathing dragon is actually the one that’s been pinned into a corner.
Use social media wisely. Share interesting content and do get a little personal now and again. If something exciting is happening to you, let your followers know. It gives that personal touch. But, your followers don’t need to know your latest spat with your boyfriend or your slightly outlandish political views. Remember that when you’ve posted something online, it’s out there forever. Curate your feed so that it reflects the aspects of you that you wouldn’t mind a potential employer or new friend to know.
4. A Successful Blogger uses time-saving tools that don’t break the bank.
We can’t be online all day everyday, but our blog is – and so our self-promotion should be throughout the day so we’re reaching different audiences at different times. Scheduling posts is important, but so is scheduling promotional material.
Think about it – if you only promote your blog at 9am every morning while you settle down at your desk, you’re only reaching people who are online at those times. A scheduling tool like Tailwind or BoardBooster for Pinterest or Crowdfire for Twitter/Instagram/Facebook will let you set aside a time every week/month and schedule your promotional material at one time.
You won’t need to stress about being online so much. Your blog promotions will be on auto-pilot.
5. A Successful Blogger niches down, has a focus and knows what their readers want.
I’m a lover and hater of niches. I love to (and do) write about a variety of topics. For my blog, I want my tone to be friendly and helpful and I think the best way to push that is to be a bit personal sometimes. But, I only write about specific topics that suit what I’ve said I’ll write about. No matter how many times I get offered, as a non-driver, to write a piece on road tripping or auto care you just won’t see that here because it isn’t my niche.
The most successful bloggers choose a topic (or a few, related topics) and they present themselves as the authority on those topics. Writing a lot about your niche is going to prove to people you know what you’re talking about, and that they should trust your opinion.
6. A Successful Blogger writes evergreen content.
I’ve written about evergreen content briefly before. Essentially, this is a piece of content that, no matter when your reader finds it, will be relevant in that moment. For example, this piece I’m writing right now is an evergreen piece – whether you’re reading it today or last Tuesday, you will (hopefully) find it helpful. It doesn’t really have an expiry date.
A lot of bloggers write pieces that are more seasonal, or tied to a date or time. These are the type of posts you have to vigorously promote when you publish them because they can only bring in traffic at that time. On the other hand, an evergreen piece can be promoted at any time. This means they can be driving traffic to your blog consistently.
Evergreen content is the content that will be best for your SEO. You can fine tune the SEO for these posts over time, and drive consistent traffic from search engines, social media and from other blogs. The best type of evergreen content is something that other writers can link to and reference in their own writing.
I always recommend that every second post should be evergreen; whether it’s something you regularly add more details and information to or something that is just able to work for any reader at any time. If you’re not writing evergreen content, you face an uphill battle of having to promote each new post from scratch.
7. A Successful Blogger grabs all the best opportunities for their blog.
Things every blogger needs: A blog with a pretty theme, a social scheduling tool, a media kit.
A what? A media kit is basically your blogger resume, it puts all of your blog stats in one document so you can hand this out to brands, other bloggers or anyone else you may need to collaborate with.
A successful blogger will reach out to relevant brands, work with other bloggers and create great opportunities for their blog. These opportunities promote products their readers will love and work with brands that can add something to the conversation.
Of course, sometimes this means rejecting opportunities that are not going to be good for your blog. Opportunities to work with brands who are irrelevant to your niche or who aren’t offering you the right compensation for the work you’ll need to put into the article/imagery. If something doesn’t suit what you typically write about, you should think twice about accepting it as a collaboration.
It’s better to curate the names you do work with and work with a few really good brands who have similar narratives to yours than it is to just work with everyone who offers.
8. A Successful Blogger has the right mindset, always.
Finally, I’ve found that a lot of blogging is about mindset. It’s not just the fluffy yeah I’m a girlboss let’s smash this attitude that you see all over Blogger Twitter – though that is a part of it. The mindset of a successful blogger is all about staying productive and motivated. It’s about having the self-discipline to get things done on time and ready to go for yourself. There is no boss or manager pushing you along.
It’s about being able to motivate yourself. Even when the stats are low. Even when you know you might not benefit financially, or at all, from what you’re about to share with the world.
The blogging mindset is difficult to capture in words. It’s all about having a thirst and a drive to succeed, without necessarily know when or how that success might happen.