The number one secret of the great blogs

Every one of them leads a tribe.

Boingboing readers recognize each other at conferences. We use the same shorthand, we recognize the same memes. Huffingtonpost editors don’t try to reach everyone. Instead, they are hosting a digital cocktail party for invited guests that have something in common. Garr Reynolds doesn’t try to teach everyone about Powerpoint… instead, he leads a tribe of people committed to changing the way the world communicates in meetings.

Go down the list. Hugh leads a tribe. Josh  leads a tribe. So does Mitch. And Guy, who just wrote a book for his tribe too. It’s not hard to find other examples for my thesis.

In each case, the function of the blog is to be a standard bearer, the north star that tribe members can point to as a place to meet or for ideas to circle around. The blog isn’t about the writer, it’s about the readers.

The key takeaway is this: once you realize that your job is to find and connect and lead a tribe, to give them something to talk about and a place to go, it’s a lot easier to write a blog that works.