In this digital-first era, it seems like your best friend, mom and neighbor all are starting a blog — eager to get their thoughts and ideas online.
On the one hand, anyone and everyone is given the opportunity to shout their truth on the internet. On the other hand, it’s easy for content to get lost in the jumble.
So how do you make your blog stand out?
Here are a few different concepts and guidelines to ensure your success next to the other millions of blogs and articles available.
1. Find a niche you know and love
There are blogs for just about anything. If you try to cover it all, your voice quickly will be lost.
So first and foremost: Be specific.
What are you an expert in? What’s your passion? Do you have some solutions to a problem I care about? Why does your voice matter?
By selecting a topic you love, you’ll find a few things happen: You’ll want to put in the time and effort; you’ll have a slew of post ideas; and your writing will show your passion (and your readers will notice).
2. Stay focused
Once you’ve settled into your little corner of the internet, stay focused.
Did you launch your blog to write about travel? Then keep the focus on travel.
As soon as you start to stray off topic, your blog audience also may stray with regard to interest.
When you stay zeroed in, you easily can define an audience, establish yourself as an expert, and work to build a community.
3. Keep organized
As a media researcher, I look through different outlets every day, so I can’t emphasize enough the importance of organization.
A well-written and designed site is a necessity.
Put time into crafting your homepage content and supporting pages — make the information and navigation clear, but don’t be afraid to be creative with your execution and design.
Help your audience get a clear vision of what you’ll be covering with strong headlines, and deliver on that promise with quality content.
4. Develop your own voice
Don’t just write to write. Put energy into your content and hone your skills as a blogger.
It goes without saying, but here’s a friendly reminder: Develop your own voice.
Especially as a new blogger, it’s easy to emulate bloggers and writers you admire. But we each have a unique voice.
When thinking about my own voice, I imagine how I’d speak with an audience in person — before trying to capture that essence on paper.
Some guidelines I like to follow:
- Develop credibility. Ask yourself: Why should someone listen to your ideas? Can you ground your articles with supporting facts and information from credible third-party sources?
- Be concise. Don’t say the same thing seven different times in seven different ways.
- Tell stories. Learn how to effectively use pathos and logos.
- Sell old stories in a new way. Why should I be reading your blog instead of someone else’s?
- How can you put a new spin on old ideas?
- How can you re-brand the message?
- Why is this important now?
- Can you weave in new research?
5. Streamline your ideas
Content must be easy to digest — or your readers quickly will move on.
So it’s important to find new ways to make your ideas clear, concise, and easy to read:
- Use formatting tactics, like lists, bullets, and section headers.
- Add to the dialogue by attaching an image or video.
- Always edit yourself. Have someone else edit for clarity, too.
- Make it easy for your audience to share your articles with concise titles and the inclusion of share buttons.
- Use style and visuals strategically to draw your readers’ eyes down the page and into your text.
6. Know your audience
It’s always good to check the pulse of your audience. What do they want to hear?
Be in touch and cater to their interests so you can continue to cultivate community.
Use that community to your advantage, too.
You’ve crafted a direct pipeline to a group of like-minded individuals.
Now, it’s time to network through comments, social media, and other avenues to connect and learn from one another.
7. Don’t be afraid to take a stand
When putting your opinions into the wilderness of the internet, it often can be hard to fight the inevitable backlash of those who disagree with you.
You don’t have to please everyone. It’s your blog and your platform — so speak your truth*.
*Don’t take this advice as permission to go nuts! A few guidelines to keep your ideas in check:
- Have opinions, but be able to defend them.
- Build credibility by supporting ideas and opinions with fact.
- Keep in mind who you’re writing for — you don’t want to isolate yourself in your niche.
8. Put in the time
Finally, remember to invest the time.
Any expert blogger will tell you it takes so much more than writing a few posts a week to truly be successful.
Put in the hours, get all the advice you can, and work to make your blog stellar.
It surely will stand out.