Having been an active blogger for about six years now and having established a unique niche in the blogosphere through the OpenGardens blog , I am always happy to see bloggers who succeed in setting up their own unique space in blogosphere.
If I were to give some insights about blogging from my own experience, they would be:
- Go big OR go home: From the outset, plan to dominate an intellectual space(the business models will follow – directly or indirectly)
- You cannot win against the Internet with a water pistol: There is no shortage of content on the Internet. So, your content, no matter how good, is really a squirt in the ocean. To mitigate this, you have to focus on a niche and you have to create great content, regularly. By focussing on a niche, you are providing value to your readers in competition with a range of multi staffed competitors
- Be a cause/have an ethos: There are many blogs in the mobility space, but the OpenGardens blog is one of the few which is based on an industry wide cause – ie that of Open networks and open systems in the Telco/Digital convergence space. This cause, will be a transpersonal AAA motivation for blogging and will mean that you will get followers both from people who agree and disagree with your intellectual position and finally
- Lend an individual touch: Traditional media is dominated by professional journalists. Most blogs are not run by journalists. But that can be turned to an advantage. You can be ‘yourselves’. Indeed most successful bloggers I know bring out their own personal touch.
In that context, Birds on the blog is one of the most interesting case studies for blogging success I have seen recently and there is a lot to learn from it’s spectacular success within a very short time.
What do we mean by ‘spectacular success’?
Started only in Jan 2010 by Sarah Arrow, in about a year and a half, the venerable business magazine Forbes , now lists Birds on the blog among the top 100 blogs for women worldwide (and it’s the only UK based blog to make that list).
By any standards, that is indeed commendable and hence I think there is something to learn from it’s rapid rise.
Sarah arrow wonderful person who I have known only online. We met at another social networking site but we both left that site to build our own networks through our respective blogs.
Sarah started Birds on a blog based on a simple observation: many large publications for women are ‘corporate’ and they are also written for ‘high flying’ women execs. But the reality of women in business is that many businesses are run from home juggling a child’s schedule on one hand and a customer quotation on the other. He blog sought to address this unserved niche.
The blog was set out to be a forum by women in business discussing practical issues that matter to them and she invited some friends t contribute one post a week for twelve weeks. As you can see, the contributors have strongly held views which adds to the value.
The name comes from a TV show called Ashes to Ashes which used the word ‘bird’ for women in a derogatory context. So, the blog decided to ‘take back’ the word by creating ‘Birds on a blog’ – a blog for women. In another interesting twist, all revenues from blogging(for instance advertising) goes to fund the education of three little girls in Uganda
So, all in all a great success and much to learn.
I am also enhancing my blog and checked the wordpress themes and other details from Sarah’s ebook on blogging (link below)
And finally, over the next month or so, I hope to meet Sarah an her husband Kevin and also mutual friends Steven Healey and Ann Goodridge – inspite of my crazy schedule over the next month and a half (Amsterdam, NY, Bonn, Brussels and Nice). I may even be an ‘honorary bird’ and contribute an article.
The success of birds on the blog has been recognised by thought leaders like Guy Kawasaki and may it continue over the years!
Another perspective from Steven Healey’s blog: From zero visitors to 25000 in 15 months
Link to the girls being sponsored by earnings from the blog
All income from blog pays for education of two twin girls in Uganda
Blogging for business e-book
ebook – Blogging for business