7 Character Traits of Top Bloggers

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Can the open source way help nurture passion in classrooms?I recently had the good fortune to both attend BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2011 and speak on “Blogging in Financial Services” at the conference. BlogWorld is a great conference because not only do you get to listen and learn from some smart and successful people, but you also get the opportunity to network with them. Spending a little time with guys like John Jantsch, one of my all-time business marketing heros and author of The Referral Engine (a must read for professional business people), and rubbing elbows with Gary V (he’s got a new book out entitled The Thank You Economy, which I’m currently in the middle of)…what more could a girl ask for?

Listening to so many fantastic smart people at BlogWorld opened my eyes to a few really important ideas. I noticed that most of these successful bloggers had some common character traits about them, and these are also some of the same traits that I recognize in myself (fortunately)!

Blogging in and of itself is just a modern-day platform for building your community, delivering, and syndicating your message. However, blogging is the perfect platform for natural born leaders and teachers who are passionate about inspiring and motivating others. What I found at BlogWorld was that there are plenty of bloggers out there, but the successful bloggers are true thought leaders with 7 common character traits.

The 7 Character Traits of Top Bloggers

1)Entrepreneurial

Successful bloggers are building something. They’re building their own little (or in some cases very large) empire of loyal advocates; people who will follow them to the ends of the earth. They’ve created a business out of their knowledge, and have learned how to package that knowledge in such a way that they can monetize their intellectual capital through ads and sponsorships, products and services, speaking engagements, and/or book deals. Top bloggers are entrepreneurs in disguise!

2)Personable

Each and every successful blogger who spoke at BlogWorld was incredibly personable and approachable. Whether they were introverted or extroverted, they were all about people and truly interested in getting to know their followers and fans. You won’t find a top blogger who thinks he or she is above another. They are down to earth, personable people.

3)Passionate

Passion is a big key in staying motivated to do the work. Blogging is a big commitment because in order to be successful, you really have to stay at it and be as consistent as possible. You have to keep the knowledge, insights, information, and stories coming so that your followers stay engaged. Successful bloggers have figured out how to align their passion with their craft, and by doing so, they are truly inspiring others. The passion shines through!

4)Niche Focused

Successful bloggers are not trying to reach the masses, in most cases. They have some sort of niche that they’re focused on. It may be a big niche or it may be a small niche, but it’s still a niche. I am a big believer of building your leadership presence within a targeted market and expanding from there (hence my focus on financial services). Take Gary V for example, his niche is wine and he built his current business as a highly respected new media consultant by starting with what he knew best. He still spends a tremendous amount of time talking wine!  Most of the top bloggers out there are focused on a niche that either centers on their areas of expertise, or a specific demographic.

5)Committed

Seeing the commitment level of top bloggers to their craft really motivated me to get better at this. The most successful bloggers are sharing their knowledge on a daily basis, and sometimes multiple times a day through their blog and on their social media profiles. Blogging in some form or fashion has become a part of their daily schedule, and I truly believe it takes this level of commitment to really be successful. You can’t expect to get results and build community around your thought leadership by blogging every once in awhile. Clearly, it needs to become a part of your daily life!

6)Authoritative

Top bloggers know how to build authority. In other words, they have conviction and truly believe in what they’re talking about as they lead their followers to do the same. Let’s face it, people want to be told what to do. They want direction, advice, and guidance. Successful bloggers don’t make suggestions, they give direction! It’s so important to have an opinion as a leader and establish your authority within your niche. Your community is looking to you for guidance. At the same time, top bloggers are willing to be vulnerable by admitting mistakes and talking about lessons learned. They have the ability to be completely human which also helps them relate well to their audience.

7)Always Learning

Never stop learning. Spend your life being a student even as you teach others! This is what successful bloggers are doing. They are eager to learn more, be more, and do more. They want to be the best at what they do and they realize that to stay on the cutting edge, they must continue to educate themselves and most importantly, learn from their peers. In fact, top bloggers are wizards at synthesizing knowledge and breaking it down into digestible deliverables for their community. They are great teachers as well as students.

These are the top character traits of successful bloggers that I’ve identified. What are additional traits that you have identified? Please share them here in the comments section!

Creative Commons License photo credit: opensourceway

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About Stephanie Sammons

I'm Stephanie Sammons. I teach professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs how to build online influence for business success.

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  • http://kikolani.com/ KristiHines

    Being opinionated is a top trait that a lot of bloggers (including myself up to just a week or two ago) do not capitalize on, or for some of the ones that do, not in the right way. Whenever you’re sharing your opinion on something, you have to think about why you’re doing it and what benefit your audience will get out of it. If you feel good about the answer to both, then it’s the right thing to be opinionated about!

    • Stephanie Sammons

      Kristi, great point and I should have used the word authoritative (and have updated to reflect) because it does a better job of capturing this idea of having conviction and providing guidance to your followers. I think in some instances you do have to be careful about being too opinionated, especially with regard to heated topics. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_randall Lori_Randall

    Great post Stephanie! Niche is something I’ve been re-thinking recently. Now that so many people are involved with WordPress design and Social Media Strategy I’m going to take the plunge and narrow my focus down to the group I love and understand best: Writers!

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @Lori_Randall Awesome I think that’s really smart!

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @Kristi Hines Hi Kristi, you have a great point about being opinionated. I guess a better way to communicate that point is with the word “authority” (which I’ve now updated). It’s more about having conviction and providing a path to your followers versus ranting and raving about your opinions. An opinion is important, I believe, but more so in light of authority. Hope that makes sense. Thanks again for helping me to rethink that point.

  • shorespeak

    What a great list Stephanie.

    One additional trait that comes to mind is that bloggers need to be Analytical.

    It’s imperative that you watch your stats via Google Analytics or StatCounter so you get a deep understanding of who’s reading the blog, where they came from (search engine, keywords, other site links, etc), what posts draw the most readers, etc.

    Along the same lines bloggers need to be willing to Test. Test the format of the page, the headline of the post, the length of the post, the frequency of their posts, etc.

    It’s an amazing way to build an audience and dominate keyword(s) niche – and as you have outlined, it’s a lot of work!

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @shorespeak Great point Rob! I agree completely. Headlines are crucial and top bloggers are usually masters at creating great titles for their articles. We use the new WordPress JetPack plugin for our financial advisor blogs by the way…it’s got WordPress Stats built right into it and it has no drag on site speed like Google Analytics can. It’s great because not only is it simple to understand, it tells you exactly what you need to know: top posts, where traffic is coming from, keywords you’re being found with, and clicks. (Obviously you need a WordPress self-hosted blog for this plugin)

  • http://annedreshfield.wordpress.com/ annedreshfield

    This is a great list, Stephanie. I think 7 is an incredibly important step. The Web is always changing, and bloggers have to respond. I recently wrote a blog post about why bloggers may or may not pay attention to grammar, and I think this applies. Bloggers need to keep up on tech, writing, world news, and other topics of interest. They may be a genius regarding a certain topic, but if they can’t write well enough to get their point across, then what’s the point? We should always be willing to grow and better ourselves.

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @annedreshfield Agreed, I do think it helps to be a good writer, or at the very least have someone edit your posts for you. However, if you can’t write you can certainly podcast or video blog. What’s great about blogging technology is you can pick your medium.

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/ KDillabough

    Hi Stephanie: so glad to have found your site (via your article in Social Media Examiner)

    I agree with you and @annedreshfield that lifelong learning is a key trait of anyone who is successful. Things change at lightning speed today, and that requires an attitude of continuous learning, and a commitment of time to do so in order to be successful.

    Having owned my business now for over 25 years, I think your traits apply not only to bloggers, but most definitely to entrepreneurs. Glad to have found you. Cheers! Kaarina

  • momcommblog

    You are so dead-on! I think the first one is surprising me the most as I go on my own blogging journey. It’s so true that an entrepreneurial is a must. I always thought I’d more enjoy just being in a corporate job but I’m finding that by doing my own thing, I’m fueled by passion every day. By the way, I used to work for a credit union and am doing freelance work for another CU now. I’ll definitely be following you now!

  • http://annedreshfield.wordpress.com/ annedreshfield

    @stephsammons Also: welcome to Livefyre, and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns! :) Excited to read more.

  • KimDavies

    Hi, Stephanie.

    I found your blog through Kristi at Kikolani and I am so glad she included you in her roundup. I just started blogging more than a month ago and your post is helping me see if I have what it takes to be the blogger I want to be, which is in the same league as Gini Dietrich, Ingrid Abboud, Danny Brown, John Falchetto and his wife and Kaarina Dillabough, among others.

    So far I can identify with numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 and unsure about numbers 1 and 6. I am committed to spreading the word about the magic of 3D rendering, which is my niche, and with my passion in writing as well as my friendly personality will be among the tools I will use in continually learning not just from resources, but also from the great people I am meeting online.

    It was nice knowing you, Stephani and I hope you don’t mind connecting with me both on Facebook and Twitter. :)

    Kim

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/ KDillabough

    @KimDavies Kim, thanks so much for mentioning me in such great company: I’m honoured. Keep up the great work, as well as the novel, the poems and the sketching, my friend. You’re on your way! Cheers! Kaarina

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @KimDavies Hi Kim, thanks so much and it sounds like you are on the right path! Happy to connect.

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @KDillabough @annedreshfield thanks Kaarina! Glad we’ve now met virtually and I love your “decide2do” motto! Very cool!

  • http://www.wiredadvisorblog.com/ stephsammons

    @momcommblog Thanks so much for your comment. Yes I do believe having an entrepreneurial spirit is important, and it is a common trait I’m seeing from these top bloggers. At some point, they are willing to abandon the corporate job and venture out on their own. I think we are moving into a society where we are all our own individual brands where we run our own firms and projects. Corporate America as we know it is changing and for those who want freedom and flexibility, it pays to learn more about being an entrepreneur! Good luck to you.

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/ KDillabough

    @stephsammons @annedreshfield Thanks! Looking forward to our continued connection and developing friendship. Cheers! Kaarina

  • KimDavies

    @KDillabough It’s mainly because I am learning from such great people, Kaarina. :)

  • KimDavies

    @stephsammons Glad to know you, too, Stephanie. :)

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