Lost Post Series: Posts that have otherwise been forgotten, accidentally deleted or blogged elsewhere are reposted here. Enjoy!
This is a repost from Blogging Charlatans: I re-read the original post and felt the content of this stood better as a single post than attached to that.
Five Values for Blogging: Learning, Voice, Authority, Integrity and Audience
So what should the budding blogger do to save their blog? Actually, it’s quite simple: I think there are five qualities that will ensure you do get back links, traffic, money, and whatever your definition of success is.
1. Learn to Write.
Sounds simple enough. But it’s amazing how many bloggers fail at this first hurdle. Learning to write is a skill that takes time, effort and practice to develop properly. Of course, your average Blog Your Way To Success PDF will not tell you how much of each you will need. It will take you much longer than you first suspect, certainly longer than you hope, and likely will end up being far longer before, as an accomplished blogger, you actually dare to call yourself a ‘good’ writer. I’m somewhere in the second stage right now, most likely nearer the beginning than the end. Where are you?
2. Find your voice.
That’s been the hard step for me. But finding a voice in the hundreds of millions of blogs out there with many blogging on similar themes as I do. How do I define my blog in relation to all the others? By finding my voice. A voice can be defined in so many ways, none of which are exclusive. Your voice could be your blog’s niche, or your blog’s choice of topics. It could be the way you treat your topic. Or it could even be the way you write about dull subjects and inject personality, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor. It could even be as simple as your posting schedule or mix of posts through the week. Have you found your voice yet?
3. Build your authority.
No, I really don’t mean anything to do with another of the web’s charlatan’s: Technorati’s Authority Measure. I don’t even mean ‘pagerank’. Neither of these is a measure of your authority, rather it’s a measure of their decision making vis-a-vis your blog and its readership. As such, it’s subject to arbitrary adjustments up, down and sideways. Your authority is your ability to be thought of as someone who has understanding, insight, learning or skill and which achieves a greater degree of respect from your readership. That is your authority: do people approach you for advice (as readers or as emailers) or help when they come across issues that you have faced?
4. Keep your integrity.
With many companies out their encouraging bloggers to blog for dollars, it’s easy to sacrifice all of these qualities that you need for a few dollars in your PayPal account. Very easy. There have been times when I have sacrificed my own integrity for a few dollars. I regret it now. Now, I don’t tailor reviews to advertisers’ whims and unspecified needs, I try to tell the story as I see it, I try to keep readers informed of my conflict of interests, I try to keep my words honest and pure. I still do reviews, I still do buzzes but I will not write something that is dishonest or shortsells my readers. Do you feel you sold your integrity?
5. Connect with your audience.
That’s always the hard part. Blogging, for me and many readers, started out as an expression of personal and private writing that somehow managed to garner a small audience. If I’m always caught up in my own little bubble, and it’s pretty easy for me living where I live, doing what I do and seeing things from an “Asian” or “European” perspective, I will fail to connect with my readers and their interests. I’m trying to remind myself that I should be striving to connect more with my readers, wherever they are. How do you connect with your readers?
While I can’t guarantee that these alone will lead you to success in blogging, I feel strongly that success in blogging without these values will be fleeting.