by Tony Muna
The global blogger marketplace is saturated with talent. Partly, this is because there is potential to make a significant amount of money by simply sharing your thoughts. What could be better? The old adage, “Penny for your thoughts,” has morphed into something more like “Big bucks for your digital audience.” However, as in any capitalistic environment, not all blogs get the same bucks for their bang. In this article, we review some of today’s elite bloggers. Understanding what makes them successful could help propel your blog into similar superstardom.
Best Fashion Blogger
The blogging phenomenon has impacted every industry. It was perhaps most initially disruptive and continues to be extremely influential in the fashion industry. We start here with Fashion because Fashionista provides an excellent model to assess thriving bloggers. While compiling their Top Bloggers list, they took the following variables into consideration.
Note: At Cooperatize, we have definitely seen these same factors weigh heavily when brands select the bloggers from our platform with whom they want to work.
Successful fashion bloggers are household names who have launched multi-million dollar businesses and had their beautiful and handsome faces showcased on the front cover of stylish magazines. Rightfully so! For example, check out Chiara Ferragni. This Italian living in L.A. has the talent to back up that apt moniker and background, making her a shoo-in for top Fashion blogger.
I’m an athletic dude who has never worn high heels but even I think those shoes are cool. Apparently, I’m not alone. Ferragni’s shoe line generated $10 million in sales last year. The foundation of her successful brand is The Blonde Salad, her personal blog. Her digital following is awe-inspiring, “5.6 million Instagram followers, 1.2 million Facebook subscribers, a website that’s enormously popular in both the U.S. and in her native country.” This plays no small part in having her shoe line currently being sold at 300 retailers around the world (Fashionista). By the way, she has also appeared on 25 international magazine covers.
Best Travel Blogger
A valued member of the Cooperatize community, I think anyone would agree that Megan Jerrard has to be considered one of the premier Travel industry bloggers. She and her husband, an adventure photographer (match made in blogger heaven), have traveled the word on the industry’s dime. According to Forbes, she has visited 45 countries on six continents since 2007. In-between summiting Kilimanjaro and mountain biking on Bolivia’s “Death Road”, Megan makes time to create amazing content for her website, Mapping Megan.
“I have a tendency to throw myself out of planes if I feel the landscape would look better from a bird’s eye view.” – Megan Jerrard
Travel the world, see exotic sites, and get paid to do it…sign me up! So how does Jerrard get it done? You’re going to be disappointed. The secret behind her success is hard work. Jerrard spends a painstaking amount of time, “crafting the perfect itinerary for each destination.” There is simply no substitute for elbow grease. If you want to get noticed in this competitive landscape, be prepared to work for it.
Best Personal Bloggers
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention a couple bloggers celebrated by the 2016 Webby Awards. (Full list of winners and nominees here.) Let’s visit the Personal Blog Category. This category was defined by The Webbys as, “Sites and blogs about individuals. These personal sites are created by you about you, by you about someone else, or by someone else about you.”
2016’s winner, Texting with Cancer, is an emotional and unique example of how to differentiate your blog from the plethora of other blogs out there. Besides her innovative writing format, Natalie Sun cuts to the heart of what I believe to be the most important ingredient bloggers have to work with, genuine authenticity. In this case, it was coupled with endearing vulnerability.
I’m not going to get too hung up here on how people “sell-out” when they write a sponsored post. That discussion is for another time. But if you can flavor any topic that you present in your blog with your unique personality, you are already a winner in my book. It’s not the first time this recommendation has been made and it won’t be the last. Along the same lines, if you are pitching your story to a brand, try to highlight that personality right away. We see so many story ideas and too many are the same, formulaic. “X Things to See in ‘Whereversville'”. Nothing at all against listicles but spice it up!
Another noteworthy personal blog honored by the Webbys was Si Le Soleil. This limited-run blog tells the story of a 30-day journey at sea. Traveling from “Southern Brittany to the Canarian Sunshine,” French Art Director, Aude DeGrassat and his digital team, leverage an original form of storytelling. The blog is highlighted by an interesting layout and eye-catching images. While the text is sparse, the story is captivating. More is not always better.
Cooperatize has heard comments from brands with regards to bloggers’ drafts that allude to this fact. Being a transplant from disparate cultures (California to New York), this is something I personally still struggle with. Get in, get it done, get out. No need for loitering, overly -flowery language or long-winded monologues. The point is that quality always beats quantity.
Best Business Blogger
Finally, we come to Gary Vaynerchuk of www.garyvaynerchuk.com and Vayner Media. If you choose to believe in the stereotypical New Yorker, Gary just might be it. Loud, opinionated, unfiltered, hugely successful, and almost uncomfortably on-point.
“If there was anything I could do that would be awesome for you guys, to make the most money I could make I would create a test or a drug that allowed people to become self-aware. I think the number one thing I could tell you, because I am desperate to bring value since I am here, is I think everybody lies to themselves. And I think all of you want certain things to be happening with you, you want yourself to be something and what I think you need to do more of (clearly I’m coming out the gate with my best piece of advice), I really do think you have to audit who you actually are.” – Entrepreneurship Keynote | Gary Vaynerchuk at USC 2015
Born in the former Soviet Union, Gary Vaynerchuk grew up in poverty and struggled through early schooling. Refined by the fire, he has developed into a wildly successful businessman. He took over the family wine business after finishing college and built it into a $60 million endeavor by utilizing his zany Vlog, Wine Library TV, as a launching pad. Published in all the major news sources and featured as a guest on late-night TV shows, Gary is also a venture capitalist who invested in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, and Birchbox. Gary nicely embodies many of the suggestions made throughout this article.
Ultimately, I can’t say that I have uncovered the deepest Truth of blogging. I don’t believe there is a magic button or concrete formula that makes a blogger successful. Besides, we all measure success in different ways. Maybe it is like searching for the Holy Grail, the journey makes it all worthwhile even if the end goal is not attainable. So we come to my final piece of advice. Enjoy the journey. See you again in 2017!
Cooperatize has had the pleasure of being involved with so many great bloggers throughout 2016. There is no way for us to create a Top Blogger List from among them. We appreciate them all!
We hope that the community with whom we have the pleasure of being associated has a wonderful holiday season filled with friendship, love, safe travels and great food!
Have a nomination for best blog/blogger of 2016? Let us know in the comments section. As always, feel free to suggest topics for future posts. We are listening…
Visit us at www.cooperatize.com!