WHAT MAKES A BLOG BECOME SUCCESSFUL? AND HOW I’M PUSHING MY OWN BLOG SUCCESS.
When I started my blog four and a half years ago, it was predominantly a place where I came daily to share my outfit of the day, which I would shoot at around 7am before I headed to work. Whilst these days my outfits are much more sophisticated, my photography more professional and my editorial far more in depth, back in 2011 this kinda worked. But my blog, along with all the other ‘old school’ blogs has evolved over time, our daily diaries online have become inspiring content hubs & legitimate online publications … blogs have become so popular and so successful that gone are the days of your mum being your only follower, these days blogs get thousands and millions of readers visit daily (making the glossy mags almost redundant), bloggers have become so influential that brands are paying to work with them, and it’s fair to say the blogging industry has grown beyond any expectation.
But as the blogging community has exploded with new talent and a vast array of online publishers, as paid for opportunities continue to become ever more prevalent and as bloggers become entrepreneurs and brands in their own right, having a successful rebrand every couple of years, the question of ‘What is success?‘ and ‘How do I achieve it?‘ becomes ever more pertinent.
Today I wanted to share my thoughts on what makes a blog successful? I truly believe there’s no right or wrong way, and certainly no formula for how to become a mega star blogger (I wish), but when I look at my own blogging journey and the journeys of my favourite bloggers out there, I think there are a few little trends we can learn from.
12 THINGS THAT I THINK MAKE A BLOG SUCCESSFUL
Now more than ever blogs with an original and unique offering are the ones which seem to gain the most traction. Pretty much every blogger starts their blog as a platform to share their passions and interests, and this is what makes a blog so personal, unique and original. But in a day n’ age where hundreds of new blogs start daily, having a unique offering, unique style, unique design and unique content is critical.
And it’s an original and distinct style that will not only attract people to visit your blog and come back every time you share new content, but it’s also the thing that attracts brands to work with you. For me originality is a major factor in what makes a blog successful.
A blog that shines with personality and integrity is one that will do well. I can’t think of a single successful blog where integrity is lacking. Personality and originality are the two things which really separate one blog from another, and beyond this integrity is about honesty, staying true to yourself and your brand, and in turn building a genuine trust between you, your content and your readers (even as your blog grows and evolves).
For me a successful blog is packed with integrity. Blogging is no game for copy cats.
#3 Beautiful (original & creative) photography
Whilst there’s no right or wrong to blogging (in fact that’s why there are so many successful bloggers out there, because there is room for everyone’s originality), it’s hard to deny that beautiful imagery has a huge impact on a blogs appeal. Beautiful photography is a common asset to all my favourite blogs and something I personally always strive for. In fact it’s something I’ve really focussed on improving over the last two years and it’s made quite the impact on my blog & blogging success. Not only does quality photography make a blog enjoyable to read and beautiful to look at, it’s also a major ‘brand’ asset, and something that brands in turn will look at when looking at future partners.
But it’s more than just pretty pictures, In my opinion originality is key when it comes to photography. I for one am sure to always use my own photography. It’s part of my brand, it’s my personality and it’s original to mediamarmalade.com.
#4 A strong social presence
Many blogs and bloggers alike have rocketed to stardom in the last two years and really upped their ‘success’ and I think a lot of this is down to their social presence. Not just having an active instagram account or facebook page, but really bringing to life their brand within these platforms and really engaging with their followers within this space. It’s something Ella (Deliciously Ella) mentioned when I caught up with her as being a major driver in the growth of her own blog.
So it’s not just about being active on social, it’s about bringing to life your brand uniquely and consistently, engaging with your followers and also having a strategy in place to help you grow within these channels. For me, social is the one area that’s a slow burner, but something I personally really want to drive to help build on my overall blog successes.
#5 Genuine engagement
The reason social has become so prevalent and instrumental to bloggers success of late is not only because it’s full of beautiful and inspiring photography, it’s also because it provides a platform for bloggers to genuinely engage with their audience, get to know them better and start a genuine conversation.
As I mentioned, I believe engagement is something now more than ever that successful blogs have started to master. After all, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the wonderful readers.
#6 Constant consistency
Consistency. Successful bloggers have a brand image, a personal style and a content style, they have original distinctive imagery and more than all of this, they’re consistent with it. Consistency seems to be key to successful bloggers, consistency with how they show up, consistency with where they show up, consistency with when they show up, and consistency with what they show up with.
Successful blogs have a clear mission statement, and they consistently deliver on it. I for one always make sure everything I do ladders up to my overall mission:
Mediamarmalade is a destination for the stylish, the ambitious and the passionate. It’s a hub of daily inspiration, motivational content and advice and tips for those of us on a journey to sartorial, life and career success.
#7 A client portfolio backed with integrity
There is no one way to define success, I truly believe success should be defined by an individuals and their own ambition and goals, but I’m sure we can all agree that getting regular paid work, and brand collaboration opportunities is a sure sign of success within the blogging industry.
Earning a living from your blog and your content is an incredible accolade and a common theme across all ‘successful’ blogs. But successful blogs aren’t only about getting ‘jobs’, they’re also about excellent delivery for every project they work on, and more than that they always execute commercial features with 100% integrity.
It’s about never sacrificing your integrity and the trust of your readers for a commercial deal.
#8 Well designed site
My favourite blogs have a clear, consistent and easily navigable design. They work across all devices, they’re unique and designed to reflect the content and blogs own style. A great blog not only makes you want to visit once, it makes you want to stay and explore, and come back again for more.
#9 They add value
Whilst blogging started as a place to brain dump what was on our minds, an online diary if you like, these days to be a success your content has to be far more than just a personal rant or a low res #ootd feature.
Your blog content has to add value to readers. It has to make people want to come and visit, it has to make them click and it has to make them want to come back. In my opinion the most successful blogs have a common theme when it comes to content; they either inform or inspire.
These two things are my guiding principles when I produce any content for my own blog – my manifesto as you’ve seen, is focussed entirely on adding value to you guys through inspiring or informing you on your journey to sartorial, career and life success.
#10 A powerful network
SQUADGOALS. A network is always important and a huge factor in any industry, but even more so within the blogging industry. The hash tag #squadgoals has never been more pertinent. Pretty much all successful bloggers have a strong network, whether that’s other bloggers who support them, brands they regularly work with, or an agency supporting and pushing their growth. A network is key to a successful blog.
#11 Their own idea of success
Back to my point about ‘what even is success‘ … for me successful blogs are successful because they’ve clearly focussed on their own journey, they’ve defined their own definition of success and their own goals to help them get there … and they work bloody hard to achieve them. There is no one definition or end goal for success in the blogging industry, success is subjective, personal and relative to the individual person (or blog in this instance).
For me successful bloggers have carved their own path, their own journey that’s relevant to their own goals, and they’ve achieved successes within their own space – whether that’s book deals, TV shows, great brand partnerships or simply a loyal following.
More than anything successful blogs and bloggers are passionate. They’re original, full of unique content, packed with personality and integrity, they inspire, educate or inform their readers, and what shines through beyond their own brand and their own identity, is the passion in which they create with. For me that is the vital ingredient.
OTHER FEATURES YOU MIGHT FIND INTERESTING
HOW TO MEASURE SUCCESS . WHAT IS BLOG SUCCESS .6 STEPS TO HELP YOU GROW YOUR BLOG .3 REASONS YOUR BLOG WILL SUCCEED .3 MORE REASONS .5 TIPS THAT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER BLOGGER .WHAT MAKES CONTENT GOOD .WHAT MAKES A BLOG GOOD .HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BRAND . OR CATCH UP ON ALL MY BLOG TIPS .
. SHOP MY LOOK .
And just to finish off this rather hefty post (I hope you grabbed a cuppa before you started), I thought I’d share a little bit about the outfit itself. This is something I wore last weekend whilst the sun was beaming in the UK (still freezing mind). If I’m honest I’ve got a little bored of my style of late, I’m kinda over winter dressing (I can only justify buying so many coats after all) and I’m just desperate to mix up my looks a little and I find this harder in the winter time. So to spur on Spring a little I opted for a midi skirt that I bought at the end of Summer last year from Whistles. A practical transitional garment I hope you agree. I dressed it down with a classic loafer & a simple white jumper and combined it created the perfect spring ensemble (only bettered with the beautiful pink roses I bought my sister and then
stole borrowed for the photos).
I still love to share my outfits on my blog (and to shoot them too), but I really wanted to add value beyond just inspiring you to buy a new item for your wardrobe. You’ve probably noticed over the last two years or so I’ve really upped my career, lifestyle and blog tips features. I just love to write them and they seem to be popular for you guys too (my most popular features in fact), so I’ve been mixing them in with my original style features.
But over the last 4 months I’ve deicded to mix things up even further, and I’ve started to merge them. For me beautiful imagery is so important, but so is content that leaves you feeling inspired, motivated or even informed about a topic I happened to write about. Rather than regimentally share an outfit OR a tips posts, I wanted to start to mix them together. It adds a little pressure for me to constantly produce blog worthy photos (and almost merge two potential posts into one), but my photography is a passion and so is writing tips and lifestyle features, so I think (and hope you’ll agree) it’s worth the effort? I really want to push my blog’s success further this year, and so I’ve been taking all my own advice, working out what works for me and what success means to me, setting my self goals and really focussing on pushing my content and my creativity. So hopefully in time this little space will continue to grow that little bit more, and continue to become that little bit more successful …
I hope you enjoyed this post and found the tips helpful (and of course liked my outfit too – I’m definitely spurring Spring on). What do you think makes a blog successful? What are your favourite blogs to read?