There is a huge difference between a good blogger and a great blogger. A great blogger contains certain characteristics and traits that sets them apart from the rest. Having these ten qualities gives a blogger the power to understand what users what, how to create extremely good content, and how to promote it.
1. Industry Knowledge
Not only is understanding the industry from a concept/fundamental standpoint important, but having real life experiences is essential for any great blogger. Having real-life experience allows you to share those experiences, learn from those experiences, build relationships and learn things that are not taught from reading a book. Personally I would rather hire someone with 5 years of experience in the trenches, than someone who has 4 years of classroom style training.
Great bloggers must be passionate about what they are writing about. I truly believe if you are writing about things you are not interested or knowledgeable in, it will show in your writing and to your readers. People who are passionate about a topic or industry find it much easier to write about things that others with similar interests would enjoy. Long-term, you have to LOVE what you do, so if you are trying to grow your blog, you have to love your industry or else you will fail in the long run. You may be able to keep things going in the short-term, however at some point you will lose that drive and your blog will fail.
3. Writing Background/Experience
Of course, if you have a writing background or you have acquired good writing skills through years of experience, it will help keep your posts engaging and more enjoyable. Using proper grammar, descriptive verbiage, and compelling headlines can keep readers engaged in your content longer. I think overall if you are naturally a good writer, it will allow you to create high-quality content much easier and more efficiently.
A great blogger should be very well organized. Especially bloggers who write for a number of different blogs, it will be important to plan and manage your writing schedules. Like running your own business or planning your week for your full-time job, blogging should be no different. Brainstorming blog ideas, creating a writing schedule, and content promotion all need to be organized to maximize your work schedule.
If you fly by the seat of your pants (as many people do) and are disorganized, it will most likely lead to inefficiencies in your blogging. You can also find yourself so consumed with daily tasks, that your content quality suffers because you are just trying to rush through the writing process to get something out.
5. Strong Work Ethic
Having a strong work ethic turns good bloggers into great bloggers. Someone that is able to stick to a schedule, exceed personal goals and expectations, and push themselves, will stand out from the crowd. Usually bloggers are self-motivators because many of them do not see any type of direct financial impact. Many bloggers are writing for their own blog so it is not exactly a situation where they are getting paid for each post they write. So it takes a person with a strong work ethic to see the long term benefits and keep pushing themselves to consistently produce great content.
6. Network/Industry Reach
A blogger that has a large network and is known in the industry will make it much easier to promote their content. As we all know, even if you write great content, you still need to promote it. If you have built personal relationships with industry influencers, it can help earn credibility personally and for your blog. If you can shoot a few messages and e-mails to key people in the industry who you know will promote your content to their networks, that can be extremely powerful. Essentially you are leveraging your network and industry reach to promote content, gain feedback, and even help contribute to your blog.
7. SEO Knowledge
Having basic SEO knowledge is a plus for any blogger. Bloggers who understand the benefits of good keyword research, how to promote content, and maximizing the potential of each post, will gain a larger readership in a shorter amount of time. I would also imagine that at some point you will want to monetize your blog, by offering products or ad space. Bloggers with SEO knowledge typically have experience in monetizing blogs.
8. Goes Against the Grain
To be a great blogger you need to sometimes go against what everyone else is doing and do something that is away from “the norm”. Coming up with unique ways to stand out from the crowd is a way that great bloggers get found. It could be a post, design-related, new way of promotion, unique content delivery, or something that has never been done before in the industry.
9. Social Butterfly
Generally bloggers spend a good amount of time on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Being active on various social networks and engaging with people on a regular basis will help bloggers get noticed. If you are consistently promoting other users content, those users will begin to notice and return the favor. If you read other industry blogs and leave thoughtful comments or even personally contact the blog owner, this is all important for building your network and getting noticed.
A plus for a great blogger would be being a power user on social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit. If you have the ability to promote content and others in the community notice and promote it as well, that gives you more power to leverage these sites for traffic.
10. Enjoys Sharing and Helping
Great bloggers genuinely enjoy helping others. Many bloggers blog because they want to showcase their knowledge in the industry. Of course that is part of why people blog, but it should not be the only reason. Gaining satisfaction out of helping others in your industry is a trait that all great bloggers have. Taking the time to personally reach out to someone asking a question or for thanking someone who leaves an intelligent comment on your blog is going above and beyond. It shows that you do care about what others are saying, not just blogging to try to earn a buck.