How I Became a Top 10 Social Media Blogger

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Pushing Social was selected  as a Top 10 Social Media Blog by Social Media Examiner.

I’m beyond thrilled and my Momma is proud.  I’m sure this award will be the highlight of my year.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

I’ve been hunting down this award since this time last year.  You see, last year Pushing Social was a finalist too.  Every day for two weeks I checked Social Media Examiner (SME) for the winners.  When the day came, I was crushed.  I didn’t win.  That was a big problem because I hate to lose.

From that day, I resolved to win this year.  I’m going to tell you what I did because I want your blog to be on the Top 10 list next year.  By the way, my techniques will jumpstart any blog. You don’t need to be in the social media field, electricians and landscapers can win with these tactics too.

Here’s my secret sauce:

Build Your Email List  

I doubled down on building my email list.  I noticed last year that some clever bloggers asked their list to nominate them for the award.  Smart.  My problem was that I only had a few dozen people on my list last January.  I immediately created an expert product and offered it in exchange for reader email addresses.  I also stopped being bashful about asking for email.  My optin box is the #1 thing you see on the blog.

The tactic worked, I grew my list to about 2,500 loyal and extremely cool readers.  These folks stepped up big time and flooded SME with nominations.  Major fist bump to those folks.

Stay Out of the Echo Chamber

Ok, I admit it, I was getting a little comfortable in the echo chamber, meaning I was writing posts on slightly rehashed topics and not delivering unique content.

I revamped my editorial calendar and wrote content that spoke directly to my readers.  I tried to put a voice to their challenges and offer unique solutions.  This content ended up getting shared big time, sometimes racking up 100+ retweets within hours.

Look Like a Million Bucks

Last year’s winners spent the money to have great-looking blogs.  My daddy always said that the first step to getting the part is looking the part.  I switched to the Genesis Framework and spent a little cash to get a fresh-looking Child Theme.  I switched because it was relatively simple to install a great looking theme right out of the box.  (Full disclosure: I’m an unabashed Genesis Fan Boy and affiliate)

Over the year, I switched themes twice.  Each switch was painless (even fun).  Every theme switch increased average time on site, pageviews, and lowered my bounce rate.  Better yet, the SME judges had a “tight” blog to look at when they came to visit.


Pushing Social is about blogging.  I’ll write about Google+, Twitter, or Facebook if it makes you a better blogger.  Maybe I’ll start a general purpose social media blog some day but the big boys already have this base covered.

I don’t have a problem with general purpose blogs but you need A LOT of content to pull this format off.  I’m a busy dad with a day-job and zero time, so I needed to concentrate one topic.  The benefit is that PS readers know what they are getting and they come back every day for their fix.

Also, I hoped that Pushing Social would fill a “niche” in the mind of the SME judges.  I didn’t want to be a “Social Media Blog”  I wanted to be the best resource for professionals who blog.  Frankly, I couldn’t compete against all social media blogs, but I’m willing to duke it out with blogs about blogging (still not easy though).

This is what SME said about Pushing Social:

(cue mastermind villain laugh) 

Earning My Stripes:

Last year’s winners were prolific bloggers.  These cats delivered amazing content 3-4 a week.  Some even published a post every day.  All year I toyed with the thought of posting every day but was always scared off by the pundits and gurus.

Finally I bit the bullet and committed to blogging every weekday. It was hard.  I had less time.  Somedays I wondered if I was losing my frackin’ mind.  I’ve had an absolute blast.  The best part is that I was able to demonstrate that Pushing Social was a player willing to pump out content that people can use.

Just so we’re clear here.  I like pundits and gurus.  They are just wrong 50% of the time about what will work for Pushing Social.  They are also 100% wrong about my motivation, willpower, and commitment.  So when they say don’t blog everyday because you can’t maintain quality and quantity, I smile and ignore them.  Maybe you should too.

Let’s talk about your blog…

You don’t need a fancy contest to tell you that your blog rocks.  Although it helps when you are trying to impress the wife.  At the end of the day it comes down to accomplishing your objectives.  I believe you can use what I suggested here to get started. What do you think?

P.S.  I have something special for you.  If you need an extra pair of eyes and a 10-point roadmap to building a blog that gets noticed then check this out.

About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

35 thoughts on “How I Became a Top 10 Social Media Blogger

  1. Mitch Mitchell

    Congratulations on your award. I’ve love to even be considered for something like this but I don’t see it happening and I’m not so worried about it.

    I see that one of your main strategies was to use your email list to get votes. That’s something I’ve eschewed since I started blogging except for my business newsletter, mainly because in general I don’t have products to market to anyone. I wish I could say I was convinced that there’s another reason to have an email list but no, I still just can’t pull the trigger on that one.

    Great stuff here; congrats again.

  2. Brenda Clevenger

    How do you do it all Stanford? Full time job, side job, kids, and you remain high spirited and highly helpful. Thanks for coming into my Twitter life and being highly influential on pointing my blog in the right direction. Still working through those whopping 18 pages of recommendations, God bless ya!

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  4. Lindsay Garrison

    Sanford – Here’s a fist bump right back at ‘ya. I’m glad that my vote helped. Of course, you totally earned it – I hit the delete button for almost all of the emails that I’ve opted into because I’m too busy to read most of them – but yours never meets that fate! Too much great stuff, every time. Plus, I love the positive attitude. Congrats on your success, and looking forward to more amazing stuff this year. But, no pressure! :-)

  5. Malhar Barai

    Congrats Stanford!!!

    Great ideas, I have been contemplating to write more often…but with a day job & other commitments I always thought it would be tough…now that you have provided the motivation…looking forward to write often.

    Thanks for sharing those tips & enjoy your award.


  6. Morgan

    This is actually really insightful and solidifies a few things in which I’ve been putting off lately. Congrats, by the way! Was really cool seeing you on that list (even though I lurk sometimes, I totally love your website).

  7. Stanford Post author

    Come on! Push it! Go for “lofty” what do you have to lose? Life is too short bro.

  8. mike

    Congrats Stanford, great accomplishment… My goals are a little less lofty this year but for me lofty none the less… After blogging for a couple years and doing so only to prove to my clients that they can find the time and energy to blog I’m shooting for just ‘some’ comments. Thanks Stanford

  9. Laura Click

    Congrats, my friend! I’m super excited for you!!! This is very well-deserved. And, I love that you took an exciting accomplishment and made it a teaching moment. Now THAT is what makes you different. Way to go! :)

  10. Tony

    Hi Stanford,
    Thank you – Your blog is full of practical steps.
    I subscribe using RSS feed.
    But I will now add my email address too, you deserve the award.


  11. Heidi Cohen

    Stanford– Congrats on being named a Top 10 Social Media Blog of 2012. I love that you shared your path with your readers. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  12. Coombe Mill

    I love your simple message and I am sure you are right, but I still find it very uncomfotable asking for votes on the odd occassion I am nominated for something. It reminds me of sponsorship forms, the kids have these at the moment for Gym club and I refuse to do them!

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  15. Oscar Ventura

    It is amazing how this simple act changes my perspective and, ultimately, my attitude. Instead of seeing the glass half-empty, I see it half-full. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I focus on what I do have–right now.
    Someone once wisely told me, “You won’t get what you don’t have until you learn to be grateful for what you do have.” I think that is so true. Thank You Stan

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