Dare to be different – your results will be worth it!
We all know it’s imperative these days for businesses to publish digital content on a regular basis, and an active blog is the cornerstone of successful digital content. It isn’t enough just to “have a blog,” however, even if you are posting on it frequently. Knowing how to create a successful blog is vital if you’re to reap the benefits of your content, and that means stepping outside the box and making your blog different.
One of the main problems resulting from blog popularity is that everyone and their dog now has a blog (yes, some dogs do!) And many of them are just more of the same old same old. That makes it important for you to differentiate your blog by creating a unique selling proposition (USP). Here are some tips for making your blog stand out from the crowd:
Analyze the Competition
Your first step should be to do a competitor blog analysis to see what others in your industry are publishing, and how well their strategy is being received by the target audience. If you’re in type of business that’s particularly active online, chances are good there are multiple blogs that are all somewhat the same.
A thorough analysis will help you to determine which ones are getting the traffic. Setting up Google alerts will keep you in the loop of what everyone else is writing about. You don’t have to read everything that lands in your Inbox, just glancing at the title and synopsis will usually give you a sense of either the subject matter or the approach used. Then you can make sure you don’t duplicate what others are doing.
Develop Unique Positioning
Positioning your blog for your target market is essentially to make it relevant to your audience. Don’t be afraid to do (or say) things differently from others. Learn how to create a successful blog by:
Building a strong personal brand/character
This should come through in your posts, and will enable you to participate in industry conversations from a position of greater authority, and generate more visibility, trust and leads.
Companies typically do this by placing emphasis on the distinctive aspects of their product or service, or by focusing on the price point relative to their competitors. This identifies (positions) them as an inexpensive versus a premium provider, entry-level, mid-range or high-end.
Understanding your competition
Your competitor analysis can help you to understand your competitors’ unique positioning and why people read their blogs. If you have the same positioning message as other providers, then you’re both competing for the same readers. According to Go-Gulf, U.S. users spend an average of 32 hours per month on the Internet.
This means we spend an hour online in an average day, of which only 20% is spent reading content. That’s 12 minutes a day, and given that the average consumption time for a content item is 6 minutes, most users can only consume 2 pieces of content per day. With two million blog posts published online each day, that’s a lot of competition for users’ time. How will you compete if your content is the same as your competitors’ material?
Avoiding common positioning mistakes
Remember, positioning is not about using a “catch phrase.” It’s about controlling how your audience thinks about you, the “position” you occupy in their minds in relation to your competitors and the credibility you hold in your target market. Some of the common mistakes when people are learning how to create a successful blog are:
- Getting caught up in trends – it’s tempting to get side-tracked by interesting, trendy topics. It’s important to stay on-topic.
- Being inflexible – if your unique positioning isn’t working, it’s time to change it. Not often enough to confuse your readers, but flexibility enables you to move with shifts in your target market’s interests.
One of the most important requirements for knowing how to create a successful blog is being able to avoid the pitfalls common to business bloggers.
Promoting your blog
The most exciting USP isn’t going to help you get your blog read if users aren’t aware of it. Promoting your message on your social media profiles and other channels helps to draw traffic from users who might otherwise not know about it. You can also use avenues such as your email signature to get your blog address noticed.
Dare to Be Different
Nothing gets attention like daring to be different does. If you follow these tips on how to create a successful blog by developing a unique personality, you’ll be on track to finding a niche that’s all your own in the blogging environment and your industry. Here are some examples of blogs that have managed to do just that:
GrooveHQ: This company is “sharing everything on its journey to $500k in revenue” with its readers. The approach is unusual and insightful, and gives the reader the chance to peek behind the scenes at what’s happening on the inside. The blog makes it clear to visitors what they are trying to do, with an unambiguous message right at the outset. Not only are they getting readers’ attention, but the stats on the individual posts show a remarkable number of shares on social media. Something is working.
Nerd Fitness: This blog uses the header “Welcome to Nerd Fitness – Follow me on my epic quest of awesome” – you might say that’s somewhat vague and doesn’t really tell the visitor what he can expect, but the posts go on to show an exceptional level of personality and the ability to say things differently. Check out “4 Steps to Become an 80s Action Movie Hero. You’re Welcome” to see what I mean. It’s a fun read that hooks you in from start to finish, giving valuable advice in among the hyperbole and humor. And it doesn’t run to the standard 500 words, either. It delivers a clear message with supporting information in an informal tone that few can find boring.
Get Rich Slowly: A website geared at helping users to manage their finances, the blog tackles topics from A to Z without ever straying off-course. Granted, it’s a broad subject, but the tone is direct and humorous and says what it needs to say. If anyone is a perfect example of a company knowing how to create a successful blog, it’s this one.
Moz.com: Leading light in content marketing and SEO Moz.com holds a video talk every Friday. It’s usually an in-depth look at a particularly critical issue, such as how click-throughs impact your Google ranking or publishing guest blogs without incurring duplicate content problems. Their followers look forward to the talk each week, which not only drives traffic and shares but helps to develop the company’s thought leader profile and credibility in their market place.
You only have a certain amount of opportunity to get users’ attention online. If you want to know how to create a successful blog, start with these suggestions for identifying what other companies in your industry are doing. Then find subject matter that is different and look for new and interesting methods of presenting it. To put it plainly, your simple strategy for blog success comes down to being unique, positioning your blog accurately in your target market and making it visible to your prospective users. Don’t be shy about finding new ways to do things. In the end, it will be worth the effort.
*This post was originally published on Oct 10, 2012 on InBiz.me, which has now been deactivated.