So in your quest for blogging awesomeness, you may have had a chance to reflect on things and ask yourself a few questions.
- What can I do to grow my blog?
- Should I try that next marketing trick?
- What will my next post be about?
- How does Darren produce as much as he does?
But there’s one question that you might not be asking — that might be the most important one you, or any blogger could ask him (or her)self. Assuming that you’re a blogger who is interested in creating a blog that is read, well regarded, and well trafficked, there’s only one question that should preoccupy your mind at all times.
That question is “what is making my blog an indispensible read?”
What are you doing with your blog, from the granular every day details, to the sky high 50 000 feet planning that is making your blog a “must” read? Why should readers be adding your blog to their RSS reader? And what about your blog makes it the first thing they need to read every day? Or, perhaps, the last thing they need to check at night?
The question is a spin on the existentialist question every blogger faces — but spun 180 degrees. Every blogger from the beginning of their blogging careers to the end asks themself “why do I blog?” But the question about making your blog an indispensible read spins that question around so that you’re not asking it from YOUR perspective.
You’re asking the question from the perspective of your reader.
Its a critical distinction.
There are all kinds of blogs that exist. Personal narratives. Family blogs. Photoblogs.
If you’re interested in creating a successful blog, one that garners significant traffic and a devoted readership, you’ll need to have a different mindset from those other types of blogs. Because you won’t be blogging for yourself, but for your readers.
But getting back to the question of indispensibility — about making a blog so particularly great that its read first (or last), is a must-read addition to your readers news reader — is an issue of making it important enough to your readers. You might think the answer is in “great content”.
And it is.
Whether it be news, gossip, opinion, how-to information, or entertainment, the content is of course the building blocks of any blog. However, truly great blogs are more than just “any” great content. It is focused content. It is consistent content. And those blogs know who they are, what they are, and why they are.
So the biggest question that you need to answer is actually above the content.
Its what determines your content.
The path to blogging greatness is often littered with wrong turns, wrong decisions, and wrong connections. Granted, all blogs evolve as do the bloggers behind them. However, for probloggers of all stripes and experience levels, there is a way to strategically and deliberately ensure that the path is as straight and efficient as possible.
Great blogs have a distinct, unique and light-house element to their identity that is reinforced by every aspect of their blog. How it looks. How it sounds. How it feels. And how it interacts with you. The question, of course, is what can you do to achieve a similar identity. And what kind of identity should you assume?
Because your blog’s identity is something that comes before your content, and will ultimately be the weathervane for producing great content.
You may have heard of these kinds of strategies. Positioning. Creating your blog’s “USP”.
But I have a better word for it — Branding.
Over the next few weeks I will be writing a four part series on “blogging branding”, delving into several exercises such as where you should start, they key players in whom you should understand, the unique challenges of branding a blog, and of course, how to build your blog’s own brand.
All blogs have their own brand. Just like all businesses do. The question is how good they are. Most brands are lousy because they’re unfocused and improperly positioned. For probloggers have a great brand is a higher order strategy than just “creating great content”. It allows you to avoid looking like everyone else, by creating the foundation for unique content that makes sense. It leads to devoted fans.
And ultimately it is the bedrock for a great blog. Not all great blogs start off with a deliberate brand, but all great blogs end up as great brands. Stick around for the next few weeks as we discover how to create the best foundation for a great blog in as few mistakes and in as few steps as possible.
Because creating indispensible content starts from getting things right — even before you start writing.
* Tony Hung also posts at DeepJiveInterests.com