WebProNews recently interviewed reality television blogger Reality Steve (Steve Carbone). The interview wasn't entirely about how to launch a successful blog, but as he shared his story with us, there were plenty of nuggets of wisdom that naturally came out of the conversation, which if you're trying to become a successful blogger, you might be able to learn from.
What are the biggest obstacles you've encountered in blogging success? Let us know.
1. It's ok to start small.
Reality Steve started by sending emails to a few friends. The friends liked his work and started forwarding his emails to their friends, and so on and so on. Social media has made it even easier to reach even more of your friends' friends. Even Facebook started small, and grew virally.
2. Find a subject area where you know there is interest.
People have all kinds of interests. Some of them are already well-covered by bloggers, and others there is more leeway. Even still, just because the web is saturated with bloggers in any particular subject, it doesn't mean you can't bring a unique, helpful and/or entertaining voice to the table. Number 3 is directly related to this.
3. Cater to a niche audience.
If you've chose a specific subject to blog about, you're already catering to a niche audience to some extent. However, it is that bringing a unique voice to the table that really adds to that. The thing is, this niche audience is probably already reading the other bloggers who are writing about the same niche, which is why you have to bring something different to the table.
4. Keep up with your niche religiously.
Reality Steve doesn't blog about every single reality show, but the ones he focuses on, he keeps up with fanatically. This means fans can consider him a go-to source when they want the latest news and analysis related to these shows. That keeps them coming back.
5. Do diligent work.
Essentially, if you want to be considered such a go-to place, you don't want to half-ass it. Be thorough. If in some cases you can't be thorough in detail, at least be thoroughly entertaining, or informative. That doesn't mean you have to put out long post after long post, just try not to miss things that matter.
6. Collect trusted sources (and use them).
Reality Steve has his regular sources, which he trusts, where he can get key information that he needs to be on top of news related to his area of coverage. This helps keep him at the forefront of breaking news in this space. Having these sources can also be useful for driving links to your blog from other blogs and publications.
7. Develop a good track record.
This is directly related to number six. It's easier to have a good track record of accuracy, when your sources are trustworthy, but sometimes you may get tips that turn out to be busts. Always indicate if there is any doubt to what you're reporting. If you can't take it for fact yourself, you shouldn't report it as fact to others. If you ever make a mistake, acknowledge it as a show to your audience that you can still be trusted.
8. Use social media.
Use social channels to connect with fans and promote your content (these channels can also add to your visibility in search engines - as an added tip that Reality Steve didn't really talk about, it can't hurt to employ basic SEO practices). "Both have been a godsend for my website," Reality Steve tells WebProNews about Facebook and Twitter.
9. Product-related material can interest both readers and companies.
This isn't so much a step, but just something to keep in mind, and I don't mean this from the receiving goods for positive reviews standpoint. You might want to read up on the FTC's guidelines if you're interested in that. However, Reality Steve brought up an interesting point about how the networks don't seem to mind his blogging about their shows, even when he's spoiling their outcomes, because it brings attention to their products.
If specific products are within your niche, you can reach out to people within the companies that deliver these products, for possible trusted sources, and they might be willing to give you the occasional exclusive story or first shot at breaking news, which can also get you links and help you build credibility.
10. Stick with it.
You may start small, but obviously the goal is to become big. This can take time. Reality Steve has been doing this for 8 years. Following these previous steps over time, they should start to pay off.
We might as well try to make this as helpful a resource as possible, so feel free to add your own tips in the comments.