So much blogging advice is centered on writing quality content, sharing on the right channels, and using the right visuals to complement your topics. But the reality is that these are just the things that show. Successful bloggers are the ones doing more than the competition behind the scenes.
The sobering reality of modern blogging
“Most bloggers struggle,” Mike Sowden quickly notes. “They open a blog, post enthusiastically for a while, and then they either find a particular way to express themselves and/or a niche to fit into – or they lose heart and walk away. In 2009, this New York Times article cited data suggesting that 95% of blogs are derelicts. Their owners abandoned them, presumably because they never worked out what to do with them.”
We aren’t just talking about hobby blogs here, either. This includes small business and enterprise blogs. And considering that the barriers to entry for blogging have become even lower since 2009, you’d have to assume that the 95 percent failure rate has ballooned to an even higher figure.
Once you get past the shock factor of that statistic, the natural inclination is to ask, “Why?” Why do so many bloggers fail when many are good writers and smart people? Well, it has little to do with writing quality and more to do with what these failed bloggers aren’t doing behind the scenes.
Five things successful bloggers do differently (behind the scenes)
When you compare successful bloggers with failed bloggers, you’ll notice that – by and large – the successful bloggers have a better grasp of the big picture. They aren’t just focused on content output. They’re doing the little behind the scenes things – administrative tasks, goal setting, etc. – that allow them to move forward and grow. Specifically, you’ll find that most successful bloggers are doing the following:
1. Work on communication
It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in, communication plays a vital role in long-term success. Ask any successful blogger how important communication is – both verbal and written – and they’ll likely have a lot to say.
“Write some policies for yourself to keep on track,” Green Residential suggests. “For example, you might institute a policy of answering emails within 24 hours and returning phone calls at the beginning of every business day. Inform clients about these policies so they can help you remain accountable. When you maintain communication, people begin to trust you in every capacity. They recognize your professionalism and spread the word about your reliability.”
2. Network with other bloggers
Part of being a good communicator is networking. While the internet provides a lot of tools and resources that allow anyone to launch a blog and enjoy nominal success, it’s virtually impossible to have massive amounts of success for years to come without forging strong business relationships.
From the outside looking in, a lot of people believe that bloggers are reclusive personalities that would prefer to sit at a keyboard all day and mind their own business. And while there are many introverted bloggers, you’ll find very few successful bloggers who don’t prioritize networking behind the scenes.
3. Use the right automation tools
There are tons of different automation tools on the market designed to streamline mundane tasks and let you focus on other things. Take advantage of these!
One of the things most successful bloggers do is work with a tool that allows them to schedule content out in advance. This lets them focus on other things and worry less about when content gets uploaded.
“One common misconception about bloggers is that we just write one post per day (or a few a week, or whatever our posting schedule is), and that once we’ve hit ‘publish’ on it, we’re done for the day,” blogger Amber McNaught says. “I mean, I wish that were true, but I schedule all of my content in advance, and I like to try and build up a ‘bank’ of posts, just to have them in stock in case I get sick, or something else comes up that stops me blogging.”
4. Proactively consider revenue streams
“Advertising cannot be your only source of income,” successful blogger Rohan Ayyar notes. “Monetizing your blog has to be subtle while your revenue flows in – just as any business should work.”
While there’s something to be said for being in the moment and focusing on the exact stage of business that you’re in now, you always have to be focused on the next step. How will you monetize your blog in six months, one year, or five years? Successful bloggers are constantly brainstorming new monetization strategies so that they’re prepared for wherever the market takes them.
5. Split test everything
How do you really know if you’re maximizing engagement on your blog and providing what your readers want? Your numbers may be good, but could they be better? You’ll never know until you begin split testing various elements.
Successful bloggers religiously split test everything from headlines and bylines to images and color schemes. They realize that their readers’ preferences are the only preferences that matter.
Go the extra mile
You’ve probably heard the following question before: “Who are you when nobody’s watching?” This question is usually asked in the context of whether or not someone is doing the right thing even if nobody will know they’re doing it. In the context of blogging, it’s clear that successful bloggers are the ones going the extra mile behind the scenes.
While you may feel like your time is better spent cranking out one more blog post or coming up with a new marketing campaign that will generate leads, the reality is that these surface-level tasks aren’t always the most important. Sometimes it’s networking, SEO research, analyzing analytics, and A/B testing web design elements that make the biggest difference.
Make it a point to go the extra mile in 2017. Do those little behind the scenes things that you’ve been neglecting for years and start placing an emphasis on the big picture. You’ll discover that the ROI is higher than you could ever imagine.
And if you’d like to know how you can start blogging consistently in 30 minutes a day or less, read our eBook!
Image by Junto