With a new blog being started every second it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Following are some tips on how to differentiate your blog from the millions of others out there.
Image by c.a. muller
1. Pick a unique topic – it is easier said than done to choose a topic that is unique from everyone else today in a blogosphere as crowded as we’re currently in – however opportunities do arise to start blogs on topics that are new trends, products or ideas. Being first doesn’t guarantee success – but it can help.
2. Develop a Unique Voice – while it may not always be possible to choose a unique topic it can sometimes be easier to cover that topic in a way that others do not. Whether it be by using humor, blogging as a character (think Fake Steve Jobs blog), blogging in the 3rd Person (Manolo the Shoe Blogger) or some other way – finding a unique voice or style can set you apart from the rest.
3. Design – having a unique blog design doesn’t mean you need to pay big dollars for a custom design – start with a default one (or a premium design like Thesis) and tweak it with a unique logo, colors and layout. Visual first impressions count and can be the deciding factor as to whether people subscribe to your blog or not.
4. Useful Content – perhaps the best way to stand out from the crowd and make an impression upon people is to produce content that impacts them in some way. Write something that matters, that helps people, that solves a problem, that enhances people’s lives and you drastically increase the chances of them coming back and bringing a friend with them.
5. Be Prolific – something that can make a real impression on people is when they keep ‘bumping into you’. Predict where your potential readers will be going online and position yourself there as a prolific contributor. It might be social media sites, it might be the comments section of another blog or it could be a forum on your topic – wherever it is – make sure you have an active presence there. If people keep seeing you in the places that they hang out they’ll eventually take note and want to know more about you.
6. Love Your Readers to Death – this is key in the early days of a blog when readers seem scarce. The reality is that the 10 readers that you DO have already are a powerful resource – focuse upon them rather than the thousands of readers that you DON’T have. Love them – thank them for their comments – involve them in your blogging – promote them and the sites that they have and in doing so you’ll be building loyalty, trust and relationship that one day will pay off. Each reader you have has their own network and can open up new audiences to you.
7. Be Original – there’s nothing more dry than coming to a blog that has much the same content as every other blog that you’ve already read that day. Don’t just rehash news and talk about things in the same way that others are – dare to be different, play devils advocate, look for new angles in stories, translate the news for your readers and help them to work out how it impacts them etc
8. Express an Opinion – people who express opinions seem to get more attention than those who simply report news. Tell people what YOU think and you’re bound to get discussion between those who agree with you and those who do not.
9. Get Visual – whether it be by using eye catching pictures, diagrams and charts or even using video – when you add a visual element to your posts you will grab the attention of those who are more visually oriented. Images draw the eye, illustrate points and add new dimension to what is largely a text based medium.
10. Use Titles with Bling – post titles that draw people to read your post are essential and can be the difference between someone visiting your blog from a search engine, social media site or another blog and visiting someone else’s blog that has a more intriguing title.
11. Longevity Counts – many blog readers are looking to journey with someone and can be a little suspicious of new blogs and wonder how long they’ll last. Blog consistently for the long term and you build credibility, trust and profile in your industry.
12. Build Momentum – one mistake that many blogs make is that there is a sense that the blog is not really going anywhere. Posts appear on the blog that rarely relate to one another. I find that when I’m in the middle of a series or writing content that builds upon something that I’ve written before that readers really respond well. Its also this momentum that builds a sense of anticipation on a blog – which in turn builds subscriber numbers.
13. Drive People to Your Archives – one of the weaknesses of blogs as a medium is that in they often hide their best content. The content that gets most attention is the latest post – whether it is good or not. Blogs that not only highly what is NEW but find ways to highlight what is BEST in their archives draw readers to the content that is most likely to convince them to stay around for more.
Alone the 13 points above will have some impact upon helping your blog to stand out from the crowd – however the key is to work on more than one because together they make a significant difference.