Skip to main content

When the blogosphere works


I just happened upon something really happy – it’s a cliche, it’s nothing new – but it reminds me about the power of blogging and why we’re here – either personally or for business.

Here it is: Heather Armstrong just had a new baby. A beautiful, healthy girl – Marlo Armstrong.

(the cliche is twofold: 1. babies, puppies, duh, and 2. everyone loves Dooce – told you, nothing new)

If you don’t know Heather Armstrong – she’s also known as Dooce. She writes a phenomenal blog with 4.9 MILLION pageviews per month, sells advertising for a lotta, lotta money, got a major book deal with Simon & Schuster, wrote two books, has been featured on every major news outlet you can imagine, received numerous awards and on and on.

I titled this post, When the blogosphere works because after live tweeting her labor and then announcing her new babe on Twitter and her blog, Heather has wracked up 2,463 comments on that post to date. I didn’t read them all – but I scanned through the majority and they’re all sweet, kind, supportive, joyful variations of: Congratulations! Her name rocks! I’m so happy for you! Thank you so much for sharing these pictures and your experience with us!

The blogosphere has worked, and Dooce has worked it, because she has created a community of love and support around her. These commenters/readers are here for the long haul. They feel like they know Heather. In short, they are her people. In the world of marketing, she’s acquired lifelong customers, trust, a relationship. They’ll buy the next book and the next calendar and the next…

Dooce represents the dream of many bloggers that I know. She’s one of, if not the biggest, bloggers of her kind out there. How did she (and how can you) do it? To follow her example, here’s what she’s done well:

  1. The shock factor. There’s no denying that Heather has been raw-er and naked-er than most. What will she do next? brings people back.
  2. The real factor. Raw and naked really only work when it’s real. This is a genuine sharing and reveal of a woman’s fascinating and hilarious life as a recovering Mormon in Utah.
  3. The voice/brand factor. Pure, recognizable and comfortable. Like your favorite shoes that make you look hot and feel good all at the same time.
  4. The intent factor. When Heather started her blog, blogs were not what they are today. She started the blog in 2001 to rail against her boss, who fired her as a result. She inadvertently coined the phrase, Dooce – check wikipedia, it’s there. And it’s always interesting to compare the people who ‘fell into’ this sort of success as opposed to the ones who ‘set out to make it happen.’
  5. The writing factor. Heather Armstrong is an incredible, phenomenal writer – it can’t be denied.
  6. The creativity factor. Heather takes hilarious pics of her dogs. She has a monthly post/letter to her first daughter that captures the events of that month. She uses video, audio, images, words. She rotates mastheads every month and people wait to see what’s next. This point could fill up pages.
  7. The ear factor. She’s done well because she’s listened. Oh? People like the daily Chuck? (pics of her dog) Then I’ll make a calendar and sell it on my site. In the end, she’s listened and given the people what they want in a multitude of ways.
  8. The IRL factor. Heather goes to conferences and meets people, in real life. Is she available? Can you talk to her? I don’t know to what degree. But sadly and realistically, it’s impossible for someone with that kind of traffic and everyone wanting a piece to connect one to one. Has she stayed wide-open via her blog? Yes. And some people, like Chris Brogan, remain engaged as often as humanly possible as a practice…you decide what you want to do.
  9. The hope factor. If Dooce can do it, so can I. She’s an American rags to riches success story. And many others have experienced this kind of success or a portion of it. Too many to count want it.

I, for one, was thrilled by the outpouring of love for the Armstrong family today. It showed me that the blogosphere does, indeed, still work.

Image courtesy of eyefruit

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Stephanie says:

    yes, yes, cliche but true. I totally cried when I saw the pictures of Marlo!

  • Hi there Writing Roads~ I have been enjoying your blog for a few months and decided that it was time for me to let you know that I was here. I love Dooce’s blog…she cracks me up. Very irreverent which I love:)
    Thanks for breaking down what makes her successful…great reminders!

    I also wanted to let you know that I have given you “the lovely blog award.” The problem is that I thought that I posted the award and the technology gods have taken the image off my post and I can’t figure out how to get it back on! So, You can go to the bloggers site who gave the award to me:) Her link is at the top of the award post.

    Thanks again for all that you write~ great stuff:)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thank you, Lynne!!! I’m honored and I really, really appreciate you speaking up and saying hi!

Leave a Reply