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The Secret Ingredient to a Successful Blog

This guest post is written by Ava Jae of Writability.

If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, you’ve heard that content is king. You’ve been told that everything else—design, SEO, in and outbound links—those things are a bonus, but the real thing you need to focus on is your content.

And it’s true, content is king, because even an SEO-optimized blog with a beautiful, user-friendly design and a parade of in and outbound links will fail without great content.

But although content is important, there’s something more—something that only you can bring to the table, something that only you have to offer that will really make your blog shine. A secret ingredient that will make your blog unforgettable.

You.

Your voice matters

The fact is, if you’re looking to build your blog on completely unique content, you’re going to run out of ideas very quickly. Chances are anything you want to talk about has already been covered by at least a dozen other bloggers, and it’s not because you’re unoriginal or a terribly unimaginative person—it’s just because there are only so many things to talk about.

The question you need to ask yourself is: what keeps readers coming back to your blog, when they could go elsewhere for the same information?

Can you guess what the answer is? I’m talking about that secret ingredient again. Your voice, your take, your worldview—those are the things that make you memorable. Those are the things that make you stand out in an ocean of blogs.

You have a gift

You have something priceless, a gift that you were born with, a gift often taken for granted: no one can think or speak or write the way you do. The way you put words on the page, how you interpret the world—those are treasures that can’t be taken away from you, treasures you should cherish.

Maybe you’re like me and you write about writing. Guess what?—there are hundreds of writing blogs out there. But there’s only one you.

Maybe you blog about technology, or education, or sports—it doesn’t matter what niche you’re in or what you’re writing about, what matters is you.

Take a look at the last few blog posts you wrote and read them aloud. Do they sound and feel like you, or could anyone have written them? If the answer is the latter, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity—you’re forgetting to be you.

Yes, content is king. Without something interesting to talk about, your readers won’t come—but without inserting yourself in your content, without weaving in your thoughts, your opinions, your voice into your blog, your readers won’t remember you. They’ll go to another blog with the same content and a better voice.

Don’t be just another blogger. You have something incredible and special and entirely unique because you are the secret ingredient. Isn’t it time your readers see it, too?

Ava Jae is a writer, artist and X-men geek. You can find her weekly musings on her blog Writability, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Facebook page.

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Comments

  1. Faizan Elahi says:

    Absolutely spot on. The more opinions we give in our writing, the more unique it will be and force the readers to visit our sites again and again.

    • Ava Jae says:

      And if your readers fall in love with your voice, chances are they’ll keep returning to your blog.

      • Absolutely true. My set up is very basic “blogspot.com” stuff, but my voice is the bottom line.

        My audience has grown tremendously since I began in December 2010.

    • Yes i would have to say getting to know the author is a must for me. That way you can always stay informed on updates the author may provide. thank you..

    • Muhammad says:

      You are right Ava, when I recalled my blogs, the feeling was that I could have done more better than these, thanks for giving new perspective…..

  2. Grace says:

    From my experience with reading other blogs, the ones that mean the most to me are the ones where I’ve actually gotten to “know” the author. In this age of information overload we need that human connection. This is a great post.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Agreed! Creating a connection with your readers (or as a reader, having a connection with the blogger) makes all the difference. The human connection certainly makes you stand out–it’s something that people really remember and appreciate.

  3. Joel says:

    I think this is worth repeating. “Chances are anything you want to talk about has already been covered by at least a dozen other bloggers…”. I think a lot of times people get discouraged by this whole Internet marketing think because they either don’t know what to say, or they ask themselves “why would anyone want to visit my blog when they can go to so and so blog?”

    Relationships are built through personality, so the only way to build a following on your blog is through your personality. We are all unique, your blog is not different.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Building a relationship with your readers is the best thing you can do for your blog and not being afraid to let your personality spill into your writing is a great way to start.

  4. Daniel says:

    I have heard that mentioned quite often, Ava.

    Having a unique voice(style, manner of delivering content, etc) will shine through on every page.

    Even within topics that may seem a bit mundane, the author can add a bit of punch by throwing in some humor, or something of a less serious nature from time to time.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Some of my favorite posts stood out to me not because of the content, but because of the way the content was written–posts that make you laugh or immerse you in the writing are the ones that stick.

  5. Ardorm says:

    You’ve stressed a good point here. :)

    But being yourself sometimes isn’t that easy. You still have to follow basic rules of writing in a proper non-offensive language. In case your post is about “Just News” it is not difficult.

    However, “Being Yourself” as a blogger also means writing about things that matter to you personally. The problem here is representing all your feelings in a smart-designed short post where readers doesn’t have to look through numerous pages filled with all your thoughts.

    I guess “Being Yourself” is kind of a skill, as well. And every skill requires time and hard work to be perfected. Which is why, Practice should be the additional part of the “Secret Ingredient”. :)

    • Ava Jae says:

      Practice is always important–in everything and anything you do. I suppose in a way being yourself could be considered a skill, but I think it’s something that is easier if you don’t over think it. Many times the reason people have trouble being themselves on their blog is because they self-censor. They worry that something they say won’t be accepted, or isn’t appropriate, or isn’t important or a hundred other things, so they stop themselves.

      Of course I’m not saying that you have to be offensive and inappropriate to be yourself (although that works for some people), but relaxing a little and trying not to worry about what others might think if you show your personality is the first step towards releasing that secret ingredient.

    • Amalia Ulfah says:

      Hi Ardorm, I totally agree with you, despite not being a writer, as bloggers we are required to please our readers with well-mannered writings. And it’s really a skill. I still believe, for any skill, practice is key. The more we engage in it, the better our skills become. :)

  6. I agree! Our greatest gift is our own individual creativity. I share my art forms constantly because I have the belief that as artists we are here to share what we know. I have people look at me and say :: ” Why are you telling them how to do that?” That question is always answered with …..” My style is my style, not one other person on this planet has the capacity to do my art the way that I do. Not one.” I remember the day that I completely felt that truth, it was incredibly liberating. Takes competition right out of the equation. Your art begins to move from a deeper place inside you! Nice article! Thank you!

    • Ava Jae says:

      Our innate ability to create something special and unique is truly a beautiful thing, regardless of the art form. And you’re welcome!

  7. Musa says:

    Your post, Ava, reminds me of a quote written by Dr. Wayne Dyer: “Never let your music die inside of you.”

    There IS only one YOU.

    And being a copy will not do the world, and yourself, justice.

    I love this post.

    Thank you ☺

    Musa.

    • Ava Jae says:

      You’re so welcome! I’ve never heard that quote before, but I definitely see how it relates. I also really like what you said about being a copy–you’re absolutely right. Mimicking others isn’t just an injustice to everyone else, but you’re selling yourself short by doing so.

  8. our blog must have good quality of content. :)

  9. Praverb says:

    Thank you for this interesting post. Love the centralized theme and the importance of self.

    Patrick

  10. Bougie Girl says:

    Great reminder for me. I really needed to hear this today.

  11. Thank you for this truthful reminder today!

    If there’s one thing I know I do NOT want to be, it’s “just another blogger”!

  12. Alden says:

    Indeed content is king, but I find that phrase all too trite! I believe in putting your character and personality in your writing. Many people forget that.

    I write like a douchebag, but I am loving it. As long as it flows, and it makes me feel good typing it down, I am all good. I remember deleting several crap articles before the launch of my blog just because I wasn’t feeling them!

    • Ava Jae says:

      If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll burn very quickly. I did the same thing before launching my blog–I wrote a few posts but I didn’t like the way they sounded. It wasn’t until I found the right opening post that I felt confident enough to dive in–and I’m so glad I did because now I love it.

  13. Laurie says:

    I agree. I like to read blogs that I hear the writer’s voice and stories where I feel they could easily be a friend at my house or we could go out for drinks. Good message and reminder to keep our voice and let that shine through, who cares if there is a spelling error ;)

    • Ava Jae says:

      Blogs that make that kind of personal connection to the readers tend to be the most memorable–after all, we like to feel as if the blogger is speaking directly to us!

  14. Amalia Ulfah says:

    Wow, you make me feel so precious. lol.
    Thank you so much for writing this inspiring pieces. :)

    • Ava Jae says:

      Each of us are precious and beautiful. I’m so glad my post made you feel special–even if you’re the only one who walks away feeling that way, the post was well worth writing. You’re so very welcome!

  15. naijadotcom says:

    Good,Good post.

  16. Andrew Hall says:

    I’m sure many people struggle with this, as do I. Sometimes I’ll come up with ideas to write about, start researching the topic and often find the Internet already saturated with so many similar articles, I often get discouraged. Thanks for this inspiring write-up, I’ll keep this in mind next time I hit that wall.

    • Ava Jae says:

      You’re very welcome! It can be discouraging to see so many other have already covered something you want to talk about, but in the end, your take will be different from anyone else’s. Remember that you’re what makes it unique–good luck!

  17. AIDY says:

    Inspiring read. Makes me just go out and write something! I believe I will go and do just that. Amazing article, thank you.

  18. Thank you, Ava – I couldn’t agree more. I like to see bloggers as people, not see blogs as commercials. I, like several other of your commenters, needed to hear this at this time. Appreciate you taking the time to say this so well. – Valerie

    • Ava Jae says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Valerie! I’m thrilled to see how this post has positively affected people and truthfully I couldn’t ask for a better result.

  19. Ava Jae – This is very true and thanks for inspiring the thoughts in everyone of us. Getting out what’s one’s within is the most dreaded thought and I would say everyone who reads this post will atleast give it a try.

    Praveen

  20. Thank you so much. I started a new blog recently where I’ve struggled with my voice. Your post gave me some confidence back. But I’m still a bit lost.

    The new blog (http://affectselling.com) is less personal than my older blogs. It would be natural to write about business related topics with very formal language. But that’s not me. And I’m definitely going to make some grammar mistakes because English is my second (or actually third) language. So far I’ve tried to quiet down my voice. I can now see it wasn’t necessarily a good idea.

    But how informally and “personally” do you think I (or anyone else) should write about topics such as selling, marketing, and management? I’d appreciate it if you could share some thoughts about this.

    • Ava Jae says:

      I’m personally not a business writer, but in the end it comes down to the impression you want to leave with your readers. Do you want your blog to be personal? Formal? Educational? The tone you take is entirely up to you and there isn’t a wrong choice–just a choice that suits you best.

      Having a blog that’s less personal isn’t necessarily wrong (especially if it’s a business blog), but if you feel that you want to make a more personal connection with your readers, then you could try writing a little less formally–open up with your readers, speak to them casually and share your thoughts and opinions.

      So I suppose my answer to your question of how personally someone should write about selling, marketing and management is that it’s up to you. These are all stylistic choices and there isn’t right or wrong answer. If your formal approach isn’t working, then try switching it up.

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks for replying. I’ll go for a semi-formal voice. It’s the only option that feels natural to me in this blog. I guess making it a little personal is a way to be remembered among all extremely formal business blogs.

  21. It’s an interesting point. When I started blogging it was all about my voice – but then I thought it would alienate my readers and was a bit egoistical if it was all about me. Your thoughts?

    • Ava Jae says:

      There’s certainly a different between being personal and sharing your voice with your readers and writing all about yourself. In my opinion, blogging should never be about you–it should be about your readers. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t be personal and open yourself up to them.

      Maybe this distinction will help–if you change your content to be about you, then yes, it might come off as egotistical, but if you change your voice (or writing style) to be closer to the way you actually speak and you share your thoughts and opinions with your readers, then you’re being personal.

  22. aww , the best inspiring post ever ‼
    Thank you so much , you make me feel comfortable and can to write more articles :)

  23. James Greg says:

    Although it has been said again and again many times but it still is true that content is king. The people love it, Google loves it and the author really develops a flair for creative writing when the practice develops. If people love your content, it is sure to provide you enough traffic to start people asking you advice to help them out with their problems and you become one step closer to success.

    Great article and thanks for reminding that “Content is King”.

    • Ava Jae says:

      You’re very welcome! Just remember that content is king, but you are the secret ingredient that makes your blog memorable.

  24. D.J.Rony says:

    Well, this is very much true. A well written blog or informative post does always better then a SEO optimized article. I always forget to do keyword research for my blog. I am just concentrating on the content.

    • Ava Jae says:

      I only optimize a handful of my posts–and it’s often after I’ve written it, so it’s more of an afterthought then the focus. To me, the most important part is to be genuine with your readers and write in a way that is true to your style. Not only is it more enjoyable to write, but I think most would agree it ends up more enjoyable to read as well.

  25. This is very true. The creative process of creation and imparting ideas to your readership is the reward.

  26. So true. The best advice for bloggers is “make it your own!”

    • Ava Jae says:

      Not only do you benefit from it, but your readers will love you for it. Making it your own is one of the best things you can do for your blog.

  27. Thank you so much for you amazing post.

  28. dhoy says:

    great info! this is very good as for starters like me. Looking forward for more info and tips. Thank you!

  29. Sandra Jones says:

    There are a number of bloggers who often lose the touch with the reality. This article will surely be of help for many looking for a better means to increase their site traffic and popularity.

    • Ava Jae says:

      Sometimes the best thing you can do is go back to the basics–SEO and other optimization methods are great, but the most important asset you have is you.

  30. Often, people forget who they are and trying to be the others.
    Sometime after viewing people’s articles will change the way we write. Maybe we thought the voice in the article were great and wanted to be like them.

    • Ava Jae says:

      I think everything we read influences us in some way and it’s perfectly fine to take aspects from other writing and incorporate it into your style, but if you don’t make it your own, the voice you use won’t feel right. Always strive to learn from others, but copying won’t help anyone–not even you. In the end it’s your voice that will feel most natural and flow the easiest.

  31. Murtaza Ali says:

    Ava, Your post is Beautifully written. Short, Sweet (but Not Stupid At All ;-)) yet effective to the point.

    Thank You Very Much!