The L.A. Times (reg. required) has a fascinating piece on the influence of the Drudge Report. When Matt Drudge first started his humble website out of $600 per month Hollywood apartment, many of the journalists who work extremely hard at getting his attention today saw him as a black hat villain. The New York Times dismissed Drudge as “the country’s reigning mischief-maker,” and Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff even called him “a menace to honest, responsible journalism.”
That was then. Today, it’s a different story:
Every day, journalists and media executives in newsrooms across the land hope they’ll have something that catches Drudge’s fancy — or, as he has put it, “raises my whiskers.” Most keep their fingers crossed that he’ll discover their articles on his own and link to them. Others are more proactive, sending anonymous e-mails or placing calls to him or his behind-the-scenes assistant.
Drudge’s following is so large and loyal that he routinely can drive hundreds of thousands of readers to a single story, photo or video through a link on his lively compendium of the news. With media organizations competing fiercely for online audiences, the whims of Matt Drudge can make a measurable difference.
Here’s what Matt Drudge can teach us about blogging:
1. Content reigns over design — Focus on giving readers relevant content above all else. Offer a diversity of topics to appeal to different tastes. (I think we can all agree that Drudge has a pretty ugly website, but those links rule.)
2. Have an opinion — If you aim to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. Have a clear and unique voice. Dare to be different.
3. Be consistent — You can generally find something fresh whenever you go to DrudgeReport.com. How often are you updating your blog?
4. Be persistent -- This level of success didn’t happen overnight. You have to continue publishing and sharing your opinions every day. Listen to the critics, but if you know you’re right, keep your self on track.
5. Tools du jour not required – People will spread word of mouth whether or not you providing them with any Web 2.0 tools to share your stories. If your content is worth sharing, people will find a way.