Finding, Measuring and Becoming an Influential Blogger

Social media world is still evolving. while other, more established industries have clear models to measure influence and exposure, there are no good measures for these key metrics.

In a previous post, I’ve argued that size doesn’t matter in blogging. Meaning,  the amount of readers shouldn’t be the key measure of influence. It is not how many read your blog – it is who. If your readers are the core group you want to reach, your blog would have a lot of influence. This notion is important especially in professional and business oriented blogs.

This point has a major effect on the way people blog. If the size of the crowd is not the key, rather his quality, then one is not bound to blog every day.

My post got several comments – some of them disapproving this way of thought. However, none of the comments managed to show a case where a professional blog is influential only due to the number of readers, or incoming links.

My friend (and relative) Keren Dagan, who brings with him years of experience in monitoring application and data mining, wrote a great post about the way he believes we should evaluate bloggers:

Lately I discover a new type of a blogger: I will call him the Web 2.0 type of a blogger.

This new blogger success is driven by his activity both offline and online. Offline activity means networking, creating groups and organizations, speaking in conferences, and more. This activity is mostly echoed (and documented) online.
Online is the rest, blogging, podcasting, answering comments, writing comments on other blogs, twittering about it, using services such as Digg, Technoarti, making friends and connections anywhere possible: LinkeIn, Facebook, Ning,, Flicker and the options are just growing). To be a serious blogger it means to live, eat and breathe the social digital world. All this activity is recorded – it is the expended fulfillment of the meaning of the blog term i.e. a web log.

In my world to be able to trace activity in a meaningful way I need to find a stream of event-rich data and or data from multiple data sources. As I described in the previous paragraph a web 2.0 type of a blogger touches multiple services and since we are all very numbers addict it is not so hard to collect this kind of “transactional” data. Most “social” services enthusiastically provide statistics about profile’s rank, popularity, number of friends and business connections.

At this point the existing bloggers’ supporting services are looking only at the blog, its content and references (links, diggs, and bookmarks) but I think that it is far more interesting to look at blogger

As you know, I am a strong believer in the synergy of online and offline activities, as well as leveraging blog’s content in other platforms. Keren is trying to analyze this issue in a more structured and methodical manner.

I am looking forward to Keren’s next post, where he would show his results and continue to develop his concept.

BTW – he is a "young" blogger- so please say Hi, and welcome him to the blogsphere!

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11 Responses to “Finding, Measuring and Becoming an Influential Blogger”

  1. 1 thebeginner January 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    When I discover how to get to my audience, I promise to let you know, amigo 🙂

    Till then all I can say is that somehow, the thought of my life documented online like your cousin mentioned seems a tad scary to old fashioned me

  2. 2 Chris Hambly January 10, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I feel your question really does centre around the definition of “influential” What does that really mean?

    1. To influence a person?
    2. to influence google rankings?
    3. to influence a group of people?
    4. to influence someone to make a internal employees?
    5. to influence competitors.

    Or, as many blogs, are to influence yourself to keep writing and sharing..

    I would say there are a huge amount of differences in approach to those listed…. anyone?

  3. 3 Chris Brogan... January 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Influence is a tricky thing to measure. If there were an end point to something you were doing that could be measured, it would be easier. Christopher S. Penn has one measure: audience that converts to customers. He could care less if his audience were 20 people, provided 10 of the 20 signed up for a student loan.

    REACH and ACCESS become important to that kind of model. He needs new people to find his product over and over to make the continued experience that he needs.

    In my case, my blog’s goal is to influence the conversation, extend ideas, and synthesize change. On another level, I want my blog to point out that I’m clever, so that nice people ask me to speak at good events.

    Influence is definitely an important measure, but the question becomes how it ties back into something that can be valued.

    IMNSHO. : )

  4. 4 Dr.Mani January 10, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    You’re on a topic close to my heart, so much that I changed the focus of my blog recently – it is now about ‘Blogging for Influence & Attention’.

    One recent self-analysis I did based on Avinash Kaushik’s interesting idea is on my blog – this is just one way to measure ‘influence’

    All success

  5. 5 Miriam January 10, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    We all want to have influence, but you don’t just have to have the “elite” reading your blog to have influence.

    There does seem to be a connection between how many people are reading your blog and your level of influence. The more people reading your blog > the more people linking to your blog and reading your feed > and the greater the chance that people will find you via Google and other blogs and sites. As your audience grows, it also gives you increased credibility so that when those “important” people you are referring to find you, they’ll take you seriously when they see your impressive numbers.

    This doesn’t mean that you have to publish every day. But publishing consistently and on a high level will naturally lead to a wider reading community. Against your will, your subscribers and visits will grow and include “important” and “not-so-important” (i.e. me), and there ain’t nothing you can do about that.

    Give me your huddled masses, baby!

  6. 6 Jonathan Crow January 10, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    True enough that the who is a very important component of the success of your blog. But I think you first have to define what that success means. If success is getting invited to speak and conferences, then reaching the right people is important. But, if your goal is to promote a website or service that depends on numbers (and therefore possibly advertisements) numbers matter.

    As Miriam points out many times and to many people numbers=credibility. The systems social networks put in place all promote the notion that numbers matter. How many contacts you have on Facebook or LinkedIn becomes a testament to how valuable you are. In many cases it’s not unlike our physical lives, people are measured by the number of friends not the quality of relationships. Me, I measure a person’s community by how full the refrigerator is after a crisis. If people are constantly bringing you food so you don’t have to worry about cooking to the point that your fridge is overflowing that is the sign of a healthy community;).

    But until we find other ways of measuring the health and vitality of an online community I fear that numbers will drive the show.

  7. 7 Keren Dagan January 10, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    First thank you Kfir for your post and for mentioning my blog.
    One simple example of influence is drying out a social network if you are a leader or has an influence on a leader to switch.
    A measure could be the ratio between first degree to second degree. For instance if I have 5 contact that each is having 100 contact each I have more reach than someone with 10 contact having 10 contact each. I have a bigger leverage.
    I agree that the measures are related to the objective. I claim that they can be discovered and monitored by looking at the blogger activity.


  8. 8 Kathryn Jones January 10, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    What draws me to web 2.0, video on the net, and social media is authenticity. I am not a marketer, nor do I blog regularly so I come to this topic to some degree as a consumer. For me the off-line communication is key to who I follow and respond to. I sometimes feel like a lot of us can get caught up in the social media frenzy of commenting and blogging primarily as a way of being seen, rather than because we have something truly unique to bring to the conversation. My offline contact with the fantastic ppl I meet virtually often helps bring their whole selves into focus for me. I think that in the long run it is the users’ authenticity that separates the web from other forms of media and I think it is that authenticity, 3000 comments later or 10 comments later, that will ultimately inform our sphere of influence.

  9. 9 Kfir Pravda January 11, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Chris – let’s take your own example – so for you success is based on the amount of speaking opportunity you receive? I can relate to that, as I think that at least some of the bloggers are using their blogs in order to show thought leadership. If you are writing for a specific community or target audience, and when you go to the room of this community people are shaking your hand with respect – your blog is influential.

    I think that what Keren’s post brings to the table is the concept that blogging is one aspect of the activity of a person, and his influence should not be taken of his blog only, but on a wider scale. I am a true believer in the importance of offline/online activities – so this view fits well with mine 🙂

    The begginer – first, he is not my cousin :), and second – no one is saying that you should expose MORE of your life, just that one should look at the blogger’s over all activity.

    Kathryn- LOVE YOUR NEW PIC! and I think you are right. However, for business bloggers it is not enough 🙂

    I agree we need to tailor the success measure to the way we measure influence – just as Chris H said. It is definitely a still uncharted land…

  10. 10 debs January 25, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Hi Kfir – good post. I find it really interesting that there was not too much mention of WHAT people are saying the IDEAS. Right now we are living in a world of numbers – which is son one dimensional. I say – enuf with the alpha blogger technorati numbers driven stuff. I know plenty of “bloggers” who write once in a blue moon but when they do *everyone* listens. That is because their blog is a manifestation of their ideas and work in other places. I say have a passion and point of view and the rest will follow. I am frankly very tired of the twitter spam of “tinyurls” pointing people back to their own posts. There was a time when you discovered a new blog for its ideas not just cause everyone said it was influential. The true value of “influence” is when other people talk about what you write or say – oh wait that is what cross-linking is all about…;)

    Also – their is no such thing as *a* blogger today – I use the phone am I a “phoner”? There are mommy bloggers and journalists, tabloid writers and academics – a blog is a tool.

    Just my .02

  11. 11 Kfir Pravda January 29, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Deb – I am all with you on this one. The reason that content and ideas are not mentioned in this post is becuase that outsiders cannot in many cases evaluate the quality of ideas being posted. You are absolutly right about the fact that offline activity is a key in the world of blogging.
    However – not sure about the last part. Yes, there are many types of bloggers – but not sure if you can’t look at them as a group in a sense.

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