Once in a while you'll stumble upon a few bad blogs that will make you question everything you know about content marketing and branding.
Terrible stock photos, bad design and less-than-impressive writing skills – and yet, the blog has an audience that grows by leaps and bounds.
Where does this popularity come from? Who are all those people following a person who has nothing interesting to say and cannot even write properly? Here's the answer you've been dying for.
The power of blogger etiquette
Some of these bad blogs have the appearance of popularity, but it's like an empty shell – with no engagement or meaningful relationships behind it.
So, where do all those followers come from? They're most often bloggers who fall victim to blogger etiquette.
Instead of writing engaging content, these bloggers spend most of their time commenting on other blogs, jumping every single blog hop and following all people who are there to be followed.
Obviously, some of those people return the favor and become the followers of the blog. The crowd is there because of social obligation.
This isn't to say that the strategy is outright bad. It's a pretty good technique for quickly growing your following. But it only works if you've got something to offer – when a good blog does it, the results are even better.
The person will arrive at your blog to check you out and then stick around because the content is too good to be missed. Even when you stop to comment on their blog posts, they'll stay with you – and you'll have a new reader for a long time.
In case of those blogs, the effects are not quite permanent. It's safe to say that if you stopped being present all over the blogosphere and refrained from commenting on other blogs, the same would happen to you – instantly!
And that's clearly not the kind of popularity that a real blogger is after.
The effect of large numbers on bad blogs
When it comes to blogging, the numbers really do matter. It's a question of group psychology – new bloggers will be looking for ways to be noticed by the big bad blogs because they've got followers.
You can only imagine what one shared post would mean to a beginner blogger. They simply don't want to miss out on this opportunity.
One follower follows the other, and a blog quickly gains steam. Before you know it, it's followed by lots of little bloggers who want to have a go at some of this popularity. Naturally, a blog like this grows, but it has very little substance to it.
The charm of giveaways
If you have a look around the blogosphere, you'll instantly notice that blogs that organize many giveaways and sponsored posts offer their audience much more than just content.
And a lot of people simply like it and follow them for the prospect of material gain. Even if the writing is truly bad, there are not too many people who will ignore prizes and goodies.
It's no use comparing yourself to bad blogs like that. Bad bloggers jump on those occasions because they allow them to hide their bad writing and grow a large following.
Of course, there are also lots of great blogs which choose to do giveaways; they're an easy way of making some additional money to invest in blogging.
But only bad blogs will use giveaways as their exclusive means to grow – they don't have any other choice with their writing lacking substance and content full of mistakes.
The power of the media
Sometimes all you need is a couple of minutes in the media and you've got popularity guaranteed. We're talking about an overnight following. Bloggers who have no idea about writing great content can gain a massive load of followers in an instant.
This isn't to say that those followers will be there forever. Indeed, keeping followers is way harder than attracting them first. But if you happen to see such a blog at the top of its fame, you can consider the media to be potentially responsible for it.
Why the numbers aren't everything
All bloggers aim for having a high number of followers and a lively community which just brims with comments and engagement. It's the best sign of growth and it helps a personal blogger brand immensely.
But some blogs might have a massive following on social media and experience just a hundred hits a day on their blog. Why does that happen? It's hard to say. There are blogs which have a small social media following, but huge statistics on the blog itself.
I guess it just depends on the strategy for promoting content – some bloggers don't care quite as much about their social channels as others.
Their entire following is made up of other bloggers
Bad blogs are usually followed by other bloggers, not users who are genuinely interested in their content. Good blogs usually attract lots of people from outside the blogosphere.
If you're one those blogs, remember that this kind of audience might not be too keen on commenting on your posts but will follow you loyally and really engage with your content.
Even if it looks like nobody is reading your blog, your posts are getting read. Non-blogger readers should be cherished, even if they don't make you look popular.
Bad blogs will look popular with all their comments, large followings and tons of giveaways, but they won't have a real influence on their audience. Not to mention the fact that all that noise isn't ever going to last long.
If you're an aspiring blogger, just do what you do best and keep on going. Don't compare yourself to others – enjoy your work and share meaningful content with your audience.
Some blogs have a large following and impressive numbers because they're really good. Others might have the same numbers but for a completely different reason – ranging from mob mentality to great giveaways.
But ultimately, every blogger wants to have real people reading their content not because they feel like they have to but because they like to. And that's the kind of blogging that can get you very far and help you impact the lives of many people.
About the author
Carol Williams is a content marketing team member at http://www.orangesonline.com/ – fruit shippers from Florida. She combines her interest in blogging with her love for writing.
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