The best thing about blogging is that it’s easy. If you don’t like what’s being written on any particular subject, you can head over to WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr and share your take on things with the world. Everyone gets a voice, democracy in action!
But the worst thing about blogging? Well, that’s simple. The worst thing about blogging is that everyone gets a voice – so you’re competing to get yourself heard.
So you need to stand out from the crowd – but that’s easier said than done.
Standing out From the Blogging Crowd
No matter what your niche is, whether you’re blogging about copywriting, football or what you bought at the shops today, you’ll be competing with thousands of other blogs covering the exact same ground. So while it’s nice to come out and say something that nobody’s ever said before, you’ll find it far easier to stand out by saying things in a different way.
Finding Your Hook
The most important question anyone can ask is this: What’s your unique selling point (or proposition, if you’re a Rosser Reeves fan)?
If you want to get some attention, you have to work out what sets you apart from the competition. Maybe it’s your experience, your ability to poke fun at yourself or your sheer, bloody-minded determination. Whatever your USP is, you need to use it to your advantage.
For me, it was the fact that I was a copywriter employed as a full-time SEO consultant. While lots of copywriters were beginning to blog about SEO, there was a space for someone who could combine familiarity with the search engines with solid copywriting chops. Having that USP allowed me to gain an audience – and the attention of far more experienced bloggers and copywriters.
So follow my lead. Exploit your differences ruthlessly, especially when it comes to the next stage of carving your niche. Creating a unique voice.
Creating Your Voice
Having a particular insight or skillset isn’t enough. You need to share your expertise in an interesting, arresting and hopefully unique way.
The first way to do that is to start writing the way that you talk. Too many bloggers try to adopt an air of fake formality. Don’t.
If you use contractions when you’re talking, you shouldn’t be avoiding them in your blog. Same goes for slang. A little bit of colour never hurt anyone, but you probably shouldn’t start every post with “eeyar, soz ‘ard, main ‘eds.“
Once you’re writing in a relaxed way, your unique voice is going to start showing through. So it’s time to up the ante. If you’re naturally funny, sarcastic or charming, make sure your blog reflects that.
And once you’ve nailed your voice down, it’s time to start rolling out the attention grabbers.
Doing Things Differently
You’ll be surprised how many blogs follow the same format. Headline, picture, text, inset picture, call to action.
There’s nothing wrong with that format – I’m using it right now. But it pays to mix it up a little. Infographics are the trendiest way to put your point across in a different format, but unless you’re a dab hand with image manipulation software, you’ll find it hard to make a splash in an already crowded niche.
But you don’t need anything beyond a (relatively) cheap microphone and/or webcam to start putting together audio and video content. Releasing a podcast or a how-to video (or rant) is sure to grab attention, and it gives your readers a welcome break from the bog standard blog format.
Of course, the chances are that not everyone is an expert in multiple fields with an unmistakeable style and amazing screen prescence (I’m certainly not), but that doesn’t stop the majority of bloggers from carving their own niche.
So, what’s your secret? How do you stand out from the crowds? Let us know in the comments section below.