Dosh Dosh Case Study: Develop A Unique Brand For Your Blog
In previous case studies here at The Future Buzz, I have analyzed examples of
- Building a blogging network
- Building buzz in the blogosphere
- Building popularity by teaming up with an exceptional content creator
- Using an internet meme for fun and profit
Next up, I’m going to show you a great example of what a popular blogger has done to successfully dominate the landscape in a relatively short amount of time by developing a unique brand at his blog, Dosh Dosh.
But first, let’s start with some background…
Technorati has tracked more than 133 million blogs created since 2002. When that report was released there were around 7.4 million blogs active in the previous 120 days. That number could have moved up or down slightly, but it was a recent enough report that it remains a good representation of today.
Also as I outlined in a previous post on persistance, passion and quality being key elements for success, only around 76,000 of those blogs have an authority ranking of 50 or higher.
From this data we can gleam:
- Your real competition is closer to 76,000 blogs as most sites are lost in the noise of 7.4 million semi-active blogs
- You have to get into the top 1% of blogs to be within the 76,000 blogs with a Technorati ranking of 50 or higher and start making waves (Technorati ranking is certainly not end-all-be-all, but generally you’ll have a decent ranking if your content is resonating)
My subjective observations of the blogosphere:
- It is a significant amount of work even to make it into the top 1%
- Once you get into the top 76,000 it is cutthroat to move up
- The higher you move up it gets easier in some ways and more difficult in others to continue the forward progression
- Established bloggers are happy to share linkjuice, encourage their readers to subscribe to your site and essentially help you along – if they consider your content a resource they feel their subscribers can’t miss and your site design looks nice enough to link to (content is king, but appearances matters too)
It is clear this is an ultra-competitive landscape. In nearly all cases of major success, you have to be irrationally committed to win. But even with dedication, there are some things which can potentially make your site stickier, stand out more, and grow at a pace much quicker than competitors even if you’re new to the space.
While the major players have the advantage of a constant influx of social media traffic, lots of trust in Google and hordes of subscribers, this is an environment where an ultra-sharp newcomer with the right strategy can seemingly come out of nowhere and become a leader.
The reason I am focusing on Dosh Dosh is because Maki (author of Dosh Dosh) writes on the niche of social media and online marketing, which I also cover here. While I take a different approach than Maki to how I write content there are many things I have learned from his success that have helped me achieve solid results.
I’m also focusing on this blog in particular because the social media niche is extremely crowded and was so even before Dosh Dosh first began posting. I am pointing this out because I want to show you a good example of how the combination of dedication and being unique can enable big succees in the face of an impossibly crowded marketplace.
Ignoring the niche though, you could apply these learnings to any type of blog, whether it is technology, cooking, parenting, real estate or anything in between.
With all of that said, Dosh Dosh has been able to attract:
- 22,000+ RSS subscribers
- Currently sits in the top 300 blogs based on Technorati authority (I believe for a period Dosh Dosh was also a top 100 blogger)
- Solid 100,000+ monthly unique visitors
Facts about the site:
- Amazingly there are only around 300 posts on the site currently attracting the traffic numbers you see above
- Earliest post on site I could locate is from January 30, 2007 (if there were older posts, they have since been removed from the main site index)
- Reached 10,000 subscribers in January of 2008 (around 1 year after oldest posting on site)
- Reached 20,000 subscribers in less than one year after this time
- In December there was only 1 post to the site, in November 2, in October 2, in September 3, in August 2 – as Maki works hard to maintain an strong signal to noise ratio, only publishing when he believes he has something of landmark importance to say
Key differentiators to Dosh Dosh and contributing elements to success
Unique name/visual elements
Maki has been consistent over time with his unique branding element – using anime images to bring character to the blog. It is playful and supports the name of his site well. Speaking of name, Dosh Dosh (I’m not exactly sure what, if anything it means) is sticky, unique and easy to remember. Where many others in the marketing niche are quite literal, Dosh Dosh went the other direction entirely and created a brand that was fun, memorable and abstract in it’s outer packaging yet the content is smart, insightful and unmissable.
Cultivating an aura of mystery
You can read about Maki, the writer behind the site here. While there is a short description he doesn’t outright provide much in the way of specifics and is understated and brief on purpose. It is all part of the brand he works hard to present. He lets the rest of the world do his social proofing for him.
Each post is deep, thoughtful, flagship content
Hopefully you’re a subscriber to Dosh Dosh and you know this already (if not, grab his RSS feed). Maki could write frequent posts that contain less information, but instead he has decided to make his site known for signal.
Follwer of the 48 laws of power (applied to blogging)
I counted at least a few of these Maki follows – Law 6 (unique branding makes him stand out), Law 8 (frequent linkabait), Law 16 (infrequent posting), Law 23 (Maki doesn’t guest post) and Law 29 (which actually used Dosh Dosh as the example).
Building anticipation for future posts
Maki doesn’t post frequently – rather, he posts when he has something significant to say that he knows is going to break through the clutter. This ensures that when he does post, people are going to listen carefully. And the more closely people read your content, the greater the chances are for links, subscribers and shares.
Clean site design
The site design of Dosh Dosh is clean, sophisticated and organized. If you haven’t gone to the site, do so now and have a look around. Notice how clear and organized the layout is. The content is presented attractively and the sidebar isn’t cluttered with a massive blogroll, flashing widgets and an intrusive number of links. This is counter to what many online marketing and social media blogs look like, and it is another reason for his success. Also, while advertising is present it is neatly organized and doesn’t get in the way of the content.
Don’t just read the blogs you enjoy that you notice are massively successful. Study them carefully and learn what makes them popular/sticky. Pay attention to the subtle nuances of their design, content and brand. Just like Maki adds anime icons to each post, many popular bloggers have developed themes for how they package content to create a consistent feel for site visitors.
How you achieve this can be something as simple as the way you present your ideas or the voice you write in, it doesn’t have to be a specific visual. Developing unique characteristics of your own blog is vital if you want your site to reach the next level.
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How To Build A Media Empire (Six Pixels of Separation)
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Now for My Next Trick, I’ll Turn Brand into Cash (Sarah Lacy)