Anyone who reads much online has noticed the amount of attention paid to blogs has skyrocketed over the past few years. In fact, if you are reading this via the Problogger writing project, it’s likely the boom has motivated you to start a blog and grab a piece of the action for yourself. Blogging has evolved from the largely ignored rambling of internet geeks into a versatile publishing platform used by giant corporations and individuals alike. Whether you do it for money, networking, or fun, anyone can start a blog, and sometimes it seems like everyone has. Of course, the vast majority of bloggers toil in obscurity and eventually abandon their dreams of internet stardom. So what separates the giants from the dwarves? I have observed two areas where the best of the best distinguish themselves. The first is early entry. The majority of extremely popular blogs have been operating for two years or more. These visionaries saw the potential of blogging before anyone else and entered the market when competition was sparse. They’ve been spending the past few years mastering the blog game and building reputation and authority. It’s no wonder they beat the pants off beginners like myself. And this brings us to the subject of the article. Most of us got into blogging to make it big. For this to happen we’ll have to recognize the next big thing before everyone else, just like today’s blog superstars did a few years ago. Without further adieu, I present my prediction for the future of internet media.
The Age of the Independent Superstar
The emergence of blogs has given the individual a voice. One person, with few resources, can command as much attention as the titans of industry. Video sharing sites like YouTube have given the individual a face and a personality. In the future, the prominence of the individual will grow, perhaps until it surpasses traditional media. We are no longer dependent on traditional media for exposure. But of course, the result of these low barriers to entry is intense competition. This brings me to my second observation on what separates the top bloggers from the pack: unique style and charisma. Although the information contained in a particular blog may be valuable, it is certainly not unique. Anyone else can republish it and many do. We don’t keep reading our favorite blogs for the informational content. We keep reading because we admire the writer, because we feel a deep personal connection that creates trust and respect. This unique connection cannot be duplicated, and that is what elevates the best bloggers. As I said before, the future of internet media is the individual. Those who attain great success will utilize many forms of media (writing, images, audio, and video, to name a few) to share their immense personal charisma and build huge followings. If you want to make it big, I suggest using these tools to share yourself, the best, most unique, most exciting parts of yourself, with the world. So there’s my opinion. What will you do to separate yourself from the pack and attain blogstar status?
Bonus Content – Three Personal Pet Peeves in Blogging
1. Overmonetized Low Traffic Sites – I constantly see sites stacked with ads only to find that they’ve only been running a few months and have very low traffic. Please stop doing this! First of all, it’s a terrible eye-sore, nothing puts me off more. Third, you are really hurting yourselves. People are put off by ads on small sites. This kills your traffic! If you want to make significant money you need to build up traffic first, then monetize. Shoemoney says 1,000 uniques per day is his benchmark for when a site is ready to be monetized. He seems to know a thing or two on the subject. 2. Repetition – The big sites are just as bad as the small ones about this. For the love of God, stop repeating each other. It doesn’t help to build readership, it’s just really annoying. If you feel compelled to write on a big topic at least say something surprising. 3. Cheesy List Posts – OK I know these are big traffic grabbers, but I’m begging you, at least mix it up occassionally. I’m looking at you Ririan Project. These posts are mostly compilations of unoriginal material. The blogger barely has to write a word of his own. Show me some wit, some charm, awe me with your talent, but I’ll take anything not in the form of a list. 🙂