What does it take to be considered one of the best bloggers on the block? Of course there are a whole bunch of attributes that make a good blogger but what does it take to be a cut above the rest?
Clearly there are a many qualities that make someone a great blogger, but I’m going to focus on one of them here.
This sounds pretty harsh, right? Ruthlessness is a quality that most of us consider to be pretty negative.
We think of someone ruthless as having no pity or compassion. Someone who can make decisions emotionlessly even though they might negatively affect others.
I’ll bet each of us could think of a long list of people in business we consider to be ruthless, and our feelings towards them would likely be pretty negative.
However, there are some advantages to being ruthless, especially if you want to be the best blogger you can be. But I’m not talking about being ruthless and underhand to your competitors or anyone standing in the way of your blogging success.
I’m talking about being ruthless in the way you approach your blog.
10 Ways to Attain the Mentality of the Best Bloggers
In my view, the best bloggers have a ruthless approach to how they work and determining what’s important. So… far from advocating a cold-blooded attitude towards others, I’m recommending you flick your ruthless switch and focus it upon what you do as a blogger.
With this in mind, the following ruthless approach to blogging is what I believe turns good blogger into a great one!
This is the bugbear of many bloggers and it’s a difficult one to overcome.
Perfectionism is not a good trait when it comes to blogging. Life as a blogger is demanding and you’ll be required to spin many plates at the same time. You have to keep ALL the plates in motion because we all know what’ll happen if you don’t.
You can’t afford to allow a perfectionist streak to prevent your plates from spinning. Whether you’re writing content, creating images or working in social media, seeking perfection in everything you do will prevent you from publishing that post, sending that tweet or sharing that pinterest pin.
Content quality is super-important… no doubt about it. It’s vital to have high-quality content for your visitors and for search engines. But there’s a huge difference between creating high-quality content that’s valuable and content that’s perfect.
I never advocate publishing or sharing content that’s downright sub-standard, but just because something’s not 100% perfect it shouldn’t stop you moving forward.
So you’ve written a great blog post you’re not 100% happy with. No problem… publish it and update it later if it still makes you wince when you read it. Your Pinterest pin isn’t the most compelling pin ever created. No problem, create a better version next time.
Striving to create the best content you can doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. And your quest for perfection should not knock you out of your content schedule in whichever platform you’re working.
The best bloggers are ruthless in their attitude towards avoiding perfectionism. You don’t need to be perfect, so don’t strive to be.
2. Posting Schedule
We know that publishing blog posts is important. We also know the more content we produce, the more likely we are to have a blog that attracts visitors.
What does this mean?
It means you have to ruthlessly commit to a blog posting schedule. Of course you have to be adaptable, since things often crop up to knock you off course. But if you take a casual approach to publishing content, you’ll just let things slip.
I speak from experience.
The best bloggers publish great content on a very frequent basis. They may vary in how much they load into their posting schedule, but they’ll all strive to adhere to their plans ruthlessly.
Do you have a posting schedule? Do you stick it ruthlessly?
Your priorities are different from mine… that’s a given. But how do you determine what’s important in your list of things to do? Do you prioritize your list?
The best bloggers prioritize ruthlessly. They have the ability to understand how important each of their work tasks are in the great scheme of their blogging life.
If you don’t prioritize you’ll either work on what you have to do in the order you’ve written them down or you’ll focus on the ones you like doing first. This is not the how the best bloggers work.
However you carry out your work plans, you have to order them in terms of importance. How you determine importance might be:
- Time based, where a deadline has to be met.
- Value-based, where tasks will likely result in something profitable for you.
You’ll have to be the one to decide, but do so objectively and ruthlessly.
The best bloggers are inquisitive and test things ruthlessly. If something’s working badly, they ask… could this work better? If something seems to be working well, they ask… could this work better?
See the pattern?
Trying things out is the only way we’ll get to understand whether something works, doesn’t work or whether something can work better.
The only way you can improve what you do is by testing things methodically to see what works and what doesn’t.
5. Things That Don’t Work
You’ve probably heard the following cliché:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.Cliché!
I’m almost embarrassed to use this hackneyed saying, but the truth is you can’t keep working on the same things over and over if they’re not working out for you. You must be ruthless if something’s not working… assuming you’ve given it a good a good innings.
This is a bit of a tricky one to a certain extent since some things take a while to work out. For example, blogging is a hard nut to crack. It takes a long time to make a success of it and you have to put in a big shift to give your blog the best chance.
At what point do you quit blogging if it’s not working out for you? I would say that if you’ve been working for a year, posting 3-4 times per week and not seeing ANY changes in your traffic, then something isn’t working and you need to change what you’re doing. That doesn’t necessarily mean quitting, but it does mean you need to try doing something differently to see if it effects a change.
The same is true for any activity. You can’t just blindly continue along a path if it’s not leading you anywhere.
The best bloggers are ruthless about changing things up if they believe something isn’t working. Here’s another cliché I’ll use to back this up.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.Cliché
Yes it’s another overused cliché, but clichés are overused because they often contain indisputable truths.
6. Writing & Editing
This touches on aspects of perfectionism.
The best bloggers ruthlessly edit their blog posts. If something doesn’t fit, it doesn’t end up in the post. When re-reading content after it’s published and parts of it are no longer relevant, they edit it.
You can’t be precious about what you’ve written either before or after you’ve published it. If something’s bad, rewrite it. If something is no longer true, edit it to bring it up to date. If something’s awful, remove it.
You have to look at the things you’ve written with an objective eye and edit it without pity… but of course avoid perfectionism!
I love comments. Seriously… a well-thought, considered comment on something I’ve posted makes me really happy. It shows me that someone has read my post, thought about it and is wants to contribute to it. It also shows they understand comment etiquette.
Conversely, “Great post man!” makes my blood boil. I treat valueless comments with extreme prejudice and pop them straight into the spam bucket. If they’re even less imaginative than this, I might even redirect comments from their IP and their email address straight to spam gulag without even moderating it.
This is a tip I’ve picked up from the best bloggers I know, who treat spam comments in the same ruthless manner.
When you get a lot of visitors and you allow commenting on your blog you’ll start to get a lot of comment heat. Make sure all comments automatically go into a moderation queue (never allow them to publish automatically) and put any in your spam bin ruthlessly if they’re, well… spam!
Sharing generously and honestly. I see the best bloggers doing this constantly. They see something online they consider to be valuable and they tell others about it.
Sharing is a win-win for everyone:
- You make information available to others who might learn something from it.
- It gives you something to talk to others about.
- Paying things forward is a sure way to build friendships… and friends tend to help one another out!
Be open to what others have to say and if you believe what they’re doing and saying might be valuable to others, share it ruthlessly!
9. Helping Others
This has to be my favorite because helping others is what makes me tick… genuinely.
The best bloggers provide help to those who need it, either directly through social media, comments and email or through the content they create. The best bloggers provide solutions to real problems.
You’d be surprised the number of times I’ve reached out to someone considered a blogging guru to pick their brains about something… and I’ve often received help, advice and encouragement.
Truly great bloggers help others out graciously… and without motive. And of course they do so ruthlessly!
But don’t just take my word for it… listen to what pro-blogger Ryan Biddulph from Blogging from Paradise says about it.
There is only so much time available to devote to blogging.
We all have responsibilities that require our time. Many bloggers have to squeeze blogging activities into the available time they have and for most of us it’s a very tough balancing act.
The best bloggers are ruthless with their time to ensure they meet their commitment to their blogs. Starting a blog from zero to successful requires an almost monumental commitment at times so you have to make the most of the time you have.
Of all the things to be ruthless about, your time has to be the one you’re most precious about. Great bloggers understand this and outsource low-level tasks that can be handled easily by someone else. This time saving enables them to focus on the most valuable aspects of their blogs.
Obviously we don’t all have funds available to do this… but it is something to aspire to.
Guard your blogging time jealously!
I’ve identified 10 areas in which the best bloggers are ruthless. To summarize these, and not in order of importance, they are:
- Posting schedule.
- Things that don’t work.
- Writing & editing.
- Helping others.
We can all learn from the best bloggers we know about. Study their moves and follow their steps.
That’s it for now.
Do you think that turning a ruthless eye to your own blog will make you a great blogger? Leave a comment below and let’s have a chat about it!