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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ariana Huffington Shares 4 Secrets Of Creating A Successful Blog

Huffington_2 Yesterday at the MarketingProfs event, Ariana Huffington took the stage for a keynote presentation sharing some lessons she has learned about building a successful blog network with the Huffington Post. Though she definitely ignored my advice to speakers about spending some time at an event to get to know the attendees (she was barely off the stage before heading out the door), she did share some interesting points in her talk that should be useful to most marketers:

  1. Make it easy for contributors to contribute. One of the hallmarks of growth for the Huffington Post has been the site's ability to become the defacto location for any big celebrity to share their thoughts via a blog post. Not a purist about blogging, Ariana's point of view on blog posts was simple - if someone shares their thoughts transparently and honestly, the site can publish it as a blog post. To make it easy for Hollywood celebs like George Clooney and Jamie Lee Curtis, she has a team ready 24/7 to capture blog posts via dictation, email, or any other method someone might submit it. Benefit: You don't have to try and teach Rene Zellweger how to use Wordpress (potentially a full time job on its own).
  2. Have a point of view. In one particularly revealing moment, Ariana talked about how journalism should not be an exercise in covering all sides of a story, but an investigative search for the truth - which is usually on one side or another. Of course, anyone who reads the Huffington Post knows which side she thinks the truth is on ... but there is a certain logic in media seeking the truth instead of working hard to keep everyone happy with a mention of their points of view. The only trouble, of course, is who gets to decide the truth. Benefit: Visitors to your site have a clear idea of what you stand for and what your voice will be.
  3. Provide a safe environment. As Ariana explained it, getting new contributors would be tough if they felt that they could be attacked on a personal basis on everything they wrote. For that reason, she also has a team of real time comment "pre-moderators" who approve or reject comments in real time. Benefit: Arnold Schwarzenegger can blog about California issues without getting an influx of comments asking what the hell he was thinking starring in that dumb male pregnancy movie.
  4. Build on your big hits. One point when it was clear the Huffington Post arrived was when linked to the site. Interestingly, this big hit also offered a chance for the site to understand how big spikes like this relate to capturing consistent readers. Ariana shared that 72% of the visitors to Huffington Post from that hit never returned. Of the remaining 28%, they came and went, and over time, they found that 7% stuck around and became regular readers. Multiple that effect over three years of traffic and big hits, and the result is their current traffic of more than 20 million unique visitors per month. Benefit: Getting noticed consistently by the big sites can lead to a measurable subscriber gain if you focus on measuring it.


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Great post, Rohit. Interesting the similarities between Arianna's keynote and Gary's keynote, with different delivery methods. :-) The conference as a whole was terrific, and really made me start thinking about my own personal brand in a new way!

Thanks for gathering the points up, it was such a good talk I forgot to write some of this down. Btw, congrats on your book!

Excellent recap, thank you. It was fantastic spending some time with you at the conference. I truly enjoyed the book signing, and am looking to tear into it this weekend. The interesting ideas on the copyright page, internal cross-linking, etc. were fascinating.

Looking forward to connecting again soon.

All the best,

Jason Baer
Convince & Convert

Nice for me that interactivity with large sites that eventually cause a HUGE SPIKE is an awesome tip.

Thanks Mr, Wizard...

Hi Rohit,

Liked secrets of a successful blog. Thanks for the great content and keep it up.

Mark "The Marketing Professional" Brown

riding the wave of a big hit is so incredibly essential it can make blogging so much fun and very easy!!

Awesome article!

There's always great blog entry from you - this time, its another top article.

Lovely...have now subscribed to your RSS Feed :)


Helen Hunt

Great read, interesting concept - went to the huffington post. Its doing really well.

#5 Have connections with MSNBC, FOX News and CNN. Get those connections to do major stories on your blog.

Very useful advice. I've found the same thing - big links are a great ego boost but don't really result in a lasting audience. However, if you get enough of them that trickle of repeat visitors from each one will add up.

Hi Rohit,

This post is great evolving secret to launch of successful blog for blog lovers. Thanks

Great summary and content!

Rohit: Valid points, but can I throw in a monkey wrench?

HuffPo is not a blog.
It's an online magazine with an extensive comments section.

Now the line is admittedly fairly thin and fungible, HuffPo, especially after the current election, became one of the must-read magazines for political thought. (Okay- for left-wing political thought, but still...)

I'm surprised she hasn't thought of putting out an off-line monthly or weekly edition-- I'm sure it would do quite well.

Hi Rohit,

Its fantasic posting by you. It will help those people who are working in Search. This will help each and every person SEO. I am really like your posting on blog.


Nice article, mr. Rohit.
Now i'm thinking how to convert these 4 secrets for my blog.
Thank you.

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