Guest post: How my blog hit the Ad Age Power 150 in six months

The best bit of blogging advice I’ve ever received was from Kevin Anderson ( and BBC News) who said to me: ‘Forget everything else, just be passionate and real’.

Not only has it shaped the stuff I (try to) produce but it is also the characteristic I’m most drawn to in other bloggers.

Mark Schaefer’s blog – {grow} – delivers passionate and real stuff everyday and is achieving some amazing results in the process.

I’ll let Mark fill you in on the rest…

How my blog hit the Ad Age Power 150 Blog in six months

Guest post by Mark Schaefer

The success of my blog has been a wonderful surprise. It’s rocketed up the charts and moved from position 370 to as high as 75 on the Ad Age list of marketing blogs in about six months.

Adam asked me to describe the keys to this success. I’m not sure I can — which I understand is a wholly unacceptable answer! But I can certainly describe what I have LEARNED.

First you should understand that the Ad Age list is not necessarily a reflection on the quality or even the popularity of a blog. The list is comprised of five individual scores which together create a somewhat controversial alchemy of algorithms. Only one of these five scores is tangentially associated with reader engagement as expressed by number of tweets, comments, etc. If rated only on engagement, my blog would be in the top 40.

The Power 150 ranking is also highly dependent on historical back links, directory submissions and other SEO blogging devices.  That puts a new blogger at a permanent disadvantage. Older blogs will probably always be at the top of the list no matter how hard anybody works on their blog in the future.

A very real example of this is that there is one blog currently in the Top 100 that has not been updated since 2009.  Based on this strange scoring system, I would guess top guns like Chris Brogan or Copyblogger could never write a post again and still not drop out of the Top 10 blogs!  

But however flawed the system may be, it is the most noteworthy and prestigious system we have.  And I also think it passes the “sniff” test — if you look at the blogs at the top, I think most would concur that yes, they reflect some of the best blogs out there.

I have not followed a typical path to success but can only offer three core values I try to demonstrate with every post:
  1. Content that is “RITE;” Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining. I try to write a blog post that only I could write.  In the end that’s the only competitive advantage each of us has.
  2. I honor my audience.  Anybody who spends their time reading and commenting on my blog deserves my care and attention. I try to reply to each comment and if I can’t answer something succinctly, I invite the commenter to call me. I have provided employment, recommendations, guest posts, personal advice and much more to my readers because they have become my friends.
  3. Humility. On most blogs the comments are far better than the original post because the world is filled with people smarter than me. People who are amazing in their own way. I love that. I respect that. I thrive on that diversity. Who am I? A conversation starter, nothing more.
I guess I would also add that my approach to blogging is consistent. I don’t consider it an after-thought.  It’s difficult.  I have a family, a career and charitable projects I work on. To make a blog work, there are no shortcuts. You have to work like hell.

Thanks for the invitation Adam, and thanks to all of you for reading this post. I hope you’ll visit me at {grow} and join the wonderful community you’ll find there.

Mark has touched on a point which I think is often overtlooked by bloggers in the marketing and communications space – entertainment.

We all want to learn and be knowledgeable, but being entertained during that process is incredibly powerful and can make a HUGE difference to the success of a blog.

This advice isn’t just limited to marketing blogs.

Corporate blogs are often difficult to engage with because they do not showcase enough personality – it is never an easy balance to strike but a good reminder to think about it all the same.

Thanks Mark for sharing your insights with us.

Adam is the blog from Adam Vincenzini which focuses on social media and PR. Connect with Adam on Twitter or subscribe to his blog. If you’d like to view this blog on a mobile device, visit

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