By Tracy Vides
To err on the side of diplomacy has always been a safer bet than being blunt. Diplomacy is everywhere. Being nice is an all-pervasive disease. To be boring, just like diplomacy, works for a lot of people.
As long as you don’t stand out, you don’t ask for trouble. To stay out of trouble is a global requirement.
People start blogs just as they start political parties, form governments, and start businesses. Since most people try to stay safe, their blogs will reflect that ‘safe’ vibe. As a result, the content is usually trite.
Rehashed, over-used, and boring blog posts are the staple of the blogosphere, as this slide deck from Velocity Partners makes painfully clear. It’s tiring to see just another blog out there.
We agree that there’s only so much information that can be shared on a topic. But who said that you’d have to keep it bland?
Popular blogs share the same content, but they do it differently.
Only a few bloggers stand out. They are different. Their voice is powerful. Their content is engaging. How do they manage to do that? What’s the secret sauce?
They are bold. They are beautiful. They write what they want to.
Here are some ways to make your own blog stand out from the rest:
Stick to Your Opinion, Don’t Waffle
Pick up a few facts, put your brain to this data, and craft your own opinion (rolled into a blog post). While you use your own voice, personality, and writing style to express your justified opinion, take a vow (in writing, if you can) that once the blog post goes live, you won’t budge from your opinion. Even if the string of virulent comments might want to make you think about your initial stand, don’t bother updating your blog post with the new school of thought.
Blogs get their mojo from opinionated writing. There’s no place for you to waffle here. No changing shoes once you wear them.
One caveat here:
One danger, when you’re writing lots of quick, opinionated blog items about the latest developments, is that you never get around to stating fully, in one place, what you think about a particular topic.
– Mickey Kaus
Write for the Emotion Connect, Not the Spider’s Web
Google is powerful. Bloggers all over the world love a continuous, incoming stream of traffic from search listings. Yet, you have to let go of the obsession to rank in search. I’m not knocking down SEO or SEM, do what you have to do. Just don’t assume that your blog promotions or marketing for your blog depends wholly and completely on Google.
Stop writing for search engines, because that makes your blogs read like school textbooks or poorly maintained journals of manipulative keyword-stuffing maniacs. Or worse, like The Dullest Blog in the
If you ever have to create a blog post, do it for the reader. Google search takes care of itself. Your readers will thank you for it.
Bring in the Fun
Whether it’s a blog post or the copy (long-form or short-form), you need to use interesting and engaging content to market your products or services. Work hard to bring in the fun in your writing.
Your ultimate goal: bring that smile on your readers’ face, convince and convert.
While your blog post should have facts and opinion rolled together, your sales copy would have to be brief. Yet, make sure you bring in the humor when you are writing.
Stop being a bore.
Plant the ‘Feel’
Marketers now need to don the role of publishers through blogging. All marketers must work to ‘plant the feel.’
What do I mean by that? By making customers ‘feel,’ you bring a string of emotions, desires, needs and wants to the fore. Your customers almost visualize what you are writing about. The ‘feel’ factor can do wonders to your blogging efforts whether you are a physics teacher blogging about quantum mechanics or a tiny mom & pop e-commerce store that sells handcrafts online.
Add blogging into your lifetime to-do list. Blogging ought to happen every single day (or whatever frequency you like to blog with). While you might think that this was probably the first lesson you learnt about blogging, it’s one of those things that will help you stand out from millions of other blogs.
Most other blogs are dead. Most bloggers don’t update regularly. Some lose steam, while others just aren’t blessed with the commitment it takes to see a blog through success.
By blogging regularly, you are already in the top percentile of bloggers who are real, professional and serious.
Hook Up with Readers Personally, the Human Way
Forget about building relationships through your blog the usual way. If it’s usual, then everyone does it. You’d still have to build relationships with your regular readers, but how do you make a difference? It’s called ‘The insane reach out plan.’
The Insane Reach out Plan for the time-starved reader (that’s you):
- Got a comment? Go hunt that commenter down and then follow his or her blog. Leave comments to reciprocate.
- Find out who your readers are and then connect with them on social media to continue the =93small talk=94 that forms the bridge between your relationships.
- Find opportunities to highlight some of your readers. There’s a reason why widgets that show ‘recent comments’ or ‘top comments’ or ‘most active contributors’ are downloaded by the thousands.
- Sit down and send out emails to some of your regular users. Most popular bloggers tend to get high volumes of emails from readers, most of which end up unanswered. Turn this practice upside down. Actively send out emails instead.
- Whenever possible, call or meet your readers.
Hard work? Yes.
Payoffs? That’ll require another blog post.
Necessary? No. But mandatory.
The only blogs that’ll work today are those that continuously produce content that gives something to readers that they can think about. Your blog is like a public kitchen giving food for thought to your readers.
That’s a grim challenge, yes, but others are doing it already!
It’s useless to worry about word counts, SEO, the size of your social media network, the platform you use for blogging, and the hosting account your blog depends on.
Worry about value. Lose sleep over how to make your content better. Brainstorm ways you can make your blog engaging.
Write with your heart, not your fingers.