There’s a hell of a lot of blogs on the internet. According to Brandon Gaille a new blog is created every half a second (and that was back in 2013!) With such a vast number of blogs to contend with, it’s increasingly difficult to get your voice heard through all the noise.
I’ve put together 5 simple strategies (+ some inspiring case studies along the way), so that you can ensure that your blog stands out and that your message reaches the audience waiting for your expertise.
1. Get Narrow With Your Niche
Whichever field you’re blogging in, it’s much easier, to establish yourself as an expert within a specific niche rather than try to dominate the entire field itself. Whilst other bloggers are rehashing generalised and cliché content, by choosing a narrow niche you have the unique opportunity to break new ground and create content that will make an impact.
So, how do you go about narrowing your niche?
1. Research your field
In order to create a niche that’s truly unique, it’s really important to take the time to find out what other people are already writing about. If you’ve been blogging for a long time the chances are you’ll already be familiar with this but if you’re just starting out, only by doing this research and seeing what’s already being done will you be able to make a conscious effort to break the mould.
2. Keep away from the noise
Whilst researching your field you’ll come across topics that pop up again and again. Whilst it’s not impossible to write about these topics in new and interesting ways (more on this later), a sure-fire way to make your blog stand out is to break new ground and add something new into the discourse.
Dorie Clark puts it really well in her book Stand Out – ‘your niche has to be small enough that the big players in your field are only talking about it periodically’ – this way you can really mark yourself as the expert.
Case Study No. 1 – 300sandwiches.com
This blog is a great example of what can be achieved by narrowing your niche. It has a really specific and focused premise which helps it to stand out amongst thousands of other more general foodie blogs on the web:
My boyfriend E is obsessed with two things: Star Wars and sandwiches. During a Sunday lunchtime viewing of “Return of the Jedi” he told me: “you are 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring!” … And so, I got cooking …
2. Write for a Specific Audience
Identifying your audience is perhaps even more important than getting narrow with your niche – after all it’s real human beings on the other side of the web that consume your content!
One of the main things that stopped me getting specific with who I was writing for was the fear that, by doing so, I’d turn away potential readers. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to please everyone, when in reality there’s nothing more harmful you can do for your blog. The hard truth is by targeting your content at everyone you’re going to appeal to no-one.
For example, I’m unlikely to click an article titled ‘Top 5 Organisational Tips’ – it screams generalised content. However, if I saw an article titled ‘Top 5 Organizational Tips For Students Juggling A Blog And A Degree’, I’d be more likely to check it out. Why? The title directly addresses a demographic I’m part of and it lets me know that there’s more likely to be specialised and useful information.
Think about your favourite blogs on the net, the ones you read and think you’ve literally read my brain. Think of those bloggers that get you and every single piece of content they produce is like gold dust. This feeling that a blog and its content has been tailor made for you doesn’t happen by chance. If you want replicate this with your own site get specific with your ideal audience and place them at the centre of everything you do.
Remember – the demographic you know best is you! It’s easier to target your content at a demographic you know back to front, maybe even an earlier version of yourself.
Case Study No. 2 – That Grace Girl
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to get specific with your audience look no further than the That Grace Girl Manifesto. This ethos permeates throughout Grace’s content, setting her blog apart within a crowded niche.
3. Quality Over Quantity
We’ve established that with such a huge number of blogs on the internet, as readers we’re not lacking in a quantity of information. What we’re really looking for is quality, we’re looking for that content that we bookmark and come back to again and again, the content that inspires us to start something new, solves a problem for us or helps us see something from a new perspective.
It’s this kind of content that’s going to make your blog stand out from the crowd and keep your readers coming back for more.
If you can produce this kind of content on a daily basis then I take my hat off to you, but I suspect that for most, if not all of us, this is an impossible task. If you want to really make an impact with your blog I would suggest it’s time to take your foot off the pedal and embrace taking the time to produce the most badass, engaging and detailed content that you’re capable of. As you’ve probably began to realise, I’m not afraid of a long blog post and you shouldn’t be either!
Remember – 1 amazing piece of content every 3 days/ week/ fortnight is infinitely better than tired content churned out daily!
Speaking of badass content, why limit yourself to written posts?
Adding multimedia content to your blog, whether it’s video, podcasts, illustrations, info-graphics, GIFs, newsletters, audios or simply great images will really help your content get noticed.
In fact, studies have shown that including more multimedia content does wonders for your blog’s pageviews.
Case study No. 4 – Marie Forleo
Marie is the queen of video content. Her unique and engaging videos help her brand to stand out in a really crowded niche. By having this diversity of content, she’s able to share her brand not only on her blog but also on YouTube, allowing her to reach a wider audience.
5. Be Engaged
Yes there are millions of blogs on the internet, but not all of them are active – there are hundreds of sites that are blogged on from time to time and others that are inactive.
A great way to make your blog stand out is to just show up and be present and consistent with your content. I’ve already told you I’m a huge advocate for the quality over quantity approach but this is not an excuse to disappear off the radar. The truth is, it’s difficult to engage with a blog if there’s nothing going on and it feels like old news.
A great way to stay engaged without having to live at your computer is to create set times that your readers know they can expect to hear from you. This might include scheduling your content to be published at the same time each week, a twitter chat or a webinar. Having this level of consistency helps to build trust with your audience and they will increasingly learn to expect great things from you.
Case Study No. 6 – XOSarah
Sarah is a great example of a blogger who’s engaged with her audience. Not only does she publish quality content on a consistent schedule, but her Fix-It Friday is a great example of a really unique way to provide value and hang out with your audience on a regular basis. On these Friday’s, Sarah encourages her readers to leave their blog URL and between 8AM and 5PM she replies with a tip for how they could improve their blog/ website design.
That’s a wrap – don’t forget to grab your free cheat sheet with 3 more strategies to make sure your blog get’s noticed!