I’ve been thinking about what lies behind a successful blog. I don’t mean specific features or content, but what is the secret at the core of successful blogs, regardless of their subject or audience.
Communication is typically a transaction or exchange between two entities (usually people or organisations).
A blog is no different – it’s a communication between two individuals, happening many times between the author and the blog’s readers.
If you consider a blog as an information exchange, then it must offer value to both author and reader.
Readers follow blogs for their own reasons; some have news scoops, some have unique or niche content and some are the best way to follow what an individual or organisation is up to.
What’s behind all these reasons is that the reader is getting value in a way that’s relevant to them (and as a blog author the challenge is to keep giving your readers value consistently over time).
On the other side of the value exchange equation is that to be sustainable, the blog author must get value from blogging.
At an individual level with individual readers I get this value from professional networking, learning new things and sharing knowledge.
At an aggregate level I also get value from raising my professional profile, generating new consultancy business and indulging in some shameless self-promotion to boot.
Taken as a whole I get enough value from blogging to make it a worthwhile use of my time, and my readers must get enough value on their own terms to keep reading.
So the secret to a successful blog is to offer enough value to attract and retain readers among your target audience, and get enough value from writing the blog to be able to sustain the significant time investment that blogging requires.