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All blogs are not created equally. But how do those stalwarts of the blogosphere make it up there, and what steps can you follow to make your blog a destination for the many, rather than a few hundred followers?
Since moving into my new position of Social Media Geek here at Outside Line, I’ve been in a position where blogging is a much more integral part of my daily life. And as my curious mind winds it’s cogs around something new, I’ll always begin to analyse the bigger scheme of things. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking how the blogosphere has built into this independent unit of interdependent organisms we interact with today. And as a result of that thinking, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The Blogging Ecosystem.
Up In The Clouds
The first thing you’ll notice in the ecosystem is the Cloud Cover – the big blogs, those behemoths of the Technorati Top 100, towering high over the collective with what always seems to be the best stories, the funniest links, the smartest thinking.
Some of these clouds, like the BBC, Engadget et al depend on old-school journalism – finding stories, doing the leg work, and digging deeper into what goes on behind the press releases. These guys get where they are with consistent hard work, through making contacts, and creating news.
Other clouds are run by the radical free thinkers, those visionaries who just seem to understand how the world works, how all the pieces fit together, and possess an clarity and ability to perfectly pull these thoughts into blog posts. If you were one of those, you’d know, and more of the internet would too.
And then there are those clouds that rely on the Creatives of the world – those designers, handymen, tailors, coders, [insert any possibly creative trade here], who make those “wow” artifacts that we mass email around the world’s offices everyday. These bloggers are the taste makers of the internet. And you might ask what these bloggers have that you don’t – well it often comes down to hard work and the fact that they’ve probably got 10 years worth of old posts that you lack. But beyond that, once you get into this position the power of authority is self-enforcing – because these guys always post the best stuff, then if you have something great you send it to them, further cementing their position.
The Reblogging Massive
And underneath the cloud cover, waiting for the tasty content to rain down from the skies, are The Reblogging Massive. They consume without creating, finding interesting tidbits, reblogging it, and adding their two cents.
I came across the term churnalism a while back, and this perfectly sums up what the majority of the blogosphere trades in – it’s operating a digital version of press release regurgitation. And whatever your thoughts on Merlin Mann, you can’t deny that “If linkbloggers wrote more and shovelbloggers thought more … the web would get 15% more interesting overnight.”
So the only way to free yourself from The Reblogging Massive and slowly work your way up to becoming a cloud is through content creation. I’ve experienced this first hand – a few months ago I wrote The Hierarchy Of Tweets, a post which got picked up by Mashable, Guy Kawaski, and a few other notables. And it’s through consistent creative thinking that you can lift your blog from an also-ran to a Cloud-to-be, a destination, a sure-fire subscription.
Take Think Simple Now as a perfect case study – Tina Su has taken a site from nothing to 13,000+ RSS subscribers and a Top 10k Technorati ranking through consistent creative thinking and solid hard work. She utilises social media intelligently, writes personally, and always thinks creatively.
There’s no magic bullet to creating a great blog. Just free yourself from The Reblogging Massive and do something fresh.