In BusinessWeek’s slideshow of the most financially successful independent blogs, there are many common themes. Most of these blogs were started by accident, as something that the creators were interested in. (Most are white men). Most were a single person operation until they exploded.
Interestingly, I hadn’t heard of very many of these blogs. I think this may be due to a generational gap. Blogs are becoming much less popular among millennials, because it requires more in-depth reading. This generation is used to quick bites of information, listicals and lots of flashy headlines and photos. That doesn’t mean we’re not reading, we’re just reading differently, as we tend to be much more effective at “scanning” content for information than our older counterparts. This may also explain why the blogs that produce the most amount of revenue have an older audience who may have more stable income and time to commit to being regular blog visitors.
So the question is, what are the keys for having a successful blog that will gain enough of an audience to create a stable revenue? A lot of it seems to be sheer dumb luck, despite the pages upon pages of tips Google offers for “how to be a successful blogger.” Content is key – there can’t be too much overlap, and finding a unique niche is often the most important thing for creating a successful blog. If you find something that isn’t already offered on the internet, or find a new way to talk about it that hasn’t been done before, you’re already on your way to business.
Another good tactic is a unique writing style. Some pages opt for the flashy headlines, click-bait headlines (Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Thought Catalog), but others build off that in their writing style – take Perez Hilton for example, gossip blogger extraordinaire.
The big takeaway is that you need to find your own unique spot on the internet, which is getting increasingly more difficult. It’s important to find something that will draw attention to yourself to build an audience that will gain more traction. Whether that be through content, themes, submission style, writing style, or whatever else is missing in the media world… it’s important to find something to make yourself stand out.