Tanni Haas interviews twenty top bloggers, and ranks their interviews by readership. HuffPo is first, followed by Political Wire, then FireDogLake. This ranking makes sense, even if I have a slight quibble with it. Some bloggers, like John Robb at Global Guerrillas, post infrequently, have comparatively small readership, yet are hugely influential. Sometimes it’s not how many read it but who they are. Readership isn’t everything, influence counts immensely too. Robb has a unique voice (something all top blogs have) as well as content you won’t find elsewhere. Also, it’s important to note that Hass’ rankings aren’t of all political blogs, just the ones interviewed.
I highly recommend the book, and suggest any blogger read the interviews, as much useful information is there. Haas conducts the interviews skillfully, asking why they started their blog, what makes for a successful blog, and their advice for other bloggers.
Here’s a summation distilled from interviews.
- Find your fields of strength, specialize in something, especially a niche not covered by others. Once you’re established, then maybe become a generalist.
- Make it a group effort, however it needs a distinct personality too.
- Aim posts towards your expected readership.
- Solicit reader input, make it a community.
- Quote sources and allow comments.
- Get the word out to other bloggers, do explicit outreach.
- Be engaging and informative.
- Share information about yourself.
- Don’t just get your news from other blogs. Read books and develop your own ideas.
- Have differing content but stay ideologically consistent
- Use your own domain name (both Blogger and WordPress.com allow this now.)
- Realize that Twitter, Facebook, etc. change the game and that while your blog may be home base, the news needs to be transmitted everywhere and must be easily accessed on a mobile device.
There are plenty more ideas in the book. Check it out. I’ll be referring to it often myself for more ideas, some of which I’ll already instituting here.