Do you remember the last truly awesome party you attended?
Of course you do. Legendary parties stick in your memory forever.
The people. The music. The atmosphere. The conversations. The hijinks.
Identifying the exact ingredients that come together to create the perfect party is difficult, but you know when you’re at one.
The same is true with popular blogs.
On the surface they look a lot like all the other blogs on the block, but something special sets them apart from the rest.
Some magic combination that makes one blog the place everyone wants to be, while the others fade into the background.
You may even think these blogs have some hidden advantage that gives them an edge over everyone else.
Well, you’re right.
Popular bloggers know that you can’t leave anything to chance.
Just like the host of a great party, you’ve got to be crafty to make sure your blog is where everyone in your niche wants to be.
Fortunately for you, with the right game plan you can learn how to start a blog and be a popular blogger (or an awesome party host). You just need a little effort and planning.
9 Lessons Smart Bloggers Can Learn from Crafty Party Hosts
1. They don’t invite just anyone
I wouldn’t invite my grandma to a bachelor party.
It’s not that I don’t love her; she just wouldn’t find it interesting.
Ok, she’d probably be horrified.
But if I try and throw a party that pleases everyone, I’ll end up pleasing no one.
The same is true for blogs.
Popular bloggers know they can’t do everything for everyone. Content one audience finds invaluable is likely to be totally irrelevant for another – or even worse, it will turn them away.
That’s why popular bloggers concentrate on delivering content to a specific niche.
Now, that doesn’t mean they’re all the same sort of people (that would be kind of boring).
Just like at a great party, bringing together people from different worlds is part of what makes popular blogs so appealing.
The audience should, however, share something in common – a dream, a desire, a mission – that can help build a sense of shared purpose between blogger and reader.
Let’s take Jon, for example…
Lots of people have blogs, so visitors to Smart Blogger could be marketers, artists, cooks, history buffs, or numerous other things.
But whatever their topic, they all share the desire to build an audience.
Jon is guided, as are his readers, by a sincere desire to satisfy this shared need.
It’s the building block of his community.
And people love him for it.
So before you write your next blog post, take some time to figure out who you are writing for and what your shared purpose with them will be.
And be prepared to shut the door on anyone else.
2. They secretly stalk their guests before the party
The perfect party host seems to magically know what people want even before the party starts. But of course it’s not magic.
The secret – they do their homework.
Before even starting to plan the party, they hang around popular places their guests gather, making note of every little detail on what makes the group tick.
They might even sneak into other parties to see what’s working well and not so well (Vodka luge – good. Lederhosen – bad).
The bottom line is that a good party host has to give guests what they want – kids want games, wedding guests want to dance and eat, bachelor party guests want… well, you get the point.
So what do the people reading popular blogs want?
Ultimately a successful blog is really a problem-solving service.
Although on the surface this might sound simple, defining the problems you want to solve can be difficult. It’s incredibly easy to get dragged in too many directions.
And even if you have a good grasp of the problems you want to solve, your audience might not think of these challenges in the same way you do.
That’s why smart bloggers communicate in terms that their audience understands.
This means immersing yourself in the world of your readers and becoming part of the community instead of just a bystander.
Use the following tips to do it:
- Obsessively read blogs that serve similar audiences to yours. Use Alltop.com to map out some of the most successful blogs in your niche, subscribe to them, and read every new post. Pay attention to the kinds of things that get readers excited and then try adding some of that special sauce to your own posts.
- Use Google Keyword Planner to discover frequently used search terms. Knowing which words people are using when searching for answers to their problems can give you some great insights into what challenges your readers need help with – and how they talk about them.
- Hang out in places where your audience is likely to be. Visit forums, online conferences, the comment sections of other blogs, etc. Take detailed notes on the kinds of problems people struggle with and you’ll end up with a near endless supply of post ideas.
3. They’re not afraid of shameless promotion
Imagine if you did everything you needed to do to plan an awesome party – decorations, food, games, etc. – but then never sent out any invitations.
All that time and effort wasted when almost no one shows up to appreciate it.
Well, that’s what most people do with their blogs.
They just post their content and expect people to magically show up.
Unfortunately, blogging doesn’t work that way.
The Internet is way too saturated with content for people to just stumble upon your post on their own – no matter how much of a gem it might be.
Popular bloggers that make money are experts at promotion because they know that, without it, no one will ever read their stuff.
They also spend a lot of their time building connections and doing useful things for others because, at the end of the day, this is what builds the kind of authority that gets you noticed.
Get yourself heard with the following tips:
- Write guest posts for popular blogs – Go find a successful blogger with a similar audience to yours, build up a relationship with him or her, and then offer to write a guest blog post that addresses a specific problem their audience faces. This strategy works so well because it’s mutually beneficial: the popular blogger gets content their audience loves, and you receive instant authority through association.
- Ask influencers for links and shares – One of the other great things about guest blogging is that once you’ve built a relationship with other bloggers in your niche, you can ask them to share your stuff. Of course, don’t abuse this practice. Remember that the content has to be something their readers will love – and even then, you should err on the cautious side. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you do more for others than you ask them to do for you.
- Promote your blog via social media – As you start building a following, make sure to tell them when you’ve got something new. Whether through email, social media, or some other channel, focus on explaining what’s in it for the readers. It also helps to write killer headlines that grab the reader’s attention to make clicking that link irresistible.
4. They’re not above bribing people to show up
Even if you do all the right things to plan the perfect party and get all the invitations out, it never hurts to throw a little added incentive into the mix.
A crafty party host might promise free beer, a guaranteed seat in the hot tub, or simply an introduction to that girl (or boy) you’ve had your eye on. The most exclusive parties even have goodie bags with gifts worth hundreds of dollars.
Similarly, most popular bloggers out there offer a giveaway to entice readers to come check out their site – and to subscribe.
This kind of giveaway can take many forms – guides, videos, courses, manifestos, etc. – but the best ones are practical tools that the reader can apply instantly.
These freebies usually take one of two forms. Either they help solve a specific problem (such as Jon’s Headline Hacks guide for writing killer headlines) or they give the reader a proven strategy for success (such as my 5 Step Guide for Building a Customer Community).
Use an email client like AWeber (affiliate link) or MailChimp to easily capture the email addresses of those who download your giveaway, adding them to your subscriber list in the process.
5. They get their guests hooked on highly-addictive substances
Getting people to show up at a party is one thing.
But once those guests walk through the door, what’s stopping them from turning right back around and heading to the possibly cooler party down the street?
The crafty party host knows exactly what’s required to stop guests from straying.
Maybe it’s a hot new DJ whose killer beats keep dragging them back to the dance floor.
Or it could be a dedicated games room where the console junkies can get their fix.
Or maybe it’s even a little something special in the hot, fresh brownies coming out of the kitchen.
Whatever it is, the host must offer something that makes staying at that party irresistible.
And that’s the same way you want people to feel about your blog.
When you read a post from a popular blogger, you hang on every powerful word, you hang on every word because they take the time to get it right.
Instead of posting every random thought that comes in their head, they spend hours (sometimes much longer) coming up with the perfect idea and seducing you with perfectly crafted prose.
Their openings slap you in the face and each subsequent sentence deftly moves you through the piece like an enchanting spell.
And when you reach the end, you’re left craving more.
Use the following tips to do the same:
- If you aren’t a great writer yet, practice. There’s no other way to get better. Readers want substance, and they want it delivered in epic proportions through beautiful writing.
- Find out what your audience is already addicted to. Study the paths and actions people take (or don’t take) when they visit your site using a tool like Google Analytics. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
- Learn to seduce your readers, slowly. Instead of being a know-it-all jerk or a pushy salesman, realize that building a successful blog will be a product of building great relationships and strong affiliations – because, as in real life, genuinely rewarding relationships are addictive.
6. They know when to shut up and let others speak
A party host who does nothing but talk about him or herself is annoying, no matter how smart they are.
Talking at people (instead of with them) is a great way to get people looking for the nearest exit.
That’s why popular bloggers see their blog not as a bullhorn for their own thoughts but as a platform for building a community conversation.
When readers share their voice and feel you are listening to what they have to say, they are more likely to become engaged members of your community.
Try the following approaches to get your community talking:
- Craft emotionally compelling content. The kind that drives an audience to leave comments. Encourage people to share their own ideas, stories, and approaches.
- Invite people to write guest posts on your blog. Find people who will add a unique perspective and who have an audience that you want to connect with – as they are likely to widely share anything they create.
- Send out reader surveys. Use a service like SurveyMonkey to tap your audience for feedback, such as ideas on which problems you should tackle next. Write a follow-up post that shares some of the best ideas.
7. They talk to all the guests (even the uncool ones)
A good party host knows how to work the room and make each person feel like the guest of honor.
After all, nobody likes to feel as though the person who invited them is spending all their time with other people (even though it’s true).
That’s why – even with their crazy busy schedules – popular bloggers are great about always making time to interact with people, answering questions and replying in kind to thoughtful observations.
This adds a human touch that people remember.
To efficiently and meaningfully interact with your audience, remember:
- Even with all the social media platforms out there, sometimes email is still the best. But popular bloggers use email to do more than just send newsletters. They use it as a two-way channel of conversation, helping them build intimacy with their readers.
- Used properly, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ are great tools for showing people you care. Remember, the reason most people participate in the social media world is because they want to be heard. It’s an easy thing to give them, just by taking the time to respond.
Don’t take for granted the fact that a reader comments on your post. There’s no reason you shouldn’t leave at least a short response to every comment made on your blog.
8. They aren’t afraid to jump in the pool
Nobody likes a boring party host.
You know who I’m talking about. The sort of person who’s desperate to make sure everyone else is having fun, but doesn’t seem to be having any fun themselves.
Whether it’s a party or a blog, people take their lead from the host and if they’re not having a good time, it’s difficult for everyone else to relax and let go.
And on a blog, readers want to feel a connection with the blogger.
They want to be moved.
They want to laugh.
They want to cry.
But, more than anything, they want to have fun.
Jon once said that being a popular blogger is less like being a teacher and more like being a street performer.
Almost every popular blogger I’ve ever seen has one thing in common: charisma.
Life is too short to take yourself too seriously.
Admit to your flaws and don’t be afraid to laugh at your own dumb mistakes.
Share amusing stories from your own life once in a while so people can see the human being behind the blog.
Take opportunities to show your playful side, whether that’s through what you share on social media, how you respond to comments on your blog or even how you describe yourself on your About page.
If you’re not afraid to jump in the pool, chances are people will jump in with you.
9. They’re already planning the next party
It’s a great accomplishment to throw an epic, unforgettable party.
But if you really want to become the undisputed party king or queen, you need to be thinking about the next party – even before this one is over.
Thinking how you can make sure that it’s an even bigger success than the one before.
What you’ll do to get even more people to show up.
Who you’re going to ask to help spread the word even further.
Luckily, once you start to get a reputation, it gets easier. You might even get people banging on your door, asking when the next party is.
Similarly for bloggers, there’s always a new post to write and fresh traffic to find.
And a great place to start is those readers who showed up before.
Use the following tips to get people back to your blog time and time again:
- Let people know you’ve got something new. People are busy, and they aren’t likely to come back to a blog – even a popular one – if they expect to find the same thing that was there last time. In my experience, email is better than RSS. It’s more personal and requires less action on the part of the audience once they’ve subscribed.
- Post regularly, but not every day. Like the cool bar that has a new cocktail to try every Friday, when you post on a regular schedule, you’re programming people to expect something new from you and seek it out. And since you’re not posting every day, spend the extra time transforming your posts into epic pieces of art nobody will forget. Quality over quantity.
- End your posts with a cliffhanger. Leaving your readers hanging makes them hungry to read the next post. Remember that it’s human nature to want to solve a mystery!
The world needs more great parties
Becoming a popular blogger isn’t easy. Like throwing a killer party, it takes intense research, impeccable execution, and an unwavering ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Because it’s so difficult, many of the blogs out there are mediocre at best.
In fact, most of you are going to keep doing the same old stuff, and getting the same tired results.
But I know that a few of you will now go out and do something amazing.
And let’s face it, the world could use a few more brilliant people making great things happen.
Isn’t that why you started a blog in the first place?
Not for personal glory…
But to connect with an audience.
To help people solve problems and empower them to throw their own amazing parties.
And maybe along the way to make the world a better place.
Well, it’s time.
Time for you to get out there and throw the biggest, craziest, most awesome party this world has ever seen.
I’ll be looking for my invitation.
68 thoughts on “9 Reasons Why Running a Popular Blog is Like Hosting an Awesome Party”
Sound advice. Nobody wakes up and says “how bad should I suck today.” Always be on your game if you want to make a living blogging. Party on, Jake!
Party on, Hotdogman!
Great Post, Jon. This is the reason your blog is so awesome.
Thanks! The credit goes to Jake on this one, though. 🙂
Thanks Michael and Jon. This was a fun post to write, but it definitely wouldn’t have been possible without great feedback from Boost Blog Traffic Associate Editor Glen Long. He definitely deserves a lot of credit!
If anyone is looking for an editor, I highly recommend working with Glen. You can hire him here: //smartblogger.com/consulting-glen-long.
I agree. Glen is a legend. He’s helped me immensely in the guest blogging course. Glen you rock!
This is the perfect example of why this blog is the only blog in my bookmarks section! Thank you so much for sharing and reminding us to “stay fresh”!
Well I’m honored to be one of your guests Jon, and Jake! Some of this is spot on, and the approach is pretty darn entertaining. Have a great day guys!
Thanks Ragnar. Glad you liked the post. Drinks are in the fridge!
Loved this. You’re on my mind every day as I write. Many thanks.
Most welcome. Thank you for reading.
Thanks Ragnar. Glad you liked the post. Drinks are in the fridge!
Whoops, you’re not Ragnar. Sorry Vicki, and thanks so much for giving the piece a read! 🙂
Love your analogy Jake.
Running a blog IS like hosting a party and why would you have a party if you didn’t want to make it fun, exciting, entertaining and engaging? So the same is true for blogging. Why bother if your intention isn’t to make it great?
And just like a great party it’s hard work. It takes planning and lots of thought. Just like this blog post, LOL!
Love it 🙂
Thanks Liz! There’s definitely enough mediocrity in the world to go around. We need more people unafraid to be big and bold.
This post is synchronistic because I’m going to a Christmas party tonight. 🙂
Question about Point #3, They’re not afraid of shameless promotion. How do you do this without seeming like a braggart? Then again, you can’t be responsible for people’s perceptions. If you add value, why not promote it and help others at the same time?
I think that’s a really good point. That’s one of the reasons I included point 6 – knowing when to shut up and listen. Beyond being able to find out what an audience wants, real community building is often about empowering the other members of it as much (sometimes more) than yourself.
I find the most credible way to tell your own story is for others to tell it for you. And spending time promoting the great work of others is a good way to get them to return the favor.
Best article on blogging ever! I love the perspective. I wish I would have read this years ago.
Wow, that’s some seriously high praise Jobi! Thanks so much. 🙂
Great post and tips Jake, thanks for sharing… and like all great parties, the great blogs seem to flow with effortless ease (which belies all of the intense preparation) due in great part to the authors’ passion and sincerity. Something to aspire to. Party on dude!
Glad you like it Lorna. I think you’re totally right that quality is more important than quantity. Another thing is that it can be easy to get frustrated because writing isn’t golden on the first pass. Well I can tell you from experience that good writing comes from A LOT of good editing. 🙂
Great tip about using Alltop I’m going to implement that right now. Loved the house party theme.
Glad you found it useful Brian. Alltop is an awesome resource. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it.
Nicely put! Nothing like a few party favours for everyone to bring home at the end of the night 🙂
Who doesn’t love free stuff, right? 🙂
Thanks for the invite!
Time to crack open some drinks now!
I’d also add – cater to your guests!
I’d hardly think that a group of college students are going to enjoy a party where the drinks are in champagne flutes and Beethoven is playing in the background…
Know what your guests/audience likes and give it to them is the #1 rule of a great party!
Absolutely, Daryl. You hit it on the head!
[ Smiles ] Wonderful analogy!
Hi Jake & Jon! That is an awesome analogy , so can I join your killer party now?
You better believe it Oksana. Beers are in the fridge!
I like the analogy, too. Hosting an awesome party, a let’s slam some tequila party, not a “don’t spill the red wine on the linens” party. A party where the posts and comments are fun, witty and maybe, sometimes, naughty. I’m working my way to that kind of blog.
Thanks Kathryn. Get out there and make it happen. Sounds awesome to me!
Invite the right people | Know your guest’s preferences | Know how to promote effectively | Be generous | Bring your best game to the party | The best PR is to let others talk about you | Be a thoughtful host | Enjoy yourself as the party goes on | Look forward to your next event
These are wonderful suggestions for getting the most out your party, your blog and your life! Party on, Jake and Jon!
Thanks Dave. Glad you liked it! 🙂
Hey Jake. Great post. Love the analogy. Here’s No 10.
10. They invite other big party hosts to their party.
A party isn’t a party until you have all the biggest party throwers in town at your party. It’s even better when the big party hosts bring their gang with them!
And then you have a street party!
Party on people!
Thanks for a great post Jake.
Thanks Ash. I might suggest it’s probably the other way around – in order to get popular bloggers to come to your blog, you have to go to their first. Guest blog for them and you’ll be able to start developing a relationship that will naturally make them pay more attention to your stuff (and maybe even promote it).
I like the idea of a street party… Wonder how we can make THAT happen.
I love a good party, let’s gooooo!! 🙂
THANK YOU AGAIN! Since I’ve been following this site and Jon’s advice (webinar plus free downloads), I’ve been doing a lot of these things. But my big take-away today is:
“Obsessively read blogs that serve similar audiences to yours. Use Alltop.com to map out some of the most successful blogs in your niche, subscribe to them, and read every new post. Pay attention to the kinds of things that get readers excited and then try adding some of that special sauce to your own posts.”
Not doing enough of this and I will remedy that.
and need to do this: “These freebies usually take one of two forms. Either they help solve a specific problem (such as Jon’s Headline Hacks guide for writing killer headlines) or they give the reader a proven strategy for success (such as my 5 Step Guide for Building a Customer Community).”
I have a couple freebies, but know I can do more. My biggest problem is trying to continue to write novels, blog AND find time to follow all the other blogs, comment, tweet, FB, linkedin, pin, and tumblr and yes you tube (even did a book teaser/trailer).
There does not seem enough hours in the day. HELP! I can only follow so many blogs…
Hey Tam… Thanks for sharing your experience, I think a lot of people struggle with the same kinds of challenges – so you’re not alone.
Have you tried using an editorial calendar to help keep you on track as far as your content creation process? Social media especially can be a real time suck if you aren’t achieving measurable outcomes. On the blogs, don’t feel like you have to read every post by every person ever. You have to be strategic and figure out what’s the best use of your time. Try setting a certain amount of time aside for that each day and don’t go beyond that.
If you use Wordpress, here is a good editorial calendar plugin you might like: http://stresslimitdesign.com/editorial-calendar-plugin.
You’re so right about appealing to a specific niche. I just recently redesigned my website and at the same time culled some of my services to focus on a specific group. And “magically”, I’m finding it easier to write on my blog. I think I’ve written more in the last 2 months than in the last 2 years….
Thank you for the insightful post.
That’s great to hear Kathleen. What is your specific niche and how did you manage to focus in on it?
Thanks, you’re a sweetie. I will look into the editorial calendar.
Brilliant analogy and some very sound advice.
So, now to start thinking “party-time” when writing and promoting my blog.
Thanks Karl!! Glad you got something out of it. Party on!
great post..stuff is really helpfull following your advices…
thanks for your content
see for more
Jake, you throw a hell of a party! I think it’s brilliant of you to liken bloggers to party hosts. Now that’s something most of us can relate to and get the juices flowing, engines revved and the keyboard hot.
Thanks Shauna! Everyone loves a good party! 🙂
This is great advice! I am a newbie blogger and just learning the ropes. I would much rather use an awesome party as a template to produce and promote new content, rather than a boring set of rules!
That’s an awesome attitude Jacqui. Use this as a guideline then see what works for your specific audience! Good luck and keep us posted!
I loved this article, not only for its fabulously articulated analogy, but also for its ability to inspire me and my team. Our primary takeaways:
– Stalk more.
– Drop the dignity and straight-up ask for links and shares from influencers.
– Conduct a reader survey. (Supported our plan!)
– Reveal the fact that humans write our posts! We lack that personal connection sometimes.
– Keep ’em coming back by hanging readers off a cliff. =)
So glad to hear it inspired you. There’s nothing that makes me more happy than to do just that. 🙂
Great article. I enjoyed the way you compared the different aspects of blogging to a party. I know I struggle with hosting a great blog “party” but you gave me some great ideas to build upon. Thanks for sharing!
Master post Sr! now Jake a few questions if you don’t mind, since I’m breaking a couple of rules.
1.- I like to write about several different things and I don’t want to have 4 blogs (they can’t fit on my backpack, kidding). I’m trying to organise the blog but it’s becoming messy, what do you recommend? break up the blog? keep it this way? is it stupid to have a blog to talk about different subjects?
2.- I’m more about the phrase, write about what you like more than “write about what people want to read” or something like that, I’m not trying to monetize my blog, it’s not about that, but I write some things because I want to help and orient people, so if nobody reads, it’s a bit pointless.
3.- Social networking people are reading less and less every second, do you thing is time to move to podcasts? I’ve experienced this “scan but not read thing at the most” in my few last publications of blog posts in my social circles.
Sorry about the manuscript, thank you very much, and Jon, as usual, great quality blog!
1) Without seeing your blog, I have to say that focus is key. The value of what you want to do has to be apparent from the get go.
2) If you don’t care about growing an audience then don’t pay attention to what anyone cares about. But the honest truth is that if you want to grow an audience (and especially if you plan to make money) you have to write for the people you want to attract (even acclaimed literary novelists have to consider their audience).
3) You definitely have to grab people’s attention. Jon has a great post on writing excellent subheads (look in the “popular posts” section), which are super important.
Hit me up on Twitter if you have other questions! Happy to help: @jakedparent
Really great post. Thanks.
You have inspired me to do what I really want to do- instead of what I thought I ought to do. You have given me an analogy that makes blogging feel fun again- which I sorely needed. And you’ve also given me some great pointers. Really good stuff. Thanks again.
I guess really great parties do 2 things that are implied:
1. The give people a place they feel they can relax and really be themselves
2. They inspire them, bringing out the best in them
So glad you enjoyed it Jane. Sometimes a little fresh thinking is all a person needs to go out and do something amazing!
I have never been the best party planner in the world! I can write till the cows come home but then I hit a road block ! I get self conscience and feel wierd about self promotion. I do think its important to know you audience and not put your hand into to many cookie jars! But as a begginer its all part of my learning process…I hope
Sometimes the best thing you can do is put one foot in front of the other!
This is a really great article.
I totally agree with your analogy. Having a popular blog is like hosting the best cyber party ever.
While it does have it’s perks, there’s some drawbacks as well. Like the party crashers (i.e. spammers and trolls) who show up uninvited. But overall, having a popular blog is where it’s at.
My current blog is kinda in between, but nowhere near Jon’s level. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to write up this piece for us. Your article is the first post I’ve commented on Jon’s blog.
I’ll be sure to share it with my social circle and on BizSugar.com as well.
Thanks Ti! Few of us are at Jon’s level. 🙂 But don’t forget that he has been at this a long time, has had his share of flops (AKA learning experiences), and is just a human being like the rest of us (I think at least).
very nice article
I’m really impressed by your point of view.
They aren’t afraid to jump in the pool. i can’t agee with you more, if you are a popular blogger, you are start to become a street performance as well and try your best to make people laugh, that’s the reason why i want to become a blogger.
Thanks for your sharing.
Ha, and here I thought being a blogger is a simple thing… Seriously I never thought that keeping your blog popular is so tough! I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to do some extensive research and break a sweat inviting everyone and keeping them, but still, being a blogger is like a job=) A very informative article, really enjoyed reading it.
Before I read this awesome content, I just write and leave my blog. I think now I have a clue how to be good blogger
Thanks for inspiring me with all the great tips. I’m going to sum up your blog post in a post of my own with a backlink. This was excellent. You’re invited by the way 😉 One question. Have you found that posting double lines keeps the reader’s attention better? Thanks