How Do You Become a Successful Blogger? (4 Answers that Might Surprise You).

by Craig McBreen · 23 comments · Blogging, Content Marketing


How-Do-You-Become-a-Successful BloggerHow Many “Famous” Bloggers Do You Know? (This isn’t a trick question).

Now, how many “successful” bloggers do you know? That’s even more nebulous, right?

I recently spoke to a small group of Marketing Directors familiar with Content Marketing.

The talk dabbled in SEO, but guess what? They didn’t know who Matt Cutts or Rand Fishkin were.

Gasp! …

I know … right? ;)

This sure killed my plans to explain the virtues of reading the bigger “super bloggers” that are part of our social bubble.

Those “overnight” sensations that seem to have everything we don’t.

“Grand Poobahs” who’ve mastered the art of sticky content and thousands of Twitter followers, while making millions (or at least thousands) in the process.

HOW do they do it?

And how can you do IT?

So, How Do You Become a Successful Blogger?

Well, here you go, peeps …

1. To be “Successful” Online, you must first let go.

Let. Go.

What do you need to let go of?

… The absolute silliness of, wait for it … being “internet famous.”

Or to stick a fork in my own title … stop trying to become a “successful” blogger. Because, really, what the heck does that even mean?

We’ve all had those dreamy thoughts. I have and I know you have. Be honest.

Why Trying to Be A Successful Blogger is Monkey Business.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, the dropout rate it the blogosphere is staggering, and one of the main reasons for this is a myth that is propagated far and wide.

Snake oil that leads to jealousy, depression and burnout.

And the best quote I’ve read on this myth comes from the book “Rework” by Jason Fried:

“The Myth of the Overnight Sensation

You will not be a big hit right away. You will not get rich quick. You are not so special that everyone else will instantly pay attention. No one cares about you. At least not yet. Get used to it.

You know those overnight-success stories you’ve heard about? It’s not the whole story. Dig deeper and you’ll usually find people who have busted their asses for years to get into a position where things could take off. And on the rare occasion that instant success does come along, it usually doesn’t last – there’s no foundation there to support it.

Trade the dream of overnight success for slow, measured growth. It’s hard, but you have to be patient. You have to grind it out. You have to do it for a long time before the right people notice.”

Um … yes.

… and “Success” means different things to different people, so let go, stop comparing, and figure out what this means in your world.

On the very edges of our insular environment, are people like Chris Brogan, James Altucher and Lewis Howes.

You might call them close-to-breakout stars, or people who have made their mark, have advanced beyond the blogging bubble, and are ready for prime time.

They are smart, hard-working people who have successfully used their platform to advance their cause and then some.

But guess what?
There’s absolutely nothing even approaching “overnight” in their respective paths. (If you don’t know them, look them up and study them. You’ll see).

You?
I think standing out arrives when you master your own formula of know-how, fire and creativity.

That’s why I put “success” in BIG, FAT QUOTES, because I’m just some guy in Seattle with a big, fat opinion, but I do feel successful, and I’m moving and shaking in my own little way.

You? Do the same and see what happens.

2. Create the Most Rock-Solid Foundation in the History of the Blogosphere.

Okay, I exaggerate, but please read on …

Do you want to be like Lewis? Developing a series of platforms leading to books, speaking, and TV spots?

Or, are you blogging for business? Look at someone like Gini Dietrich. Now THERE’S someone blogging for business. Read SpinSucks.com, watch her videos, and check out her company, Arment Dietrich.

But do you want to know what Sir Lewis and Queen Gini have in common? A rock-solid foundation built on years of blood, sweat and tears. Networking, speaking, writing … need I go on?

A guy who once called himself “a washed up football jock” just went for it … day after day after day.

Gini? Heck, just look at this. Now that is blogging for Biznass!!

Be crystal clear with your intentions, TODAY, and just go.

But … please don’t try to be Lewis or Gini. Just do your own thing and see where it gets you.

3. Third, Figure Out How You Will Get There.

I love wild-eyed dreamers, but if you have a much larger end-goal, what are the baby steps that will get you there?

If “fame” is your chief motivator, a backup plan would be prudent.

What IS your plan? …

Speaking gigs?

A best-selling book?

More clients?

To bring your business out of the stone age by convincing your boss your company needs a blog?

… or all of the above?

Just stop spinning your wheels. Take a break and figure it out, that’s all.

4. Let Go.

I think I’m repeating myself, but to me, this one is the most important. (When it comes to being a successful blogger, that is ;))

Let go of the myth, figure out what makes your heart sing, and keep your nose to the grindstone.

Stop comparing yourself to “big-time” bloggers, because, remember … this is a marketing and branding game where some are perceived to be mightier than they are.

And those who are indeed mighty, are usually knuckle down types who don’t stop for pee breaks ;)

HOW Do You Win the Battle for Attention Online?

My friend Ryan Hanley constantly talks about “Winning the Battle for Attention Online.”

Heck, he even has a book coming out about it: And trust me, his methodology kicks silly myths to the curb.

So, what IS his book about?
A viable, yet robust model where you find your tribe, give them what they need and grow a community built on creativity, honesty and sweat equity.

BAM! Now, that’s the ticket.

To win you must let go, and realize this is not about ego, keeping up with the blogging Joneses, or trying to find rank in the blogging hierarchy. No. No. And, NO.

It IS about what moves you, the value you have to give, and your grand vision.

It involves creativity, dedication to the craft, and a crap ton of work.

And yes, this goes for you, Mr. CPA in Sheboygan, trying to build a blog that rocks the content marketing world …

Heck, Ryan is an insurance guy and he’s done just that :)

Be Your Own Blogging Superstar

Love it, but have a mission that’s all yours, proudly display your know-how and “bring it” like you mean it.

Value + inventiveness + chutzpah. Your way.

Yep. I think there’s a formula for online success and it’s not that complicated.

Cheers to your success!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephen Lahey June 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

Well, you certainly exemplify value, inventiveness and chutzpah, Craig. Your blog always makes me think. Time for me to boost my chutzpah level a notch or two? I’m thinking – yes. :)
Stephen Lahey recently posted..Entrepreneurship, Meaning and Authenticity: A Transformative Conversation with August TurakMy Profile

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Craig McBreen June 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Hi Stephen,

Little, old me? Glad the old neurons are firing away … you do the same for me, Sir! We all need a little more chutzpah, right? :) Glad to see you here!

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Ryan Hanley June 26, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Craig,

Dude, I couldn’t agree with you more. This is the especially hard part for businesses that start to see success in social media… They end up wanting to become social media stars because of the small successes.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but its a tough path to follow.

Appreciate the shout out for the book!!!

Hanley
Ryan Hanley recently posted..Why Trust Acquisition Should Be Your CMO’s Primary Job FunctionMy Profile

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Craig McBreen June 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Hey Ryan,

We’ve all felt that way, because we see those big names. Nothing wrong with it and like you say, not a bad thing, as long as you can refocus and do it your way … what you consider successful in your world.

That book deserves a shout out! Looks like the campaign is almost there :)

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Jack June 26, 2014 at 1:58 pm

This blogging thing works best when we don’t take it too seriously.
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Craig McBreen June 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Hey Mr. Jack,

Indeed. All I have to do is look at the blog title in your comment ;) Nothing like dancing naked with feather boas.

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nancydavis June 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I have found when I come from my heart, I get the best response. People want to be talked to, not talked at. I also find it helpful to write pretty much the same way I talk. That way, I am always me, not me trying to be someone else.

Just my thoughts.
nancydavis recently posted..When Is It Going To Stop?My Profile

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Craig McBreen June 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Hi Nancy,

Nice to see you here and good points. Writing with emotion is always good, and needed, me thinks. Writing in a conversational tone (as you speak) is always good in blogging. Sometimes I lose touch with that.

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Sara June 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Hi Craig,

I really enjoyed your post and think it could be probably applied to a wider field than blogging – like Life :) Head down, bum up, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do…and don’t worry about what other people are doing. We all have our unique contribution to make to this world :)

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Craig McBreen June 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Hi Sara,

Thank you and you’re so right. Heck you could compare it to our ridiculous pop culture where so many people are celebrated for doing … well, nothing ;) Famous for being famous.

“Head down, bum up, do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do…and don’t worry about what other people are doing.”

Cheers to that! :)

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Carol June 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Great post. Thank you. It’s what I need to keep remembering as I trudge along in my blog world.

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Craig McBreen June 28, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Hi Carol,

Thank you! It can be quite an endurance contest, and it’s so easy to get caught up in things that don’t matter and don’t help in your journey. If you’re trudging away with purpose (based on what YOU want) you’ll get there :)

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Adrienne July 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Hey Craig,

Boy do I love this post! Famous is in the eyes of the beholder and someone I might think is someone else may not.

I also don’t like the definition of “successful blogger”. As you said, that means different things to different people depending on why they’re blogging and what they want to accomplish.

I think blogging should be about using this platform to get in front of your target audience, give them what they want and build up a community. That’s the best way anything can lead to whatever else you want to do because your raving fans will become your customers and they love to share with their friends just how great you are. Gini and Lewis are great examples of that as you pointed out.

Great share Craig and hope you’re enjoying your 4th of July weekend.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..How To Attract The Right People To YouMy Profile

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Craig McBreen July 5, 2014 at 11:34 am

Hey Adrienne,

Thanks. I don’t like the definition either, but kinda had to slip that into the title. But you’re right … it means so many different things to different people.

“I think blogging should be about using this platform to get in front of your target audience, give them what they want and build up a community.”
–That about sums it up :) Picke Gini and Lewis because they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but are both incredibly successful in their own way.

Had a great Fourth, hope you did as well. Thanks!

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Enstine Muki July 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Hey Craig,
Just to mention I came here from Adrienne’s blog and it’s beautiful to be around. I just put this blog on my list and will be here often. Just time to say hi as I step out.

Hope it will be wonderful blogging in your community ;)
Have a wonderful day
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Craig McBreen July 8, 2014 at 7:21 am

Hi Enstine,

Adrienne has quite the community. Appreciate you stopping in and you have a wonderful day too, Sir :)

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myrujukan July 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

I’m just know Matt Cutts only. In my country, I know many successful blogger
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Lorraine Reguly July 9, 2014 at 4:24 am

Hi. This is my first time here, too, and I’m also hopping here from Adrienne’s blog. (I’m trying to expand my circle of bloggers these days…)

The title of your post caught my eye. In fact, I just left a comment on another blog – also found on Adrienne’s last post about pet peeves – where I was able to vent. (The guy who had the F word in his title…)

Anyway, I’ve been trying to “make it” in the blogosphere for the last year-and-a-half, and I’m (apparently) considered an “expert” by some, and a “newbie” by others (to which I laugh at!) and so really enjoyed your rant about “doing your own thing.” I do what I do, when I feel like it. I don’t like restrictions. I don’t like schedules (I blog each Tuesday and on some Fridays) but hate the many politically correct “rules” bloggers seem to have to follow.

I think success is truly an individual thing.

If I take a look at who I am today, as compared to who I was in January of 2013, when I first began blogging, I am a success – for sure!

But if I compare myself to Darren Rowse, Danny Iny, or Ana Hoffman… then I feel inadequate. So I don’t. Why should I? I’m not doing what they are; I’m an author! Ha.

Mind you… I still like learning from others. And teaching others, too.
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Craig McBreen July 9, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Hi Lorraine,

Well, thank you for the visit :)

Success is an individual thing, but too much time in the blogosphere can make any soul feel like they should be the next Brogan or Flynn.

Do things at your pace, your way, but prepare for a marathon (and forget about the sprint :))

“If I take a look at who I am today, as compared to who I was in January of 2013, when I first began blogging, I am a success – for sure!”
–– Well, there ya go! Congrats and happy you’re making progress. I feel much the same, from late 2011 to now.

Thanks for the visit and love the comments.
Craig McBreen recently posted..How Do You Become a Successful Blogger? (4 Answers that Might Surprise You).My Profile

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harish July 9, 2014 at 10:14 am

every new blogger will starts their blog to be get succeed in life by earning traffic to blog and by that earning money.to get success one should have patience and dedication towards his work.your post will definitely to the new bloggers like me to get success .thank you for your post
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Craig McBreen July 9, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Patience and dedication are key. Thanks, Harish.
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